Orchid of the Week: Cattleya intermedia

Cattleya intermedia

Probably the most variable of all the bifoliate Cattleya species, C. intermedia has been a long-time favorite of mine for several reasons. Besides the huge variation in terms of color and patterns on the flowers, the species has a fairly compact growth habit.  Flowers are also quite large (4″ to 5″ avg.) in comparison with the size of the plants and are produced in fairly large (2-6 or more) number by inflorescence.  It is native to southernmost parts of Brazil and this means that the plants are subject to extreme cold and warm temperatures throughout the year; because of this the plants are extremely adaptable to warm to cool growing conditions and that basically make the plants very easy to cultivate under varied conditions. To learn more about orchids and orchid growing contact the American Orchid Society.

Required Light:  In the greenhouse I use 50% shade cloth and have it in a spot where it gets mostly morning and afternoon sun but not Midday.  Under artificial lights like our T5 fluorescents I recommend it be 8” underneath at least two 4 foot T5 bulbs.

Temperature: This orchid prefers night-time temperatures to be between 55° F – 65° F.  Daytime temperatures can easily reach the low 90’s without a problem.

Humidity: Best kept at 60% RH or higher.

Required Watering: Depending on environmental factors, once or twice a week under normal conditions.  More waterings are generally necessary when it is hotter in the growing environment.  This orchid would prefer never to dry out completely. 

Fertilizer: Should be applied at ½ to1/4 strength weekly.  I prefer to use the Grow More brand of fertilizers.

Potting: Should be done annually as you see new roots starting to emerge from the newest pseudoblulb(s.)  I use a mixture of 4 parts coconut husk chips, 2 parts #4 Perlite, and 1 part Hydroton.  Also I like clay pots as they will dry out a bit faster keeping the roots from staying too wet.

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