Cattleya mendelii – 365 days of orchids – day 1281

In contrast to yesterday’s tiny flowered Stelis benzingii, today we have one of our largest flowered orchid species – Cattleya mendelii.

This magnificent Cattleya species is native to Colombia where it grows at around 1000m as a lithophyte on exposed rocks. We find it to be a straight forward species to grow in our Warm America section where we have several clones. The afternoon sunlight gave the pure white petals and sepals a crystalline glow which contrasts wonderfully with the deep magenta of the lip.

The species flowers reliably in late May and June for us and in cultivation the species can be recognised by the characteristic flowering season, generally light petals and very dramatic purple pink lip pattern. A good starting point in telling similar cattleyas species apart is remembering their flowering time as we showed with our ‘Cattleyas throughout the year’ (although Cattleya mendelii didn’t make the list)

The plant here is growing in a free crate from a market acting as a wide shallow basket and we find free crates are a great potting solution – reuse the plastic – suited to the shallow roots of many orchid species – free draining – and of course easy to carry.

There are still lots of buds to open and the long lasting flowers will make a fantastic display for the next dew weeks – lets see if it ends up better than last year (below)


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