Plant Family Guides: Cattleya - Orchids Plant-Family Guides
Cattleya Orchids are among the most popular and easy-to-grow orchids. Epiphytes (growing on trees) or lithophytes (growing on rocks), they include about 50 species and numerous hybrids in a variety of colors. Native to Central and South America, they are divided into two groups, the unifoliates, which have one leaf and large flowers, and the bifoliates, which have two leaves per stem and smaller flowers. Both types are very fragrant with showy flowers appearing on naked stems and lasting 4-8 weeks.
Aside from their beauty, some orchids exude a wonderful fragrance. Their scent can leave an impression greater than the orchid itself. Most orchids smell best in the morning, their fragrance fading in the afternoon when the temperature increases. Other orchids are fragrant in the evening.
Despite the myth that orchids are fussy and difficult to grow, many orchids are not as delicate as most people think. They can adapt to the temperatures and light conditions found on the average home windowsill and be rewarding indoor plants. Many orchids are winter bloomers, which makes them even more desirable as houseplants.
Despite their reputation for being difficult, many orchids can be easily grown as houseplants. Most have been bred to be compact and easy to grow and flower in windowsillls and under artificial light. Without requiring much care, they can bloom every year, or even several times per year.
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