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Blog - # Cattleya aclandiae

CATTLEYA

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Rlc Samantha Duncan

Rlc Hsinying Red Gem

C walkeriana var alba

The genus was named in 1824 by John Lindley after William Cattley, who received, and was the first to bloom a specimen of Cattleya labiata. William Swainson had discovered the new plant in Pernambuco, Brazil, in 1817 and shipped to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens for identification. Swainson requested that a few plants be later sent to Cattley, who was able to bloom one a full year before the plants in Glasgow. It would be another 70 years before they would be rediscovered in the wild because of a mix-up in the assumed location of the plants.
They are widely known for their large, showy flowers, and were used extensively in hybridization for the cut-flower trade until the 1980s when pot plants became more popular. The flowers of the hybrids can vary in size from 5 cm to 15 cm or more. They occur in all colours except true blue and black.

The typical flower has three rather narrow sepals and three usually broader petals: two petals
are similar to each other, and the third is the quite different conspicuous lip, featuring various
markings and specks and an often frilly margin. At the base, the margins are folded into a tube. Each
flower stalk originates from a pseudobulb. The number of flowers varies; it can be just one or two, or
sometimes up to ten.

Most of them are heavily scented with perfumes ranging from spicy to citrusy and rose-like.
They are relatively easy to grow as they tolerate a range of temperatures from as low as 5oC.
Some more of our new seedling parents: (parents not available as individual plants)
Rlc Hsinying Red Gem Rlc Samantha Duncan C walkeriana var alba

CULTURE OF CATTLEYAS:

Cattleyas are relatively easy to grow.

Light: They prefer bright light, either in a glasshouse with about 30% shade cloth above them, or
they can be grown inside your house at a North or West facing window, but avoid direct sunlight as
this can scorch them, and the leaves will blister if the sun is too strong. Aim for strong light green
leaves. During the summer they would prefer to be outside if at all possible. I can’t emphasise enough how important good light is for flowering Cattleyas. If you have the right light levels your flower stem will raise strongly clear from the foliage and the individual flowers will present themselves 360o around the stem rather than being clumped on one side.

Temperature: They will be happy with a min night temp of 12-13oC. They can cope with temps up to 35oC without too much stress. Like all orchids they do best with plenty of air movement. A small fan can be used if growing indoors or in a glasshouse. This helps to prevent many fungal diseases.

Humidity and Watering

Watering: Water freely during the summer months, but make sure that the pot has dried out since the last watering. Lift it to check if you are not sure. If the pot is still heavy, wait a day or two and recheck. Most Cattleyas like a rest after flowering—that means keep the watering to a minimum and no feeding for a few weeks. When the plant makes new root growth, start gradually increasing the frequency of feeding and watering.

Feeding: Feed Flowering Orchid Tucker fertilizer weekly, or if you feed with every watering then one quarter strength is recommended. Make sure to flush with plain water between feedings.

Repotting: Use an open free draining mix. Fairly coarse bark is desirable as they do not like to have wet feet! Some Cattleyas can be adapted to grow naturally on slabs of wood or other materials. If using plastic pots drilling extra holes around the side of the pot will help to increase air movement around the roots. Try not to be tempted to divide your Cattleya too quickly. Once you have them in a larger sized plant the latest breeding of compact Cattleyas will flower off each new growth. New growth can happen several times a year so a larger plant can be almost constantly flowering providing a lot of rewards and enjoyment.

Flowering: When you start to see the signs of a new stem of flowers coming through, the first sign is usually the sheath emerging from the top of the cane. Carefully cut the top 3-5mm off the sheath once you see the buds developing within the sheath. This will prevent the buds from sweating and rotting before they can break free of the sheath. Stake your growths with sheaths on early to present your flowers for the best display.

