Cattleya bicolor – 365 days of orchids – day 1679

Cattleya bicolor is a reliable late summer treat.

The species has really strikingly coloured flowers, the vibrant pink lip contrasting with the chestnut brown of the other petals and sepals. The flower is unusual as the lip has no side lobes to wrap around the column as in most cattleyas. The flowers are large (see hand for scale) and as plants mature they grow longer pseudobulbs with higher flower counts. The flowers are also sweetly fragrant.

Cattleya bicolor is endemic to Brazil where it is found as an epiphyte on trees or lithophyte on rocks near the Atlantic coast or inland in damp forests up to around 1200m. It is reported as restricted to rocks near water in dryer areas. Similar species we have seen in this habitat develop extensive root systems to cope with the exposed and seasonally dry climate.

We grow plants in baskets of course bark but keep them well watered through the summer which is the wet season in the wild, and we don’t let pseudo bulbs shrivel when kept a little dryer in the winter.

We grow the species in Warm Americas (min 15C) though the range of the plant indicates that it could be grown a little warmer too.



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