Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
Plant Common Name
Corsage Orchid, Crimson Lip Cattleya, Ruby-lipped Cattleya
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
"Ruby" spotted lips appear on the fall and winter-occurring lavender-fuchsia blossoms of the ornate crimson-lipped cattleya. An epiphytic (growing on another plant), frost-tender perennial orchid from Brazil and Venezuela's highland forests, it will form a loose, airy cluster on a tree branch, wood basket or heavy pot in frost-free gardens.
Only one oblong, stiff, leathery green leaf grows from each club-like pseudobulb that is covered in green sheaths. A new pseudobulb appears in late spring from the base of the older, mature pseudobulb. In the short but warming days of late fall into early winter, a mature pseudobulb will carry two to five flowers on fleshy stalks. Each large blossom is variably lavender-fuchsia and the central lip has a blotch of magenta-violet and a yellowed throat.
Grow Cattleya labiata in dappled partial sun to very bright partial shade. No soil can be used; rather the plant can 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. Allow the plant to be slightly drier and receive more direct sunlight in autumn and winter. Leaves can scorch in hot afternoon sun in summertime, especially with low ambient humidity. Leaves also become overly yellow-green when light is too intense. Lack of sunlight also can prevent flowering.
This is a specimen plant for a warm sunroom or greenhouse in cold climates. In tropical areas, use it as a clumping accent on a tropical palm trunk or in a basket for the patio. Use the cut flowers for leis, hair decals, table garnishes or floral arrangements. Consider repotting this orchid only if it is greatly rootbound, and then only after it finishes flowering and new roots are beginning to elongate.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 5
USDA Hardiness Zone
10 - 13
H1, H2, 23, 24
Partial Sun, Partial Shade
14"-18" / 35.6cm - 45.7cm
12"-20" / 30.5cm - 50.8cm
Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter
Container, Cutflower, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Tropical