Light: Bright to very bright
Cattleya orchids enjoy very bright light, this being the key factor for healthy growth. In the morning and afternoon they appreciate direct sunlight, while in the hot noon hours they need to be partially shaded to avoid leaf burns. A sign for good light is a red hint to the leaves and pseudo bulbs, but not all hybrids will display this. A dark green color of the leaves will indicate too low light levels, while a medium to light green will mean the orchid is receiving adequate light. East, South and West windows will work the best for this orchid, while northern exposure should be avoided.
Temperature: 60º F (16º C) to 85º F(30º C)
Cattleyas are warm growers, so temperatures should not go lower than 60º F (16º C). Extremes can be tolerated if exposure is not prolonged, but with additional humidity in hot temperatures and extra air movement. Some hybrids could be hardier than others, but a comfortable temperature range is between 65º F(18º C) and 82º F(28º C).
Water: As the medium completely dries up
This orchid enjoys drying of the medium before re watering, but no prolonged drought periods. Watering should be made when the medium is dry and frequency will depend on environmental conditions. In very warm weather it can be performed once a day, especially for mounted orchids, up to once every 3 days, while in winter a Cattleya may be watered once every 7-10 days for potted orchids, and once every 2-3 days for mounted ones. The Cattleya orchid will do good in soft to slightly hard water and could tolerate tap water as long as the quantity of dissolved salts is low. Use coarse potting medium that allows the orchid to dry and benefit air circulation around the roots.
High humidity associated with good air movement will promote healthy growth, but these hybrids can tolerate drier conditions as well, making it a good choice for window sill growers, as well as green house growers. In lower temperatures, humidity should be lower and air movement should be supplemented to avoid infections and disease.
Fertilizing a Cattleya orchid will promote healthier growth and better blooms. Using a high nitrogen fertilizer in the growing seasons will ensure proper development of the pseudo bulbs and higher phosphorus fertilizers will enhance blooms. A balanced fertilizer (eg. 10-10-10) will also work. Some hybrids may bloom several times a year, while others only once and usually in the same season each year.
Many Cattleyas are fragrant, as they have been crossed with Brassavolas. Strong light will enhance the fragrance, while low light conditions will not assure good blooms, if any.
The total blooming time for this orchid is short, extending from 2 to 4 weeks. Flower appearance is influenced by external factors such as light, feeding routine and watering. A good care regime will promote the best vigor. In winter, or overcast seasons, supplemental artificial light will benefit this orchid.