This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
Established plants should be repotted at least every second year. This is as long as the osmundine will remain suitable for the roots to ramify in, and if the plants are grown in pots, immerse the same a day before if the roots are dry, or most of them will remain attached to the pots. Remove all decayed portions of material and roots, wash with clean water, and repot as with newly imported plants, remembering always that a size too large often proves fatal to success. Plants that have been newly potted must not be placed among others that have not received attention, but all should be put in a situation in which they can be treated to little water at the roots for several weeks until the weather is such that there is no danger of their becoming overwatered. Cattleyas should be attended to in this respect in the winter months, taking first C. labiata, as it is the first to start growing, then C. Trianae; the later kinds may be potted before flowering with less injury than afterwards, if done with care.
In hot weather, cattleyas should always be watered in the evening or latter part of the day. A generous spraying overhead will supply the moisture at a time when the roots get most of it, as may be seen by an examination in early morning. There is no danger of injury if an abundance of air is supplied. One has only to be careful during such times as the atmosphere outside is surcharged with moisture, then it is wise not to use any moisture inside even for a week at a time. This is when the dreaded "black spot" disease is often seen. It usually begins at the union of leaf and bulb, and when first seen, amputation must be practised to a point below infection, and dry sulfur and powdered charcoal applied at once as an absorbent. A small can of this ought always to be ready to hand, for if the disease gets down to the rhizome, several bulbs will be affected at once, and it is often difficult to save the plant. The disease is also highly infectious and may easily be transmitted to a healthy plant by means of a knife used to cut off diseased parts of another.
Apart from seeds, the propagation of cattleyas is a slow process to be accomplished only by the cutting of the rhizome between the bulbs, leaving at least three of the leading ones and separating the older ones according to their strength or the dormant buds at the base that are visible. A clean cut or notch that almost severs the rhizome is the best, leaving the parts where they are until new growth and roots are made, then potting in small receptacles, wiring or staking the little pieces firmly. Apart from the three last-made bulbs on the rhizome, the older ones are a source of weakness to the plants and are better removed, and in the case of valuable forms utilized as above. This is the way all duplicates of the many albino varieties have been obtained. There are many white cattleyas bearing the same name, as C. Trianae alba or C. Mossiae Wagneri, for many have appeared among importations, but these differ in each individual and unless a plant is increased by division one cannot be sure of the same thing.
Opinions are divided as to the "feeding" of orchids. It is certain that when rain-water is saved in cisterns for the plants, and these happen to be in the vicinity of cities where soot collects on the roofs of the houses, the plants show unusual vigor and in consequence of this, many have practised the use of fertilizers in exceedingly dilute proportions in all the water used on the plants, and some have had surprising results. The temptation, however, is always present to feel that if a little is good, more would be better, and herein lies the danger. When plant-foods are used in solution, they should be considered only as sufficient to make the difference between rain-water and that which comes out of a pipe.
The best twelve varieties of cattleyas for commercial purposes, and, indeed, for amateurs also, are the following: C. Trianaee, flowers Jan. - March; C. Schroederse, flowers March, Apr.; C. Mossiae, flowers April, May; C. Men-delii, flowers Apr., May; C. Warneri, flowers May, June; C. gigas, flowers June, July; C. aurea, flowers June, July; C. Gaskelliana, flowers Aug., Sept.; C. Harrisoniana, flowers Sept., Oct.; C. labiata, flowers Oct., Nov.; C. Bowringeana, flowers Oct., Nov.; C. Percivaliana, flowers Dec.
With a number of plants of each of the above kinds, it will be seen that it is possible to have a succession of flowers from one end of the year to the other.
E. O. Orpet and John E. Lager.
The following American trade names belong to Laelia: C. crispa, C. lobata, C. marginata, C. pumila. See, also, the list of hybrids at the close of Cattleya. For C. aurantiaca, see Epidendrum.
The cattleyas enter into various generic hybrids: consult, for example, Brassocattlaelia, Brassocattleya, Brasso-Laelia-Cattleya, Epicattleya, Laeliocattleya.
Of several of the following species, there are named varieties in the American trade, varying in stature, habit and particularly in the color of the flowers.
Key To The Species. A. Infloresence terminal.
b. Lateral lobes of lip small or wanting, the column exposed. C. Peduncles 1-2-flowered, from a very short spathe or naked: pseudo-bulb fusiform, short........... 1. Aclandias cc. Peduncles many-fid., from a large spathe: pseudobulbs long........ 2. bicolor
BB. Lateral lobes of lip large.
c. Corners recurved, exposing column. 3. dolosa cc. Corners not recurved, concealing column. D. Pseudobulbs 1-lvd. e. Plants large: pseudobulbs fusiform or clavate: flowers large. F. Sepals and petals yellow; lip ample, rich purple, beautifully veined and reticulated with gold................ 4. Dowiana
FF. Sepals and petals not yellow. G. Petals about twice as broad as the sepals which are markedly undulate. H. Tube narrowly cylindric, the limb not striped..... 5. Lawrenceana
HH. Tube cylindric-funnelform, the limb bordered with white and streaked with darker color, with a median yellow line..... 6. maxima