Cattleya mendelii – 365 days of orchids – day 1953

Today belongs to Cattleya mendelii – its glorious flowers have just opened and its large seed pod from last year has just split – very good evidence that the seed pod needed 12 months to mature.

The long lasting flowers of Cattleya mendelii are amongst the largest of any species we grow at 15cm across.

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 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, 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.

As you can see some of the seed from the seed pod has been lost through its small split,  but there is plenty left for sowing in the lab next week. We always collect seed in folded paper so that it can dry quickly and cleanly reducing any chance of contamination by fungus (inevitable if the seed is put in a plastic bag).


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