Laelia (Cattleya) tenebrosa – Orchid Profile
The large flowers, 8 inches or 20 centimeters in width, are produced two to three, rarely four or five, on an inflorescence and are a golden, bronze, copper or brownish color with a spectacular usually dark pink to deep purple lip. The flower colors are extremely variable so it is a good idea to see a flowering plant before purchasing so you are sure to get a good variety. As you can see from the picture these flowers are very open in nature with space between the sepals and petals.
Like L. purpurata, these can be large plants and will not flower well until they have reached a mature size of approximately 5 pseudobulbs. The leaves are large, approximately 12 inches or 30 centimeters long on top of a pseudobulb the same size and a mature plant will take up a large container. They have a rather nice upright growth habit when potted, so the size is fairly easy to accommodate. They take hot to intermediate temperatures but are much less cold tolerant than the other large Laelias.
This orchid likes more water than other Cattleyas and should not be allowed to dry out completely during peak growing times in the spring. After flowering it needs a dryer environment until it starts new growth. It starts its growth period in the fall and then rests for about a month until it flowers in the spring. The flowers are fairly long lasting for the genus and often last two or three weeks especially if you can keep them out of the hottest summer temperatures.
If you have room and are a fan of the large Cattleya-like flowers, this is definitely one of the plants to try growing. There are many different clones and they are so different that you can grow several different ones and enjoy an almost completely different color on each one.
You Should Also Read:
Orchid Profile - Laelia purpurata
Size in Cattleyas
Repotting Your Orchids - Cattleyas
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