When people picture what a typical orchid looks like, the cattleya flower is usually what comes to mind. Years ago, the ultimate gift to give your mother or grandmother on Mother’s Day was a cattleya orchid corsage. Back then, these were usually fragrant flowers in various shades of lavender.

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Until the skyrocketing popularity of the phalaenopsis took off several years ago, the cattleyas were the undisputed kings of orchids. They’re still highly popular, because they offer huge and frequently fragrant flowers, in a complete spectrum of colors and flower shapes, on plants varying in size from a few inches (5 cm) to a few feet (60 cm) tall. To see how the glorious flowers of cattleyas are constructed, see Figure 11-1.


In this topic, I introduce you to a few of the many orchids in this illustrious group that are readily available and easy to grow. You’ll see why they epitomize the beauty and fragrance that only orchids can offer.

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