How they were discovered:- William Swainson the english explorer had discovered these beautiful orchids in Pernambuco,Brazil in the year 1815 they shipped these to the Glasgow Botinical garden for identification because of the temp conditions there the true identification of these plants and naming of them were only done in the year 1824.Whats truly amazing is due to a mistake in the documentation of the location of these plants it would take another 70 years fort them to be discovered again !!!! Through discovered in Brazil these plants are originally from Costa Rica.
CATTLEYAS orchids are the most sumptuous and exotic of all the orchids iv ever seen. In nature there are about 50 species each of Cattleya from Central America, growing through the Amazon region to the south of Brazil.Their distinctive flowers and the tendency of these plants to grow in large colonies has meant that they have been vigorously over-collected and the status of many is endangered.What amazes me even more is how these beautiful orchids made the north east of india its home and are growing there literally on every tree!!! I first came across this guy in a trade fare i dint think they would do well in mumbai weather but me being me i just had to buy a few.We took them to the nursery and placed them all on various growing mediums in various different conditions what i saw amazed me.The plants that were planted in soil ,coal,red manure,cocopiet,vermicompost slowly began to wither and i assumed these wouldn't work for mumbai weather.A while later i happen to spot 4-5 of these guys growing beautifully at the farm the workers had left a few of them aside near a some fire wood and these orchids had caught on beautifully!!! i immediately understood these guys were epiphytes (Epiphytes are plants that live on other plants but are traditionally classified as non-parasitic )
A few months later a client met me.,he came to us with a strange request saying that he wanted to have plants in his home but without soil...as he had a terrible allergy to dust and wasn't very fond of insects and all the "eeww" things that came with it.I presented several ideas to him from making insect repellant soil to having a hydrophonic garden but somehow nothing stuck....then while presenting to him i had some what of a eureka moment !!! AN EPIPHYTIC GARDEN i said thinking aloud ....n he kinda got intrigued by the idea so we decided to finally do it....
What transpired then was an epic 2 months of frantic collecting of orchids as many colours i could get my hands on as many different species played with the aromas and in the heart of mumbai we made a completely soilless garden!!!
I must admit though cateleyas were a big part we used plants like stag horn ferns spanish moss vandas(i stole from my wifes grand moms place) during this process i absolutely fell in love with this plant something about the flowers the plant the aroma just got me hooked,iv got more than 12 carities and must have clocked more than a 1000 pics of these guys here are some of the best ones :-
Because Cattleya's grow high in the trees they require strong light with some direct sun. Their foliage should be rigid and medium to light green in color. If the leaves are dark green and floppy, the plant isn't getting enough light. If your plant refuses to bloom, it's probably not getting enough light!
On the other hand, if the leaves are hard and yellowish the plant is probably getting too much sun. In your home, Cattleya's prefer the spot nearest an east or west window. Without additional lighting, north facing windows just won't do. In Northern climates, Cattleya's will thrive outside on the patio during the summer months. When outside, always remember to protect your plants from the hot mid-day sun.