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The genus orchids cattleya has about fifty species of epiphytes and lithophytes, originating in South America; they are equipped with fleshy pseudobulbs, which can have dimensions close to 5-7 cm, but some species are much larger.
The foliage is bright green, leathery, arched, slightly fleshy, evergreen; each pseudobulb carries 2-3 leaves. The flowers are of considerable size, single or on stem that carries a number of 4-5; can be found in many shades, from pink to white, from yellow to red; many are the hybrids, also because this orchid is quite easy to grow and very common among the fans. The flower of cattleya spicata is characterized by bright colors, it also has a characteristic rolled labellum, almost cylindrical in shape, generally of a contrasting color with respect to the other petals, mottled or spotted.
The cattleya orchids spicata need to be exposed in a very bright place, possibly with a few hours of direct sunlight a day; they fear the cold, and need minimum temperatures above 12-14 ° C; it is advisable to keep them in a not too hot place, avoiding prolonged exposure to temperatures above 34-35 ° C. In summer it is therefore good to keep the cattleye spicata in a bright place, but sheltered from the direct sun, well ventilated.
These plants suffer from sudden changes in temperature and temperatures that differ considerably between day and night.
Be careful not to expose orchids in environments subject to drafts and where they can receive direct sunlight only during the coolest hours of the day, especially in summer.
From March to October water abundantly, leaving the substratum to dry slightly between one watering and another; during cold months slightly reduce watering. It is important to maintain a correct degree of humidity around the plant; to do this, it is a good idea to place the vase in a saucer in which there are pebbles or expanded clay that allows the roots to remain out of direct contact with water. Especially in hot weather it is advisable to spray water on the leaves.
Each month provide small amounts of universal fertilizer.
The multiplication of the cattleya orchids it is made by dividing the rhizomes during the vegetative rest period, which usually runs from October to April. The rhizome is cut into two parts with a sharp knife, each part must be potted and new shoots will form here. The new shoots are grown for a year, then they detach from the old rhizomes and repot.
It is good to intervene with the division of 3 or 4 rhizomes together, rather than proceeding with only one.
It is also possible to reproduce orchid plants by sowing, although this operation is much more complex and often, given the genetic variability, plants are obtained that are not the same as the mother.
For the planting of this type of plant use a specific substrate for orchids, consisting of shredded bark and vegetable fibers; It is also possible to grow cattleya on bark or in hanging baskets.
These plants should be repotted when the roots have now occupied the entire pot or no longer have the necessary support; the operation must be performed at the beginning of the vegetative season, when the plant has new roots that have reached at least 4 cm in length. It is fundamental to pay attention not to force to extract the roots, as they break easily. If they were compressed in the jar, wet with water at room temperature or cut the jar.
Cattleya Orchids - Cattleya spicata: Pests and diseases
These plants are subject to various problems, which can be caused by adverse environmental conditions, nutritional deficiencies or incorrect watering. If they do not bloom, it may be that they do not have a sufficient amount of light, if the flowers fall, it could be the fault of water scarcity, while if the leaves fall, this is due to an excess of watering.
Orchids can also be affected by aphids, mealybugs and red spider mites that must be fought quickly. For scale insects it is possible to intervene manually with a cloth with alcohol to pass on the leaves to eliminate them. Aphids are contrasted with special insecticide products, while for red spider mites it is possible to increase the vaporization of water on the leaves.
These plants can also be affected by fungal diseases, often resulting from an excess of humidity, which favors the presence of this problem. In this case it is appropriate to act with preventive actions, as it is very difficult to effectively combat the problem once it occurs.