Wandering through our Cool Americas Section yesterday we were delighted to find the bright orange flowers of Cattleya harpophylla looking back at us. We have a number of dramatic Brazilian orchid species with bright red and orange flowers. Cattleya harpophylla is a small to medium sized plant with narrow bulbs and leaves that turn red in bright light.
This brightly coloured Brazilian species is found as an epiphyte from 500 to 900m. Exploring similar forests we have found them to have wet summers and dryer but not completely dry winters. We find plants enjoy growing in shade in Cool Americas both mounted and in baskets but kept well watered in the summer and damp in the winter
In common with other red and orange cattleyas this species is pollinated by hummingbirds. The bright orange flowers glow out in our winter greenhouse and the same must be true in its natural habitat – a species well worth growing.