Named since 1824 the Cattleya genus of Orchids contains 42 species to date and can be found growing naturally all the way from Costa Rica to the tropics of South America.
With flowers up to 5 inches in diameter, some of the biggest flowers in the Orchid world, it’s not hard to see why Cattleyas are so popular amongst Orchid beginners as well as experienced growers. While Cattleya Orchids can be difficult to grow, due to them only flowering only one time every year and with blooms that last around 2 to 3 weeks, more and more people are trying to grow these gorgeous Orchids.
For more than a century hybrids of these wonderful Orchids have been created. Cattleya Orchids have been hybridised with other species within the genus as well as with other genera. William Cattley was credited for creating various hybrids from Orchids that were delivered in the form of packing material.
Cattleya Labiata was the first Cattleya Orchid to be named and since this time the Cattleya Orchid has become known for its air of mystery.
While the Cattleya Orchid continues to rise in popularity amongst the general Orchid grower or hobbyist it is now becoming a popular Orchid for more commercial uses. Thanks to the colourful and large flowers produced by Cattleyas this Orchid type is now used for corsages, lending its beauty to the arrangement.
Hybrids of the Cattleya are now being grown which can bloom for a longer period of time and also more frequently. This can be credited as one of the main reasons why Cattleya Orchids popularity is set to increase above current levels.
As you can imagine an Orchid that only flowers 2 or 3 weeks a year requires some dedication to grow, so with the introduction of these longer lasting Cattleya hybrids more Orchid lovers are becoming turned on to the idea of growing one of these beautiful flowers.
Now that there are hybrids of Cattleyas that can bloom for 5 and even 6 weeks, as well as hybrids which bloom more than once in the year, Cattleyas are making their way further into the mainstream.
This rise in popularity has in turn produced a sub-industry which aims to cater for those times when your Cattleya is not blooming. Some nurseries will in fact look after your Cattleya Orchid when it is not in bloom allowing you to only have your Orchid when it is at its most beautiful.
For more than one hundred years the Orchid registry has not added a lot of the newly created hybrids. This has ensured that these longer lasting hybrids are yet to make it into the hands of the general public but remain hugely successful with Orchid enthusiasts and hobbyists.
So with all these new Cattleya hybrids being created, combating the less desirable aspects of owning a Cattleya, it can only be expected for the popularity of these simply outstanding Orchids to rise. And I hope Cattleyas will become even more popular as I think you would struggle to find any Orchid with such large and colourful flowers as the Cattleya Orchid.