Common Name: Gaskell's Cattleya
Habitat: Columbia, Venezuela. Cattleya gaskelliana is found growing on trees or rocks between 2,300 to 3,300 feet (750 and 1000 meters) in elevation in the Eastern Coastal Mountain Range, the Cordillera de la Costa in Columbia. It has been found in three Venezuelan provinces, northeastern Anzuategui, southern Sucre, and northern Monagas. Cattleya gaskelliana grows in tropical, humid cloud forests and somewhat drier areas where it grows on rocks in nearly full sun.
Plant Size: Medium. Unifoliate. The new growths of Cattleya gaskelliana grow and mature rapidly and immediately form a sheath and buds. The pseudobulbs are coved in gray sheaths. There is one leaf on top of the pseudobulb.
Flower Size: 5 to 7 inches
Flower Description: Sweetly fragrant. The flower of Cattleya gaskelliana is large and frilly with pale purple underlain with white. There is an amethyst purple patch on the front lobe of the lip and an orange-yellow throat. Most Cattleya gaskelliana are light lavender in color with a slightly darker lip with a purple blotch or splash in the center. There are a few dark forms available. The flower spike is 3 3/4 inches long and bears 3-5 flowers that last about 3 weeks.
Bloom Season: Late Spring to Early Summer
Growing Temperature: Intermediate to Warm. Day temperatures of 80 F to 85 F with night temperature of 58 F to 60 F are adequate.
Additional Information: Cattleya gaskelliana is easy to grow, very free flowering and blooms when all other Cattleya species are out of bloom (usually mid-May).
In the United States, growth begins in early February and is completed by mid-May. Water sparingly till new growth reaches 3 inches in height and then water and fertilize heavily. Sometimes a new growth will form in the summer. Repot only when new roots begin to grow from the newest lead. Reduce watering during the winter months when the plant is essentially dormant. There are dark purple clones of Cattleya gaskelliana along with some of the nicest white (alba) and semi-alba flowers of all Cattleya orchids. The white forms, in particular, have been used extensively in breeding. There are also excellent blue coerulea clones to be found.
Synonyms: Cattleya labiata var. gaskelliana