What are the Cattleya I can grow in the Amazon

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treefrog

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Location
Matoury - FRENCH GUIANA - FRANCE
Hi everyone, I know some of you have extensive experience growing Cattleya(s). I live in French Guiana (Matoury) and I'm growing my orchids under a shade house. The climate here is pretty much the same all year long except for the precipitations that decreases significantly between August and November. Note that we receive massive amount of rainfall every year (last year was a record with 5818 mm (230 inches)) and that air humidity is always high (70% to 98%). Mean max day temperature is between 28C -> 32C (82F ->89F) and night temperature are stable around 22C (71F).

I know most Cattleya species come from much more temperate climate than what I have here, but yet, even if conditions are not optimal, I wanted your advice on which species or hybrid family could grow (and flower) under my conditions? And also, which group is a big no no!

So far, I know of Cattleya violacea that has similar climatic requirements, and I saw Cattleya rex grow well in the lowland amazon (in Peru) even if it normally comes from elevation of about 800m. Here is are the climatic charts of my climate for easy visualizations.

Cheers,

Math



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Hi. My thoughts went right to violacea, and I see you have that one covered. This article might be helpful in thinking about others:

https://www.orchidculture.com/COD/FREE/Catt_warm_Art.html
Are there local orchid societies you could also ask?
That is a great resource. I have purchased a number of the Baker culture sheets for Cattleya species but this one confirms why I in a northern latitude indoor plant room must stay away from all of these warm growers!
 
Hi. My thoughts went right to violacea, and I see you have that one covered. This article might be helpful in thinking about others:

https://www.orchidculture.com/COD/FREE/Catt_warm_Art.html
Are there local orchid societies you could also ask?
I think you just answered the question completely.

Other than that, I’m thinking of all the grand Vanda species that one could grow under these conditions. V insignis would grow very well for instance.
 
Many thanks for all your inputs!
So the selection would lean toward violacea, lawrenceana, eldorado and wallisii (also lutea). Exept for violacea and lawrenceana, the last 3 species are, I believe, pretty rare in culture no?
Cheers,
Math
 
I think wallisii is a synonym of eldorado. It doesn't seem to be that hard to get these days, the M. Ito clone is regularly offered for sale over here in the EU (though there might be some doubt if that clone is a true species). You could also consider some of the bifoliate species: aclandiae, amethystoglossa, bicolor. I think they are often regarded as warm growing, might be worth a try. Luedemanniana and dowiana are also regarded as warmer growers.
 
I also believe eldorado is a syn for wallisii. So those two are the same. I can not say that I see them for sale often but I am not typically looking for them. Like @terryros I have the opposite issue regarding temperatures. My temperatures are too low for these to thrive for me. The availability of luteo seems to be cyclical. I see it for sale for a few years. Then nothing for a few years. I saw several small plants this spring

The bifoliates Justin mentioned are good options too.
 
Really almost all cattleyas, even those which originate from drier and colder environments, will grow most optimally under these tropical conditions. With my grow tent, in which I haved similated the environment from subtropical <-> center-of-the-Amazon, I find that species such as walkeriana, nobilior, warscewiczii and Mexican laelias will grow faster under the Amazon esq conditions. The main problem you might have with certain species cattleyas will be inducing your speciman size plants to bloom.
 
Really almost all cattleyas, even those which originate from drier and colder environments, will grow most optimally under these tropical conditions. With my grow tent, in which I haved similated the environment from subtropical <-> center-of-the-Amazon, I find that species such as walkeriana, nobilior, warscewiczii and Mexican laelias will grow faster under the Amazon esq conditions. The main problem you might have with certain species cattleyas will be inducing your speciman size plants to bloom.
That is probably the main issue. Most of the large flowered, unifoliate Cattleyas have a winter rest that is cooler, usually dryer, and with lower total daily light. In most of the species, this winter rest is important for either triggering a new growth or inducing a florescence to develop.

Cattleya lueddemanniana best matches the temperatures that Katahdin displayed above. However, it definitely needs a period with very little rain during the winter. In the habitat, average monthly rain for Jan, Feb, and Mar are 20 mm, 10 mm, and 5 mm respectively. This is quite a bit less than the rain shown above for these months.

If the shade house can control the amount of rain hitting at least some of the plants, you might be able to deal with lueddemanniana.
 
Hi Everyone! Many thanks for all your precious contributions to this topic! The diversity of species that I might grow with success (and maybe flower) is larger than I anticipated, and with all the flower variations available nowadays, this give me an interesting variety to choose from. So for a recap, here are the species that are believed to grow in a lowland Amazonian climate:

UNIFOLIATE
Jenmanii
Gaskelliana
Mossiae
Lueddemaniana
Rex
Dowiana
Warscewiczii
lawrenceana
Eldorado (aka wallisii)

BIFOLIATE
Walkeriana
Nobilior
Violacea
Aclandiae
Amethystoglossa
Bicolor

All the best,
Math
 
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