It seems that we have a Cattleya thing going on in the greenhouse again this week with several species bursting into flower. One of the most spectacular is this compact species from Brazil.T
This is an unusual Cattleya and one we have been keen to succeed with for many years. All other Cattleya species (apart from Cattleya nobilor) produce their flowers from the top of the pseudo-bulb but walkeriana produces flowers on spikes produced in the Autumn from the base of the newly matured pseudobulbs. The flowers themselves are also very distinct flowers and it is therefore difficult to confuse this plant with other species.
Cattleya walkeriana grows as an epiphyte in dryish areas often along streams across a broad area of Southern Brazil. It behaves rather as a xerophyte coping with long periods of high temperatures and little rainfall.
In cultivation we try to replicate the hot, dry, bright conditions it experiences in the wild by hanging it in a basket high in the roof of Warm Americas. We water it well when in growth but in the winter give it very little water. This helps us to grow large plump pseudobulbs but avoid and rotting off roots or bulbs in the winter. If you look closely at the basket you will see that it doesn’t contain much composts and no moss so that roots dry out very quickly after watering.
The flowers are long lasting and are very cheerful on a dark November morning like today’s.