Common Name: Bowring's Cattleya
Habitat: Belize, Guatemala. Cattleya bowringiana prefers to grow on exposed rocks near free-flowing streams. They can be found near cliffs between 200 and 900 meters. Atmospheric humidity is high at all times. It may grow as a lithophyte in rocky ravines, with the plants splayed out on rocks with little shade. Interestingly, Cattleya bowringiana has occasionally been found growing as a terrestrial on quartz sand along rapidly flowing streams in addition to its more traditional habitat of large tropical trees.
Plant Size: Medium to Large. Cattleya bowringiana has bold, club-shaped pseudobulbs, that can reach 10 to 15 inches in height, and are topped with two (sometimes three) leaves. The leaves are thick and leathery. Well-grown plants can reach 20 to 30 inches and produce up to 25 flowers per flower spike.
Flower Size: 3 inches (7.5 cm). The flower spike emerges from short-lived spates and grows to 10 inches (25 cm) before the flowers open. Flowers grow in clusters from a few (5 to 10) to a maximum of 15 to 25.
Flower Description: Flowers of Cattleya bowringiana occur in clusters and are very showy. Color is typically medium purple with a darker lip and a lighter throat. They have been described as a bouquet of flowers on a single plant. Flowers last up to 3 1/2 weeks.
Bloom Season: Fall, Winter
Growing Temperature: Cool to Warm. Cattleya bowringiana is easy to grow. As one reviewer put it, There is no special treatment for these plants; they just grow. The plant sends out new growths in late May or June that will mature by late summer and will flower without a rest period in late September and October (in the United States). Provide lots of water when actively growing.
Additional Information: Provide bright light and humidity with good air circulation. Provide a short rest by reducing water and fertilizer after blooming is finished. There is a coerulea (blue) form of this species available (Cattleya bowringiana var. coerulea). There are no true alba or semi-alba forms.
This species is named after an English orchid grower who lived in the late 1800s.
Synonyms: Cattleya autumnalis, Cattleya skinneri var. bowringiana, Guarianthe bowringiana