It is a genus that includes about 90-100 species of orchids from Central and South America, mostly epiphytic and deciduous. Catasetums have the particularity of having dimorphic flowers, i.e. male and female flowers have different shapes and grow on separate plants.
The pseudobulbs are thick and fleshy, producing 8-10 elongated leaves, deeply marked by thin veins, which fall in winter; in spring or autumn, depending on the species, from the base of the pseudobulbs come out long stems where numerous flowers bloom: the masculine flowers are very large and bloom on erect stems; they can throw the pollen at about one metre of distance and are very perfumed; the feminine flowers are helmet-shaped and less showy than the masculine ones, they bloom on hanging stems.
The plants can reach a size of more than 40-50 cm in one year of growth; the feminine flowers are usually green, the masculine flowers are white, pink or violet, but there are numerous hybrids of various colours.
These orchids love very bright places, even if exposed for some hours to direct sunlight, particularly in the afternoon or early morning hours to avoid that too high temperatures can cause burns on the leaves; they need a well ventilated and warm environment, as they cannot stand temperatures below 10-15°C. In winter, after the flowering, they lose the leaves, and the pseudobulbs are to be kept in a temperate, dry and not very luminous place.
Some species of orchids have very special flowers, with a curved labellum, closed to form a kind of shoe; orchids with cup-shaped lips belong to three main genus of orchids. The genus cattleya orchids counts about fifty species of epiphytes and lithophytes, native to South America; they are equipped with fleshy pseudobulbs, which may have dimensions close to the 5-7 cm, with a …
It is a genus that includes many epiphytic orchids, originating in the wetlands and mountains of South America, from Mexico to Peru. They do not have pseudubulbs and the leaves are long and narrow, they are not… The genus Laelia includes about 50-60 species of orchids, mainly epiphytic, native to Central America, very similar to the cattleya. These varieties form dense tufts of pseudobulbs, which are often found in the…
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At the beginning of spring and until the flowering period, water abundantly and regularly, avoiding however to leave the soil too much soaked and to water in the evening hours; after the flowering period, decrease the waterings, until they are completely suspended when the pseudobubbles lose the leaves.
Watering will recover as soon as the presence of new shoots is noticed; at times it may be necessary to vaporize the pseudobulbs in winter, in order to avoid that they dry up too much. During the vegetative period, provide some specific fertilizer for orchids every 8-10 days, dissolved in the water of the watering.
During the hot season, proceed with the nebulization of non calcareous water on the leaves to maintain a good degree of humidity.
Use a compound for epiphytic plants, formed by sphagnum, pieces of bark and other loose materials, with an excellent drainage; in order to get abundant blooms, it is better to repot the plant every 2-3 years, leaving in each container only one pseudobulb. The catasetums are very suitable for compositions on big bark “rafts”.
It happens by division of the heads of pseudobulbs, in spring, before the vegetative restart. When repotting the catasetums, it is good to have the care to keep the pseudobulbs with the upper part outside the cultivation compost, the last one is then to be pressed little, in order to avoid ruining the roots.
Catasetum: Pests and diseases
These plants may be attacked by cochineals, which nest under the leaves and on the roots; too much water may favour the onset of radical rottenness, especially during the resting period.
To remove the cochineals you can intervene manually using a cloth with alcohol.