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CATTLEYA harrisoniana

Image of Cattleya harrisoniana

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

CATTLEYA harrisoniana

Plant Common Name

Cattleya, Corsage Orchid, Harrison's Corsage Orchid

General Description

Lovely with its rounded starry violet-lavender flowers that appear in summer, Cattleya harrisoniana is a vigorous orchid from the hot Brazilian rainforests northeast of Rio de Janeiro. An epiphytic tender perennial, Harrison's corsage orchid forms a lush, dense cluster that can be cultivated along a tree branch, in a wood/wire basket or weighted pot in frost-free gardens or greenhouses. Deforestation in its native lands have caused natural population to dwindle making it difficult to locate wild populations. The natural variant alba has nearly white blossoms that may be lightly speckled with color.

Two to three oblong, stiff, leathery green leaves grow from the tip of each slender pseudobulb. In early to late summer, the plant flowers. Each small, fragrant blossom is a violet-tinted lavender with a pale pink to fully white lip with fleshy orange-yellow keels.

Grow Cattleya harrisoniana in nearly full sun to very bright partial shade. Mount it on a tree branch, palm trunk, or nestle it in a wire or wooden slatted basket or weighted pot in a warm, frost-free location. It is especially tolerant of oppressively hot, humid tropical climates. This true epiphyte must be planted in coarse bark or charcoal media that allows water to freely drain. High humidity, excellent air circulation, and frequent rainfall from spring through fall is ideal. Keep it slightly drier and provide more sunlight in winter. Too much or too little sunlight can be a problem; Leaves may scorch or may turn yellow-green in too much sun and too little light can prevent flowering.

Use the cut flowers for corsages or floral arrangements. Consider repotting this orchid only if it becomes greatly rootbound and then only after it finishes flowering.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    12 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H2

  • Plant Type

    Epiphyte

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    14"-18" / 35.6cm - 45.7cm

  • Width

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Lavender, Violet

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Light Green, 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

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No