Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Cattleya Fitz Eugene Dixon (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Cattleya Fitz Eugene Dixon (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

Click to Enlarge

Zone
Zones H2
Partial Sun
Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Cattleya

Orchidaceae
Orchids and bromeliads, Flowers

Bright, iconic, 2–6-in. flowers make even non-gardeners think “orchid” whenever they see these tropical American natives. Often used for corsages, cattleyas also make excellent garden subjects in warm, humid parts of the West.

Species, varieties, and hybrids are too numerous to list here. All have pseudobulbs 1–3 in. thick, bearing leathery leaves and a stem topped with one to several flowers. Plants range from a few inches tall to 2 ft. or more, with flowers in lavender and purple, white, and white with a colored lip (semialba). Novelties (many of them hybrids between Cattleya and other genera) also come in yellow, orange, red, green, and bronze.

Cattleyas are year-round outdoor plants in Hawaii, both in containers and naturalized on trees. Elsewhere, they are indoor plants brought outdoors during warm weather. They grow best in a greenhouse where temperature, humidity, and light can be readily controlled. However, they make satisfactory houseplants with temperatures of 55–60°F (13–16°C) at night and 65–80°F (18–27°C) during the day, at least 50–60 percent humidity, and bright indirect light with protection from hot midday sun. Healthy foliage is light green and held erect; low light turns leaves dark green and makes new growth soft.

You Might Also Like...

Anthurium andraeanum

Oblong leaves with a heart-shaped base grow 1 ft. long and 6 in. wide. Spreading, heart-shaped, pucker...

Gossypium tomentosum

Native to Hawaii. Grows to 3–6 ft. tall and wide. Pure yellow, 2–3-in.-wide flowers are pr...

Pandanus tectorius

Native to many Pacific islands, including Hawaii. Striking palm-like tree sends down large aerial root...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More

Advertisement