Catasetum Culture

LIGHT: Place Catasetums in a bright, well ventilated spot at least partially sunny. In nature, they grow well in almost full sun, but they prefer morning sun to afternoon sun because, although they like the light, they do not appreciate the very hot conditions of a Florida summer. They must have perfectly drained pots filled with well draining medium. They must never be left with wet feet. These plants belong to a group in which male and female flowers normally occur on separate plants, and male inflorescences are more common than female ones.

TEMPERATURE: These plants are native to the American tropics and like warm conditions, but they prefer temperatures of less than 90 degrees. They are sensitive to cold below 50 degrees and should not be subjected to lower temperatures.

WATER: Catasetums bear large, fleshy pseudobulbs, and while actively growing, the plants benefit from abundant moisture, therefore, they should be well watered at this time. When the bulbs are mature, water should be withheld for a week or more, so that the plant may rest. When the new shoots are expanding, care should be taken so that water does not ledge inside them – thus rotting is prevented.

FERTILIZATION: Plant food – usually Peters 20-20-20 – should be applied regularly – preferably at ¼ strength once a week. This gives the plants 4 small meals a month – and the roots benefit from this treatment. Marked increases in growth and development can be expected from this treatment since the medium provides support but no food for the plant.

POTTING: These plants must never be kept in overly large containers, since they prefer good root conditions. Repotting should be done whenever they appear to be overcrowded. These plants do well hung from tree branches or rods, since in many cases the blossoms are pendant beneath the plant and require room there. The blossoms are also seen better from such a location.