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  #1  
Old 07-06-2018, 08:53 PM
labyrinth1959 labyrinth1959 is offline
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How is growing a Cattleya different from a Phal
Default How is growing a Cattleya different from a Phal

I feel like I have finally mastered growing Phals and now I am wondering how different it is to grow Cattleyas. I would appreciate some perspectives on the differences between growing the two types.
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Old 07-06-2018, 09:14 PM
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"Cattleya" is a broad subject... there is a much wider range of conditions, depending on which Catt - various species, and hybrids reflect their parentage. So it would help if you were more specific, and also could tell us where you live, and what growing condition options you have.

In general, Catts need a good bit more light than Phals. Because they have pseudobulbs, they can tolerate more drying-out, and in fact many require going nearly dry before watering again. Unlike Phals, they grow along a rhizome, and so tend to spread out more. But there is a large range of sizes, from minis to monsters. Unlike Phals, which pretty uniformly like the same temperatures that we do, Catts range widely in cold-tolerance and heat-tolerance.

So the short answer is, "It depends..."
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:32 PM
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In general cattleyas need more light <3000 footcandles> and need to dry out completely between waterings. I have catts and phals growing just fine in my apartment, but as was said earlier they can tolerate a range of temperatures outside of room temps.

I grow mine in clear pots with volcanic pumice and a very thin layer of sphagenum moss on the bottom. As long as they get a wet and dry cycle any media with good drainage will do. I do recommend using clear containers though to monitor your roots. Nothing is more frustrating than dead roots on a cattleya. They can take a long time to bloom again if they lose them.
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Old 07-06-2018, 11:49 PM
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I think the first thing you have to ask is whether you can provide the light they need. They will "survive" inside a house, but I have not ever gotten any flowers until I started putting them outside for nearly the entire year.

Another difference as stated above is that they are "dryer" growing. Don't get this confused: they are water hogs, but they want to dry out.

Something you may not know is that Cattleyas can get huge. I have a "full sized" cattleya. Leaf and P-bulb together are about 22 inches-- and this is only 8 years old. There are smaller plants. You really have to do some research into the various types.
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:18 AM
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For space efficiency and also tolerance of range of temperatures and less-than-ideal light consider the mini-catts (plants under 12 inches, some much less than that) Check out Sunset Valley Orchids . The mini and compact Catts have been bred for windowsill growing - the owner, Fred Clarke, will be happy to suggest some likely candidates if you tell him a bit about your conditions and what you like.
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Old 07-07-2018, 03:12 AM
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In general, Cattleya need bright indirect light in order to thrive. This is one of the biggest differences between growing a Phalaenopsis and growing a Cattleya.

They are in general intermediate to warm growing.

They do like to dry out completely before needing to be watered again. They tolerate being dried out between waterings a bit longer than Phals do.

I think Cattleya tend to be much sturdier plants than Phalaenopsis are.

Cattleya grow a bit faster than Phalaenopsis do.

The above are some of the bigger differences between growing Cattleyas and growing Phalaenopsis.

In terms of size, Cattleya luteola, Cattleya schilleriana, Cattleya forbesii, and Cattleya kerrii tend to be some of the smaller growing Cattleya species.

Some of these species that I mentioned above can be a bit challenging to grow if the habitats these orchids come from are not properly researched and taken into consideration.
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:13 PM
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You can easily grow compact catts under lights. I bloom my 12-15 inch catts under Par 38 15 watt 3000-5000 kelvin leds. I buy them at home depot and use clamp work lights as the fixture. You will need more than one bulb though to light old catts.
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:18 PM
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They are in general intermediate to warm growing.
Please don't tell my plants! I have found that nearly all of the mini and compact Catts (and many species as well) do just fine outside in my back yard with winter night temps close to freezing. (Can't do THAT to a Phalaenopsis!) They CAN grow intermediate to warm, and except for Sophronitis maybe they'd prefer it, but I have found them to be extremely forgiving, especially the hybrids.
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Old 07-07-2018, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
Please don't tell my plants! I have found that nearly all of the mini and compact Catts (and many species as well) do just fine outside in my back yard with winter night temps close to freezing. (Can't do THAT to a Phalaenopsis!) They CAN grow intermediate to warm, and except for Sophronitis maybe they'd prefer it, but I have found them to be extremely forgiving, especially the hybrids.
It is a generality. I mentioned it was general culture. I have my Cattleya amethystoglossa outdoors all year round. I didn't want to mention this at the outset because this is not the general rule of thumb for the majority of them. Of course there will be outliers.

Some of these species can tolerate cooler temperatures, as do some hybrids as you mentioned. I used to own a Cattleytonia 'Why Not', and I had this growing outdoors all year round too. It does get pretty cold during the winters here as well. I have noted that it can at times drop down to 36 F at night during the winters here. On average it is between 45 F to 55 F at night during the winters. So, yeah, I'm aware of this.

I've also attempted to grow some other Cattleyas outdoors too, and I wasn't very successful. A large proportion of the Cattleyas I tried growing did not like the cooler temperatures, this is why, in general, I stated they are intermediate to warm growing. An example of ones I tried growing outdoors all year round would be Cattleya leopoldii, and another one was Cattleya velutina, yet another one was Cattleya iricolor. Cattleya intermedia var aquinii took cooler temperatures, but when it approached 36 F, it declined. So, not all Cattleyas are all that temperature tolerant.

I'm kinda on the fence about the temperature tolerance of Cattleya schilleriana, but I have reason to believe this one does not tolerate temperatures below the ballpark of 55 F very well. This was another species I tried growing outdoors all year round and did not succeed with.

Tried with Cattleya maxima too. Didnít work.

Given this kind of track record, can you blame me for my assessment of Cattleyas as a group for being intermediate to warm growing as a majority?
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Old 07-07-2018, 06:34 PM
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With overhead protection (so they don't get cold rain) I have had good luck with C. schilleriana, C. guttata, C. leopoldii. C. velutina may want to be warmer, C. iricolor definitely. Interestingly, I had been pampering C. labiata in the GH as a warm-grower, then heard a talk by Steve Champlain (Floralia) indicating that it can experience near-freezing temps in habitat... and since he is a southern California boy now living in Brazil, figure he knows whereof he speaks. Had them outside last winter and they were fine. Never had any problem with C. intermedia (aquinii or orlata). C. maxima lowland type definitely needs warmth, the highland type is marginal but possible. (I had one that was doing nicely, then it bloomed with some color break, tested virus positive, and alas, I chose to pitch it.) So my list of Cattleya species that need the GH is getting smaller every year, which is great because they tend to get large, and there is more expansion room in the back yard than in the GH (where there is none)

Of hybrids (which a new grower is likely to start with) I have a yard full of Fred Clarke's (Sunset Valley Orchids) compact Catts, most of which came from society raffle tables, that are mostly pretty bullet-proof (that is why I recommended him as a source) His compact-Catt breeding program is oriented toward very forgiving (and beautiful) hybrids that can grow pretty much anywhere.
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Last edited by Roberta; 07-07-2018 at 06:55 PM..
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