Cattleya intermedia var. orlataAllow me to present this years edition of Cattleya intermedia var. orlata, one of my absolute favorites from the Cattleya genus. I jokingly call her the queen of my collection, as she definitely commands respect with her timeless beauty. A faithful bloomer every spring, although this year she is almost a month early early as she usually blooms in May.

Cattleya intermedia var. orlataCattleya intermedia var. orlataThe species originates from Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, but I have heard that the orlata is more common to southern Brazil. C. intermedia has very nice almost white flowers, but the orlata variety has a slight lavender/pink hue with a darker purple lip that extends a bit up the edges of the side lobes. The flowers are fairly large, about 13 cm across, and mine usually sets two flowers per inflorescence making for a truly stunning display. I love watching the buds open up too, they look almost unreal with the glimmering droplets of fructose hanging off the buds and petals, a sign of a healthy happy plant. (The larger photo best represents the true color.)

I think it is a Cattleya that is very easy both to grow and flower as long as you can provide adequate light. It can handle a wide range of temperatures and it grows very fast. I grow mine intermediate temperatures and bright, about 20 cm distance from the light. Oh, worth noting is that many forms of C. intermedia is fragrant, but the orlata variety is not.