Sunday, 25 January 2009

Cattleya schilleriana

I think I know how it feels to be a father-to-be, waiting eagerly for the first born to arrive. The anticipation can sometimes build up into a frenzy as each day brings you closer to the due date.  That's how I felt while I was waiting for the only bud on my Cattleya schilleriana to flower. It did, and on the eve of the Chinese New Year. (hopefully, this brings me good luck)

You would probably have be more understanding had I told you that this Cattleya has never once flowered, other than the time I bought it from Woon Leng more than a year ago. Then again, maybe it is just me, as unlike other orchid enthusiasts, I very seldom bother to spray my orchids with fertiliser. Blame it on a combination of being lazy and too much hassle. 

Still, the inaction doesn't stop some of my other orchids like the effervescent Cattleya burana beauty and the sweet smelling Vanda mini palmer from blooming fairly regularly. 

The Cattleya schilleriana is a small epiphyte which is endemic to Brazil. It reportedly grows on mossy rocks, hardwood forests and cliff faces in close proximity to surface water which helps maintain high levels of humidity. The leaves of Cattleya schilleriana are spotted with red. The plants range from 4 to 10 inches in height and are similar in appearance to Cattleya aclandiae. The flowers are of heavy substance and the petals and sepals are quite ruffled. It is considered fairly rare to have more than 2 flowers per stem although 5 flowers have been reported before. The flower color is quite variable with some plants producing olive-green flowers tinted with brown and spotted with brownish-red spots while others are redish-brown with almost solid mahogony spots. The lip has a pale yellow base color which shows off the purple veining.
Being epiphytic in nature, the Cattleya schilleriana is ideal on slabs, rafts, or baskets for best growth. The plant also needs bright light and good air circulation. 

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