Cattleya Maxima is a beautiful orchid that is a must-have for orchid lovers anywhere. However, many people find it a difficult plant to care for.

Luckily for you, we have collected knowledge from experienced growers to answer all your queries regarding growing it successfully at home. Keep reading to find out more!

Cattleya Maxima: Its Two Main Types

Cattleya Maxima fall in the category of relatively larger-sized orchids. In their natural habitat, they live either as epiphytes or lithophytes and grow on large trees, ferns, and boulders for support and protection. Botanists have divided this orchid into two main types: The upland type and the lowland type.

Read below to learn the subtle differences between these two closely related types.

Upland / short pseudobulb type Lowland / tall pseudobulb type
Pseudobulbs Pseudobulbs are short and plump.

Tall and slender pseudobulbs.

Can be as tall as two feet.

Leaves Leaves are short and upright. Slightly slender leaves.
Flowers

A single stem produces three to five flowers at its terminal end.

The flowers are dark purple/ lavender in color.

Inflorescence produces twelve to twenty-one flowers each.

Produces lighter colored flowers.

Cattleya Maxima: Roots, Leaves, and Flowers

You can read a general description of both these types of maxima orchids here:

– Cattleya Maxima Flowers

Each inflorescence of this orchid carries three to fifteen-sometimes up to twenty large-sized flowers. These flowers are fragrant with an average size of four to five inches across in diameter. You can easily distinguish the flowers of Cattleya maxima by a bright yellow line that passes through the center of its lip.

– Cattleya Maxima Stem And Pseudobulb

If your maxima grow well enough, you can expect a stem height of almost twelve inches tall. Each stem arises from thickened pseudobulbs that act as the storage organs of the plant.

– Cattleya Maxima Petals

You can choose one among a variety of these orchids based upon the petal color of your choice. Some of the most commonly sought after types are:

  • Albas: this variety produces pure white flowers.
  • Semi-albas: the flowers of this type are paler white in color compared to the Alba type.
  • Lavender pink
  • Dark purple
  • Coerulea: Cattleya Maxima Coerulea is a much sought-after blue-colored variety of this orchid

– Cattleya Maxima Leaves

Each stem in this orchid produces only a single leaf.

Cattleya Maxima Care: Tips To Make Your Orchid Thrive

This is not an orchid species that likes to be fussed over much. You will find that even a very simple, straightforward care regime will lead to healthy growth and exuberant blooms. You can learn some fundamental requirements of this orchid below:

 – Light Requirements

This orchid species requires medium to high light for its proper growth and propagation. You can tell whether its light requirements are being met if the leaf color is fresh, light green.

  • Natural Light

Provide high but indirect natural light to your orchids for the majority of the day. A west-facing window during summer and a south-facing window during winters will work wonders for your orchid.

Do not, under any circumstances, put them under direct sunlight. This will lead to severe scorching of the orchid and it may even stop growing for a couple of years consequently.

  • Artificial Light

Artificial light can work just as well as natural one when it comes to the energy requirements of Cattleya maxima. You will need at least four feet long tubes of overhead fluorescent lights if you want to grow this orchid under artificial light.

Upland types have been found to need more light generally than the lowland type.

– Soil

Most people prefer growing orchids in pots. We personally recommend using a clay pot. Plastic pots should only be used during the seedling stage, if at all.

Clay pots are breathable and drain well after watering, providing good breathing room to the orchids. Because they store more water, these pots also lead to the growth of larger pseudobulbs.

As for the ideal potting medium, use a medium-grade well-draining soil such as medium bark for potting.

Cattleya maxima can be mounted on slabs in bare-rooted form or grown hanging on baskets. We would suggest you go with these options once you’re confident enough with your skills.

– Water Requirements

One of the reasons why florists find cultivating orchids so cumbersome is because of their stringent wagering requirements. Follow our time-tested watering tricks to make sure your orchid always remains well hydrated.

