If you keep them outside in the hot summer, Cattleyas need to be watered every other day. In spring and fall, two waterings a week should do. In winter, reduce the waterings to once a week. Always water thoroughly and early enough in the day so that the plant can dry off by evening.
Cattleyas are heavy feeders and require fertilizer about twice a month. We recommend feeding with any general purpose water-soluble fertilizer in place of a watering.
Most Cattleyas are native to the mountainous areas of tropical America, and they prefer intermediate temperatures. A few come from warmer or cooler regions, but in general Cattleyas do best with daytime highs in the 80s, and cooler nights. In winter, they will withstand overnight lows in the 50-55° F range easily. With protection from the wind, a brief drop into the mid-40s is generally not a problem.
If in doubt, protect the plants from temperatures below 50° F.
Cattleyas are heavy rooted and do well in most coarse orchid mixes. We recommend a blend of equal parts Alifor and charcoal, plus 10% coconut peat.
It is a good practice to repot every two years. Do not overpot Cattleyas. Give them just enough room for two years growth.
Most plant diseases are caused by damp or stagnant conditions. Proper watering practices and good air movement are the best preventitive measures you can take. To treat fungal diseases, we recommend Physan or RD-20, Kocide, Aliette and Manzate, or other brands of these chemical groups.
Against insects like scale, mealy bugs and spider mites, most good pesticides that are labeled for plants will work on Cattleyas. Powders and water-based pesticides tend to be better than oil-based ones. Spraying should be done after watering, during the cooler part of the day.
As a general guide, Cattleyas want very bright shade, with some sunlight early or late in the day.
Cattleyas generally like to dry out between waterings. Adjust your watering schedule to the time of year and growing location you've chosen.
If you keep Cattleyas indoors, you should water them about once a week. We recommend putting the plant in the sink and letting the water run through for about a minute. Let the plant drain in the sink before putting it back in its decorative container.
Cattleyas want bright light in order to grow and flower well. They will take fairly high light levels early and late in the day, but should be protected from direct midday sun.
If the plant's leaves are rich, dark green, it isn't getting enough light. If the plant is light yellow-green, it's getting too much light. The correct light levels produce foliage with an attractive medium green color.