Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
Plant Common Name
Cattleya, Corsage Orchid
Producing abundant lavender to violet-pink, spotted flowers, Cattleya amethystoglossa is a lush epiphytic orchid found along the treetops in Brazilian rainforests. It forms a dense cluster ideal for cultivation in a wooden/wire basket or weighted pot. The rapid deforestation of eastern Brazil has reduced wild populations making it difficult for botanists to find plants in the wild. Several natural varieties exist including alba (white flowered) and coerulea (violet-blue flowered).
Two long, stiff, leathery green leaves grow from the tip of each slender pseudobulb. When temperatures are warm, and conditions drier, the plant creates a dense branched cluster with up to twenty flowers, usually sometime from late fall to spring. Each small, fragrant blossom is lavender-pink with darker spots surrounding a violet-magenta lip, though coloration can be variable. The specialized flowers are pollinated by a specific bee species just the right size to enter a flower, capture its pollen and carry it to other corsage orchids.
Grow Cattleya amethystoglossa in nearly full sun to very bright partial shade. It is a true tropical epiphyte that should be mounted on a tree branch, in a wire or wooden slat basket or heavy clay pot filled with free-draining coarse bark or charcoal media. A warm, humid atmosphere with good air flow, indoors or out, is a must. Allow the orchid to become drier and receive more light in autumn and winter. Leaves can scorch in hot afternoon sun, especially with low ambient humidity. Leaves also become overly yellow-green when light is too intense. Lack of sunlight also can prevent flowering.
Use the cutflowers for corsages, hair decals, table garnishes or floral arrangements. Consider repotting this orchid only when rootbound and then only after it finishes flowering.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 10
USDA Hardiness Zone
11 - 15
Partial Sun, Partial Shade
24"-36" / 61.0cm - 91.4cm
20"-26" / 50.8cm - 66.0cm
Early Spring, Spring, Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter, Indeterminate
South America, Brazil
Spring, Fall, Winter
Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Tropical
Sharp or Has Thorns