1 A huge box arrived from Kalapana Tropicals Inc. filled with 20 'Martha Stewart' Cattleya orchids. The Cattleya is a genus with more than 100-species and numerous hybrids, which range in bloom size, color, and smell. http://www.kalapanatropicals.com/index.php
2 A couple of years ago, the nursery's owners, orchid horticulturists, John and Mindi Clark, asked me to approve an orchid that would be named after me - I was flattered.
3 Ryan carefully unwrapped each plant. John and Mindi said this year was their first big crop of 'Martha Stewart' orchids - how exciting.
4 When they arrived, the buds were just about to bloom. Each one was carefully wrapped to protect it during its journey to New York.
5 Cattleya orchids are among the most popular. They have often been called "corsage orchids" or "Queen of orchids" because of their big, showy flowers.
6 Cattleyas generally bloom once a year and the blooms can last anywhere from one to three weeks. These should all be in full bloom for Mother's Day.
7 They all look so healthy and vibrant - and filled with buds. Most orchid genera are epiphytic, meaning they grow on trees and rocks rather than in soil. Orchid roots need to breathe and therefore cannot live buried in dirt.
8 Cattleya orchids can grow very well in a variety of potting media including chopped bark, tree fern fiber, coconut husk chips, gravel or lava rock, and even sphagnum moss.
9 Kalapana recommends Nutricote, a urea-free lower nitrogen formulation, which uniformly releases fertilizer over time, based on temperature and moisture exposure. Type 360 will release 80-percent of its nitrogen evenly over a 360-day period at 77-degrees Fahrenheit.
10 Cattleyas do best when humidity ranges from 40-percent to 70-percent, and should be watered only after the potting medium has become “dry.”
11 The roots of a Cattleya orchid are largely exposed and subject to periodic drying. In the tropics, much of their moisture requirement is met by the frequent rains.
12 The spongy, velamen layer of the roots absorbs moisture and nutrients from the debris that collects around the plants.
13 The Cattleya is a sympodial orchid, which means it grows pseudobulbs along a central horizontal rhizome. These pseudobulbs, which swell and hold nutrients for the plants during the dry season, joins at the base of the leaves.
14 Cattleyas grow and flower best with strong, dappled sunlight. In the home, they should be kept in an east or west facing windows.
15 Rule of thumb - Cattleyas receiving a proper balance of light, humidity and temperature will have light yellow-green leaves. Too little light would make the leaves much darker.
16 This bud will soon emerge with bright lavender and pink flowers.
17 Here's another bud just waiting to open.
18 And here is one that has just started to bloom.
19 Kalapana Tropicals also sent me a nice selection of other pretty orchid plants.
20 This is a bloom on an orchid hybrid called Maclellanara Yellow star 'Okika'
21 Dendrobium 'Little Atro' grows to 20-inches. The evergreen canes are topped by a single three to five inch long inflorescence, each one producing four to eight flowers.
22 This hybrid is Dendrobium 'Aussie chip' x. Dendronbium atroviolaceum 'Pygmy' x. Dendrobium atroviolacrum 'H&R'.
23 These blooming flowers are from Miltonidium Ron's Rippling Delight. It stands at least 15-inches tall with multiple blooming spikes.
24 Here is the the pseudobulb filled with moisture and rich nutrients.
25 This is ×Wilsonara Calico gem 'Green Valley'.
26 These 'Martha Stewart' orchids will be grouped together and planted in large vessels. I will show them to you when all the orchids are in full bloom!
27 Ryan potted the orchid plants into three vessels like this one - about six or seven orchids for each pot. The pot should be of sufficient size to allow for two years of growth.
28 The plant should be potted so the bottom of the rhizome is about a half-inch below the pot rim. Ryan used Spanish moss to cover the top of the pot.
29 After a few more days, the blooms opened perfectly.