Winter will not be sad and gloomy anymore when you look around and find the stunning Cattleya trianae.

Flor de Mayo or Cattleya trianae is a beautiful orchid that is also the national flower of Colombia. The flower’s lip has hues of yellow, red, and blue, just like Colombia’s flag.

This easy-growing orchid is endemic to Colombia but can be found in many different countries today because of its widespread cultivation and transportation. It is one of the most widely cultivated Cattleya orchids.

What Is Cattleya Trianae?

Belonging to the Cattleya genus and the Orchidaceae family, Cattleya trianae or Flor de Mayo is an epiphytic orchid native to the South American country of Colombia. Flor de Mayo lives up to its namesake because it blooms in May.

G. Reichenbach described it first in 1860. The species name Trinae was given in honor of the Colombian botanist Jose Jeronimo Triana. Some of its other names are the Christmas orchid, May flower, May lily, Dr. Triana’s Cattleya, Cattleya bogotensis, and Cattleya kimballiana.

  • Size and Growth

Cattleya trianae is an epiphytic orchid that is found growing from near the oceans to the mountains. But it grows the best at a height of 2000 to 6300 feet above sea level.

Since it is an epiphyte, it means that in its natural habitat, the orchid grows while being attached to the tree trunks or other support structures.

Flor de Mayo is a large-sized orchid having yellowish-orange pseudobulbs. The orchid can be 1 foot tall and 1 foot wide.

  • Leaves

Cattleya trianae has single, rounded, and oblong-elliptic leaves that can grow up to 12 inches long. The leaves are succulent, leathery, and monocot. The single leaf usually has an oval shape.

When the leaves have a light green shade, it means that your orchid is getting an adequate amount of sunlight.

  • Flowers

Cattleya trianae has perfectly shaped, gorgeous blooms. The petals are thin and almost crepe-like. The orchid blooms two to three times a year. The color of sepals varies from white to deep red. The lavender-colored petals are twice the size of the sepals.

The size of the flower can be about 6 to 8 inches across. The inflorescences are upright and enclosed in a sheath that helps support the flower’s weight.

Most orchids bloom during their active growth period during spring and summer, but this lovely orchid blooms during the winter and early spring months. It is one of the best orchids falling under the Cattleya genus because of its perfectly shaped blooms that come in a wide range of colors.

The blooms of Cattleya trianae have a delicate texture, but they are the most long-lasting of all the Cattleya orchids. The pastel shades of the flowers set them apart from the rest of the Cattleyas.

It produces two to three flowers on each stem. On average, Cattleya trianae blooms twice a year, and the blooms last for four to five weeks. An interesting feature of the Cattleya trianae blooms is that they do not release pollen.

Cattleya Trianae Care: Growth Requirements

Like most Cattleya hybrids, Cattleya trianae is also easy to grow. Follow our guide to know the exact requirements of this orchid and enjoy the blooms for years to come.

  • Location and Light Requirements

Flor de Mayo (May flower) loves to be in bright light. Bright light will help the plant to be healthy, which shows in the color of its leaves and pseudobulbs. Try to provide the morning sun to your plant for the best results.

However, never put your orchid in a spot that receives afternoon sun. Midday sun is harmful to the plant. If you are keeping your orchid indoors, keep it near a window sill where it manages to receive bright light throughout the day.

Avoid south-facing balconies and windows to prevent the leaves from burning. If you are keeping it in a south-facing window, ensure that you draw the curtains during noon.

Bright yellowish-green leaves and orange to red pseudobulbs are a sign that your plant is receiving the right amount of light.

  • Water Requirements

Cattleya trianae likes to dry out a bit in between two successive waterings. Cattleya trianae is one such orchid that handles overwatering better than most other orchids. It is quite resistant to root rot.

As a basic rule, water your orchid when the top half an inch of soil has dried. Allow the soil mix to dry 60 to 80 percent in between watering, but it should not be completely dry.

Reduce the watering frequency when the plant is dormant and inactive. Increase the watering sessions as the orchid starts to grow again. Also, keep your orchid slightly dry during the rest period in the winter season to prevent root rot.

The gap between subsequent watering sessions has to be more than summertime watering. However, never let the soil mix completely dry out.

There is no particular time that you should follow to water your Cattleya orchids. But we recommend watering early in the morning as it gives the plant enough time to absorb moisture and helps in preventing problems like root rot and plant decay. Water your orchid using lukewarm or room temperature water.

  • Ideal Temperature

Cattleya trianae is a hot to cool growing orchid. Stable temperatures without excessive heat or cold are the ideal temperature conditions for this orchid. Try to replicate the conditions that the orchid lives in its natural habitat.

The temperature should lie between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It cannot tolerate temperatures lower than 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and higher than 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cattleya trianae does not need a big difference in daytime and nighttime temperatures.

  • Soil Mix and Type of Pot

Cattleya trianae grows well in light, well-draining soil medium consisting of fir or pine bark. Mix some perlite or charcoal to the bark chips to maintain enough drainage and ventilation around the root system.

