Christmas is always pink in the School Greenhouse with lots of large flowered pink orchids coming into flower. One of the most spectacular is this compact Cattleya species from Brazil.
This is and unusual Cattleya as it produces flowers on spikes produced in the Autumn from the base of the newly matured pseudobulbs, while other Cattleya species (apart from Cattleya nobilor) produce their flowers from the top of the pseudo-bulb. 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 – so I am dreaming of a Pink Christmas – why don’t you join us? – I am sure that you know we have our virtual Orchid Christmas festival this Thurday, and here is the zoom links again – https://zoom.us/j/97501868004 at 6.30pm on 3rd Dec. A good way to celebrate the end of the lock down 🙂