  • Use distilled water, rainwater, or reverse osmosis water. Only use common tap water if it has a pH below 7.5.
  • Water this orchid regularly and abundantly. Let the water flow over the entire plant and then drain out from a suitable medium.
  • While other Cattleyas like to dry in between each watering cycle, Cattleya maxima roots should not become completely dry for an extended period. This is especially true when the plant is actively growing.
  • At the same time, take care that proper drainage of water takes place after each watering. Remember, if water is allowed to stay on the stem, roots, or potting medium for extended periods of time, it will most definitely lead to a nasty rot.
  • During the winter, you should decrease water gradually. Some amount of stem shriveling will occur and is perfectly normal.

– Temperature Requirements

These orchids are natives of temperate regions and so require similar conditions to grow well.

The only noticeable difference between cultivating the two types of Cattleya maxima at home is the difference in the nighttime temperature requirements of the two.

  • The upland type tends to grow at elevations of three to six thousand feet in their natural habitat. Hence, these need ideal nighttime temperatures of fifty-eight Fahrenheit and can tolerate a temperature drop only till fifty Fahrenheit.
  • The lowland variety, on the other hand, tends to grow near sea levels in their natural habitat. Their required nighttime temperature is above sixty-five Fahrenheit. So these maxima orchids will not bloom if the nighttime temperature frequently falls below sixty Fahrenheit.
  • During the daytime, both varieties grow well at around eighty-five Fahrenheit.

– Humidity Requirements

The average air humidity around Cattleya maxima should be fifty to eighty percent during the summer growing season. During winter, your orchid will be able to tolerate slightly lower humidity levels. Be sure to maintain a regular misting schedule. Some easy ways of ensuring proper humidity are as follows:

  • Use humidity trays. These are pebble and water-filled trays that you can put under pots or mounts.
  • Group and huddle similar plants together.
  • Invest in a high-quality humidifier for your home or greenhouse.
  • Using a top layer of moss.
  • Daily misting your orchids.

– Adequate Air Circulation

All Cattleyas need good ventilation and air circulation around them. Not only does it contribute to the humidity needs of the plant but also leads to the evaporation of water droplets from the surface of the plant. Otherwise, these water droplets cause fungal/ bacterial rot.

For providing adequate air circulation, we suggest putting your Cattleya orchids under a slow ceiling fan at all times during both day and night.

However, constant air circulation often leads to a decrease in surrounding humidity. So make sure you have a humidifier at hand.

Cattleya Maxima: You Can Plant and Grow Them Yourself

Never has it been easier to care for and cultivate these orchids at home.

– Potting

Use the most suitable potting medium such as fir tree bark for this purpose and add market-bought nutrient media to it. Use plastic pots only during the initial seedling stage. Shift to a clay pot once growth emerges.

– Repotting

Cattleyas should be reported when new growth emerges from the base of the plant. This usually happens around the time the flowering season is over. Transport carefully to a larger clay pot, taking care not to damage the roots. Keep dry for a week after repotting

– Cultivating Seeds

Growing Cattleya maxima from a seedling is a long, difficult process and only the most patient people can undertake this task.

Initially, you will need a flask and fill it with a rich nutrient medium to submerge your seedlings in. Provide adequate humidity and temperature to the orchid.

It will take several months to years before shoots emerge from the flask. Transport to a small-sized pot next.

In Conclusion: Summarizing the Most Important Points

We think you are quite ready now to start cultivating this exquisite orchid in your home and nursery. Some important things to keep in mind are:

  • Cattleya maxima produce large fragrant flowers with varying colors.
  • Provide them with bright natural or artificial light indirectly for most of the day. A period of the dark at night is important too.
  • Cattleya maxima need watering thoroughly and its roots should not be allowed to dry in between.
  • Both types of maxima have the same daytime temperature needs but during the night, low land variety needs higher temperatures than high land variety.
  • Provide fifty to eighty percent humidity during summer along with adequate air circulation.
  • We suggest that a medium-grade mixture such as fir tree bark with charcoal or perlite should be used for potting and repotting this orchid.
  • Do not repot unless the orchid literally starts to spill out of the pot or basket.

We bet you’re feeling quite confident about adding Cattleya maxima to your garden and home now. Start right now and experience their beautiful bloom and fragrance brightening up your home in just a couple of months!

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