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CATTLEYA bicolor

Image of Cattleya bicolor

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

CATTLEYA bicolor

Plant Common Name

Cattleya, Corsage Orchid

General Description

Admired for its fragrance and exotic looks, Cattleya bicolor is a handsome corsage orchid with yellowy brown-green and pink flowers. An epiphytic tender perennial orchid from Brazil, it will form a lush, dense cluster upon a tree branch, wood/wire basket or weighted pot in frost-free gardens.

The stiff, leathery green leaves arise from cylindrical pseudobulbs, each with one to two leaves. In the warmth of summer and autumn, the plant will form small clusters of fragrant flowers on stiff fleshy stalks just above the leaves. Each blossom is yellow-green to olive-brown with a pinkish red lip that fades to pale pink. The specialized flower is pollinated by a specific bee.

Grow Cattleya bicolor in partial sun to very bright partial shade mounted upon a tree branch, in a wire or wooden slat basket or heavy clay pot in a warm, frost-free location. No soil can be used; rather the plant must be supported in a coarse bark or charcoal media that allows water to freely drain. High humidity, excellent air circulation and frequent rainfall in the warmth of spring through fall is ideal. Provide slightly drier conditions and higher light in wintertime, but keep it moderate; leaves can scorch in strong hot afternoon sun or become overly yellow-green when light is too intense. Likewise, full shade will prevent flowering.

This is a lovely specimen plant for a warm sunroom or greenhouse. In more tropical area grow it on a palm trunk or in a patio basket. Use the cutflowers for leis, hair decals or floral arrangements. Consider repotting this orchid only if it is greatly rootbound and then only after it finishes flowering.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H2

  • Plant Type

    Epiphyte

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    20"-30" / 50.8cm - 76.2cm

  • Width

    15"-20" / 38.1cm - 50.8cm

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow Green, Light Pink, Rose, Olive, Brown

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Light Green, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No