Clay and terracotta pots are perfect if you are an over-waterer. Both these pots absorb the excess water from the soil mix. But if you want to keep a watch on your orchid’s root development and monitor the growth beneath the soil, plastic pots are the one for you.

Cattleya trianae is not too fussy, so you do not need to monitor the root development. We would recommend you to grow them in clay or terracotta containers.

Coming to the size of the pot, while repotting, make sure that the new pot is not too large. It should be about 2 inches bigger than the previous one. If the pot is too big, the orchid will focus only on developing the roots instead of flowering. As a result, there will be fewer blooms.

  • Humidity Requirements

Cattleya trianae prefers a humidity level between 40 and 70 percent. If you have lower humidity levels in your home, try to increase the humidity around your orchid by grouping several plants, misting daily, and placing a humidifier near the plant.

Even though Cattleya trianae does not get root rot easily, keep the airflow high around the plant roots. The higher the humidity, the higher the ventilation around the root system should be.

To prevent problems like fungal infections and diseases, maintain good ventilation with high humidity. The plant is prone to get fungal infections if there is high humidity and no air movement.

In humid areas, use a fan to keep the air moving around your orchids. In dry areas, use more humidifiers than fans. The higher the temperature, the higher the humidity level should be, and vice versa.

  • Fertilizer Requirements

Cattleya trianae is not a heavy fertilizer feeder. But regular fertilizer application will help increase the blooming. Use a well-balanced orchid fertilizer once every 15 days or so to keep the plant healthy.

A nitrogen-rich fertilizer helps promote leafy growth and less bud development. So avoid using a fertilizer that is too heavy in nitrogen content. During the active growth period, use one-fourth to one-half of the recommended dose on the label.

Avoid over-fertilizing as it causes the roots to burn and, eventually, the plant to die.

  • Repotting Cattleya Trianae

Do not repot your orchid unless absolutely necessary. If you want the blooms to be of the highest quality, then avoid repotting frequently. Unnecessary transplanting can make the plant go into shock.

Post autumn and winter, when you begin to see new growth in your orchid, it is a good time to transplant the orchid to a bigger pot.

If you notice that there are four to five pseudobulbs while shifting the plant to a bigger pot, you can divide the plant and propagate. Do not divide the plant if the pseudobulbs are less than four.

During the process of repot, be careful while handling the roots. Untangle them gently from the old soil mix and remove all the debris, moss, and bark chips before transplanting.

If there is any rotten or wounded root, cut it off and apply some cinnamon powder as it helps in recovery. Transplant the orchid in the new pot in bark chips and perlite and let it sit in the shade for a few days to let it recover from the transplant shock.

Problems

Cattleya trianae is a tough orchid, but sometimes it is prone to get infected by pests like aphids, mites, and mealybugs.

– Aphids

Aphids are quite common and attack the orchid’s new growth. You can avoid this problem by spraying soap water on the plant.

If there is a heavy infestation, use chemical treatment by applying pesticides before flowering occurs. If the orchid is outside, attract beneficial insects such as ladybirds and wasps that eat aphids.

– Red Spider Mites

Spider mites are so small that they are hardly visible to the naked eye. They thrive in warm temperatures and dry conditions. To prevent this problem, keep your gardening tools clean. In case of heavy infestation, apply insecticidal soap containing pyrethroids.

– Mealybugs

If you catch them early, mealybugs are relatively easier to get rid of. For light infestation, pick them up using tissue paper and wash the plant. If it is heavily infected, chemical soap application may be required.

You can also use organic neem oil mixed with water to eliminate all the pests mentioned above.

Conclusion

It is interesting to note that Cattleya trianae is cultivated in many parts of the world. But it is endangered in the wild because of continuous deforestation and habitat destruction. So if you can get your hands on this beauty, consider yourself lucky!

Listed below are the most important points you need to keep in mind before growing Cattleya trianae.

  • Cattleya trianae or Flor de Mayo is a Colombian orchid known for its near-perfect blooms
  • It has flowers in various colors that bloom from winter to early spring
  • It needs partial to full sunlight to grow well, but avoid afternoon sun to prevent leaf burns
  • Water your orchid when the top half an inch of soil has dried; do not let the entire soil mix dry out
  • It can comfortably tolerate temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • It loves a well-draining and well-ventilated soil mix; use fir bark mixed with perlite or charcoal for drainage
  • Humidity levels falling between 40 and 70 percent work well for the Christmas orchid
  • Fertilize using an orchid fertilizer during the active growing period once every week to two weeks
  • Repot your orchid every two to three years when it has completely taken over the pot
  • Avoid unnecessary repotting as the plant can go into shock
  • It can face problems like aphids, red spider mites, and mealybugs that are treatable with pesticides

Cattleya trianae is easy to grow if you take care of the necessary conditions required for its proper growth. If you are looking to add color to your home, Flor de Mayo is a fantastic choice.

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