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By Robert Roy
How popular is the cattleya orchid plants? Are they grown by hobbyists or not? How big is the flower? Why are they not popular?
Before we get into the answers for these and other questions let’s look at a bit of history of the cattleya. It is fascinating! Cattleya orchids have been named since the early 19th century.
William Cattley was credited with starting some hybrids from orchids sent to him as packing. The earliest named cattleya was the Cattleya labiata. Since then there has been a mystique about them. From the hobbyist perspective they are probably the most popular plant
. The cattleya orchid plants have one of the largest flowers, 5 inches across. They are harder to grow as most of them flower only once per year. And the flowers last only about 2 – 3 weeks.
Although the hobbyists are the ones particularly taken with cattleya plants now. They are becoming popular with non-hobbyist because of the size of the flower. These large flowers are exquisite and unique for corsages.
For the cattleya orchid plants to become a main-stay of orchids several things are happening today. The new hybrids are lasting longer and they are blooming more than once per year.
It has been shown that the orchids now can be bred for more frequent blooming. This is important for the non-hobbyist who doesn’t want the plant to be just leaves for 49 weeks a year.
Cattleya orchids also will show the flower for more than 2-3 weeks and some of the hybrids have been shown to have flowers for up to 5 -6 weeks.
Blooming more than once per year is important and actually has sponned another sub-industry. Some of the nurseries across the country will “board” your cattleya between blooming seasons.
Currently the orchid registry in England has not added many hybrids. Over the last 100+ years the numbers have been essentially stagnant. This means these orchid plants have been primarily in the hands of hobbyists and not the general public.
Cattleya must be easier for folks to grow because most of us do not enjoy the benefits of a greenhouse.
Indeed, cattleya orchid plants growers have been making some good progress in the frequency of cattleya blooming frequency and increasing the length of time that the flowers stay in bloom. I feel it will be over the next 2 – 5 years you will see the popularity of these beautiful plants increase.
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