Growing Cattleyas with Odonts

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Nov 5, 2023
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As a kid when I first got into Orchids, everything I read said that Cattleyas were hot growing plants that needed full sun. As I mostly grow Odonts I didn't think that Cattleyas could grow with them, however, as I liked them so much I still bought a few and they grow really, really well, even in a heavily shaded greenhouse that can go down to 8C in the winter (but average lows are around 10C). So maybe Cattleyas have a larger growing range than thought? I have no stunting, or plants that are just surviving, all my Cattleyas are large multigrowth plants that flower every year.


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My answer depends entirely on your definition of "hot".
In my experience, Most Cattleyas that I have ever grown did not like temperatures steadily over 85 degrees. I grew them like that for 38 years on Long Island NY in a greenhouse. Then in 2009, those plants moved with me to Florida. Now that is Hot with a Capital "H"!!! They did not like the intense over head sunshine. They did not like the months of June, July, August and September when for those 120 days over 4 months, the temperatures were over 90 easily and in the mid 70's to 80 degrees at night! Now that is my definition of hot. Some how i doubt whether or not Odonoglossums, now Oncidiums, would like those temperatures at all.
I figured that my Cattleyas much preferred the Long Island temperature range of 72 to 85 degrees for a high depending upon season and from 53 to 68 degrees at night depending upon season. Neither of those ranges are hot. Maybe intermediate to warm?
Remember, just because they grow and bloom does not mean that they are happy. How many flowers, how big are the flowers? That is a better gauge in my mind.
With the exception of C. walkeriana and aclandiae, which really love being outside in our hot Baltimore summer, I don’t bring out any of my other cattleyas during summer anymore. They grow like crazy but not a single growth will produce flowers.

Funny, when I started growing orchids in the mid seventies I learnt that Cattleyas like the same temperatures as humans and the night temperatures could drop to that of a British bedroom.
If a mature Cattleya that has bloomed before, doesn’t bloom again, the number one reason is not enough sunlight.
Coming in a distant second is too much nitrogen. Keeping in mind, that is just what has worked for me in the past.