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CATTLEYA labiata

Image of Cattleya labiata

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

CATTLEYA labiata

Plant Common Name

Corsage Orchid, Crimson Lip Cattleya, Ruby-lipped Cattleya

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

"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.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Epiphyte

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    14"-18" / 35.6cm - 45.7cm

  • Width

    12"-20" / 30.5cm - 50.8cm

  • Bloom Time

    Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter

Growing Conditions

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Red, Fuchsia, Lavender

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Tropical

  • Self-Sowing

    No