Cattleyas are among the most popular orchids. Their culture is often used as the basis for comparison with other types of orchids. Cattleyas and their related hybrids come in many colors, shapes, forms and sizes. Culture varies only slightly among most of these. This sheet is a general guide to basic cattleya culture. Like many other cultivated orchids, cattleyas are epiphytes, or air plants. They have developed water-storage organs, called pseudobulbs, and have large, fleshy roots covered with a spongy, water-retentive velamen. They are accustomed to being dry at the roots between waterings, and therefore should be potted in freedraining media.
The corsage orchid is a popular and rewarding orchid to grow. It has large tall growths called pseudobulbs that are topped with a leaf growing one after another to produce the next season's bloom. The pseudobulbs are connected to each other by a horizontal growth that is at or just under the surface of the media called a rhizome. When repotting, a rhizome clip may be required to secure the orchid in its pot. Cattleya orchids are usually repotted when they have finished blooming and a new pseudobulb is just starting to grow.
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