Plant Common Name
Cattleya, Corsage Orchid, Gaskell's Corsage Orchid
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.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 9
USDA Hardiness Zone
12 - 14
Partial Sun, Partial Shade
12"-16" / 30.5cm - 40.6cm
18"-24" / 45.7cm - 61.0cm
Late Spring, Early Summer
Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical
Sharp or Has Thorns