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CATTLEYA gaskelliana

Image of Cattleya gaskelliana

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

CATTLEYA gaskelliana

Plant Common Name

Cattleya, Corsage Orchid, Gaskell's Corsage Orchid

General Description

Perhaps the source of the color "orchid", Cattleya gaskelliana is admired for its large, fragrant, ruffled orchid-colored flowers that appear in late spring. An epiphytic (growing on another plant) or lithophytic (growing on rocks) tender perennial orchid from eastern Venezuela's montane forests, Gaskell's corsage orchid forms a lush, sprawling cluster that can be cultivated on a tree branch, rock crevice, wood/wire basket or pot in frost-free garden spaces. Extensive over-collection in the 20th century has caused this orchid to be a rarity in its native habitat. This species is a parent to most fuchsia-violet corsage orchid hybrids.

Each elongated pseudobulb holds a stiff, leathery green leaf. New growth begins to emerge in late winter, and by the last weeks of spring, flower stems are produced from the maturing new growth. Each extra large blossom is fragrant and ruffled. The blooms are delicate orchid with yellow throats and an obvious darker orchid splotch on the basal petal. Flower color can be lighter or darker, but all variants have a yellow throat and vibrant orchid basal petal.

Grow Gaskell's corsage orchid in partial sun mounted upon a tree branch, in a wire or wooden slatted basket, or weighted pot. This true epiphyte should be planted in coarse bark or charcoal media that allows water to freely drain and becomes dry between waterings. High humidity, excellent air circulation, and regular rainfall from spring through fall is ideal. Allow it to become drier and receive more light from autumn to early spring. Increase watering only once new growth has progressed in mid-spring. Maintaining the right amount of sunlight is key; leaves can scorch in hot afternoon sun, especially with low ambient humidity, or turn yellow-green. In turn, too little sunlight will prevent flowering. In order to keep plants blooming for longer, relocate plants to a slightly cooler spot with less direct afternoon light once they begin flowering.

Use the cut flowers for corsages or floral arrangements. Consider repotting this orchid only if it is greatly rootbound and then only when not in flower and new roots have just begun to elongate.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    12 - 14

  • Plant Type

    Epiphyte

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    12"-16" / 30.5cm - 40.6cm

  • Width

    18"-24" / 45.7cm - 61.0cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Magenta, Lavender, Violet

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    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

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No