Pest control: Some Cattleyas seem prone to attracting scale insects which can be persistent and difficult to eradicate. They will hide beneath the dry sheaths around the pseudobulbs so it does pay to gently remove them as they dry out. It makes the plant look better too. A simple spray of Conqueror oil in water, repeated regularly will keep them under control but you need to keep on top of it as scale will kill young or weak plants fairly quickly if left untreated. When you have sprayed with an oil spray keep the plants shaded as the oil on the leaves can burn if the light levels are too high – yes plants can get sunburn too! After a couple of watering’s the light levels can go back to normal as the oil eventually washes off the leaves.


SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIES - Cattleya aclandiae


ORIGIN/HABITAT: Brazil, state of Bahia. Plants are found on the coastal plains to as far as 62 mi. (100 km) inland at elevations up to 1300 ft. (0-400 m). The relatively small habitat starts southwest of Salvador and extends northeastward. The greatest concentrations occur on the elevated plateau bordering the drainage valleys of the Paraguacu River. Cattleya aclandiae commonly grows 10-20 ft. (3-6 m) above the ground on trees with very rough, rumpled bark. Plants grow on the upright trunks and in the crotches of the limbs in areas close to permanent water. Unfortunately, plants are difficult to find in nature due to over collection and the destruction of habitat for agricultural
purposes.


PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A dwarf, 3-5 in. (7-12 cm), rarely 8 in. (20 cm), sympodial epiphyte.

PSEUDOBULB: 2-8 in. (5-20 cm) long. Pseudobulbs, which consist of 2-3 internodes, are short, cylindrical, and slightly broader near their top than at the base. They are protected by 2-3 sheaths which arise from the internodes and become dry and papery with age. Plants form large clumps with extensive root systems. The roots are often covered with Tillandsia plants, which helps prevent desiccation during dry periods. As with most plants, growing conditions influence plant size.

LEAVES: 2-3 in. (5-8 cm) long. Each growth carries 2-3 fleshy leaves at the top of each pseudobulb. The green leaves are elliptical with rounded tips. They are suffused or spotted with a variable amounts of reddish-brown or almost black blotches. The blotches increase when plants are grown in high light, and they sometimes cover the entire leaf surface.

INFLORESCENCE: 0.6-1.6 in. (1.5-4.0 cm) long. A very short pedicel emerges from the top of new growths. The inflorescence does not emerge through a sheath, but it is enclosed in the folded developing leaf. Buds are visible when the leaf opens, and flowers open shortly thereafter.

FLOWERS: 1, rarely 3. Each waxy, long-lasting blossom is 3-4 in. (7-10 cm) across with a faint spicy fragrance. Sepals and petals are green or yellowish with variable amounts of dark red-brown, dark purple, or nearly black spotting. When plants are grown in very bright light, an additional reddish-brown suffusion may be superimposed. The lip has small, white-edged sidelobes that turn up but do not enclose column. The large, flat midlobe of the lip may be any shade from magenta to deep purple, and it is decorated with darker veins. A broad exposed column, which lies very close to the lip, may be deep purple or dark magenta. The anther is contrasting yellow.

Information, thanks to OrchidWiz
C aclandiae and some of its progeny (Note these are not available as individual plants):
C aclandiae
Bc Hippodamia
(B nodosa x aclandiae)
G1 50%
Bc Rustic Spots
(Bc Richard Mueller x C Landate)
G2 25%
Rlc Samantha Duncan
(C Little Precious x Rlc Hawaiian
Prominence) G3 19%
WHERE WE ARE OUT AND ABOUT
February 22nd Waitakere Orchid Club Ribbon Show, Whenuapai Hall
May 9th NZ Orchid Society Autumn Show, Mt Albert War Memorial Hall
For more details and information about shows in your area, please visit
www.orchidcouncil.org.nz/news/shows/


Next month we will be focusing on: Oncidiinae
Ons Habibi ‘Leopard’


Please note, the photos of plants shown in our newsletter are a mixture of breeding plants,
plants we have seen in our travels and plants we have for sale. Not all of the plants that are
displayed in our newsletter are available as plants for sale. Please check our website for
details of what plants we have for sale. We do, however, welcome requests for plants that
are not listed on our website as we may be able to supply them or something very similar.