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Cattleya percivaliana care may require a little more attention when grown in temperate locations where colder seasons are present. This plant from the Cattleya genus is a gorgeous tropical orchid that calls Venezuela, and sometimes Colombia, as its natural habitat. Their gorgeous flowers are known for their fragrance, which has led the plant to be found in many botanical gardens as a wonderful sensory ornamental plant.
This popular plant from the Orchid family has produced multiple hybrid forms and seedling varieties due to its inherently desirable qualities, so continue reading for a complete care guide!
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Cattleya Percivaliana Care
Bright, filtered sunlight is one of the most vital factors in successfully growing Cattleya percivaliana. Although this resilient orchid may tolerate direct sunlight in the morning and late afternoons, exposure to strong levels of sunlight during noon could cause leaf burns.
Filtered lights using nets should allow this cattleya to flourish and flower undisturbed. Placing them behind or under other plants as protection from direct sunlight will also work.
In cultivation, especially in temperate climates where sunlight may not be always present, grow lights are the ideal equipment for supplementing bright light levels. Sun-loving cattleyas, in general, require 30,000 to 50,000 lux for them to produce blooms.
Placing Christmas Orchids in south-facing windows will also increase their exposure to bright lights. Enough care should be exercised in making sure that they are not exposed to harsh direct sunlight.
Percival’s Cattleya requires abundant and frequent watering during its active growth period. In the wild, the orchid has grown accustomed to its humid habitats with alternating wet and dry seasons. Grown in similar climates, cultivators and collectors do not need to be overly vigilant in caring for these orchids.
In less tropical regions, orchid lovers need to exercise a bit more care in watering these exotic beauties. While they are quite easy to care for, attention must be paid to the watering schedule and technique. This is to ensure that excessive watering will not create stagnant moisture that may cause soggy root rot and fungus infections.
Aside from frequent watering during the growing period, misting also helps the Cattleya percivaliana attain its much-needed air humidity. This is most helpful, especially during drier days.
In colder seasons like late autumns and winters, watering frequency and amount should be reduced. Roots should be allowed to dry out slightly in between watering, and the substrate should not be excessively moist or wet during these times. In general, you should never place orchids in standing water.
In the wild, the Christmas Orchid can enjoy the steadily warm temperature of its native environment, in the sun-drenched forests of Venezuela and Colombia. There, it receives an adequate amount of heat to ensure its growth and health.
In cultivation, this orchid still requires a warm temperature, which should be around 74 to 86 F during the day. At night, temperatures should be over 55 F. The most ideal temperature range should be maintained to keep a thriving Cattleya percivaliana successfully blooming.
Percival’s Orchids are air plants that can also adapt to growing on rocks. These hardy orchids can be effectively placed in pots, baskets, or on bark slabs and blocks. When grown in pots, the potting substrate mix must be permeable. This is to allow air movement and prevent excess and stagnant water.
A mix of sphagnum moss, fir bark chips, charcoal, and other organic plant matter with suitable aeration qualities is most ideal. Clay pots are also one of the best containers for Christmas Orchids. This earthen material wicks away the extra water to prevent the substrate and the roots from being flooded.
Repotting Cattleya percivaliana is necessary when the orchid has visibly outgrown its current container, and young plants are growing over the edge. Similarly, broken clay pots that house these delightful orchids need to be replaced to keep the roots safe and intact.
Cattleya percivaliana flourishes in high humidity settings, especially in its local environment. Ideally, these magnificent orchids should receive a high humidity level of 75 to 80 percent. Be sure to not go lower than that to prevent the plants from drying out.
In temperate conditions, growers can simulate the Christmas Orchid’s native habitat’s humidity by setting up humidifiers or a simple humidifying system. Some growers use a straightforward method of elevating the orchid’s containers on some crushed rocks. Excess water from the pot accumulates on the crushed rocks, slowly releasing water into the air. However, note that the water should not touch any part of the pot or the roots of the orchid.
Percival’s Cattleya prefers intermittent fertilization, with a half-strength diluted solution of recommended orchid fertilizer every two to three weeks. Aside from root applications, the cattleya appreciates foliar dressing application. This method sprays the leaves of the orchid with a super-diluted fertilizer solution during its active growing periods. In temperate regions, the growth period usually starts in late winter and lasts until early spring.
In the colder months, it is recommended to reduce fertilizer applications or to stop any at all, and merely continue with reduced watering amount and frequency.
After active growing and flowering periods, Christmas Orchids require a definite resting period. They have two clearly defined resting periods, which are before and after flowering. The first resting period starts when new growth unfolds and the plant’s leaf unfurls. During this period, it is not advisable to fertilize. Rather, continue caring for your plant with reduced watering frequency and amount.
The second rest period is after the blooming stage. Observe the same care routine as the first resting period. This should keep the orchid healthy for the next growth phase.
While some growers have experimented with propagation methods using Cattleya percivaliana seeds, the results so far have not been quite viable nor productive. Percival’s Cattleyas are sympodial. Therefore, the simplest method of cultivation and propagation is through the division of sections of the horizontal orchid rhizomes.
Once the divided rhizomes have been potted, it is best to keep them dry for a week before watering. The orchid seedlings then quickly grow to form clumps of their own, especially when grown in ideal conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are some common diseases of Cattleya percivaliana?
Some common diseases that affect Cattleya percivaliana include black rot, which can cause the leaves and stems to turn black and mushy, and root rot, which can occur if the plant is overwatered or planted in poorly-draining soil.
2. How do I provide proper air circulation for my Cattleya percivaliana?
To provide proper air circulation for your Cattleya percivaliana, you can place it near a fan or open window to ensure that fresh air is circulating around the plant.