Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
Plant Common Name
Cattleya, Corsage Orchid, Harrison's Corsage Orchid
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.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 10
USDA Hardiness Zone
12 - 15
Partial Sun, Partial Shade
14"-18" / 35.6cm - 45.7cm
12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm
Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall
Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Tropical
Sharp or Has Thorns