METRO PLUS

Queen of orchids

Beautiful shape Cattleyas have a long vase life when cut

Beautiful shape Cattleyas have a long vase life when cut  

Cattleyas are extensively used in hybridisation

Cattleyas are epiphytic orchids with pseudo bulbs and fleshly strap-shaped green leaves. It belongs to the family of Orchidaceae and is originally from the United States and the West Indies. There are many species and hybrids – all with beautiful flowers. Cattleya labiata has club-shaped pseudo bulbs up to 10-inches high and one-inch thick and a leaf (that is around three-inch wide) tops each bulb. About three to five flowers, each about five inches across, are produced on the stalk. Each flower lasts for about two weeks. The flowers have wavy edged rose pink petals and sepals and dark crimson, magenta frilled tip streaked with yellow throats.

Cattleyas need bright light without direct sunlight. They prefer cooler climes always. During active growth, water plentifully and mist spray daily. Give a feed once in two weeks. Use sandy soil mixed with peat in hanging baskets. For propagation, divide and cut the rhizome, disentangle the roots and repot.

Cattleyas enjoy the position of being the most popular orchids in the world and are used extensively in hybridisation. They have a beautiful shape with medium to large-size blooms in various colours that last for more than two weeks. The plant have a long vase life when cut. Cattleyas possess a tantalising fragrance and hence are aptly called ‘Queen of orchids’.

CHITRA RADHAKRISHNAN
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