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Cattleya speciosissima (luddemanniana) "Stanleyi" FCC/RHS

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 Propagation Method 



White with yellow throat & purple lip

Created by (if applicable)

Originally wild collected

Bloom Size:




Bloom Season:






Cattleya speciosissima (luddemanniana) "Stanleyi" FCC/RHS. This the most famous of the semi alba varieties. 

The species lueddemanniana was first described by H. G. Reichenbach in 1854 in his book Xena Orchidacea [see Pic]. 

However, in 1868 Hugh Low & Company of England imported a large number of these orchids thinking it was a new species and of course they gave it the new name cattleya "speciosissima". This name stuck for the next hundred years and still confusing many today! 

The original plant material was jungle collected in Venezuela over 100 years ago. The sun loving cattleya lueddemanniana grow on the north slopes of the Cordillera de la Costa mountain range from sea level to around 1500 feet.

The English who wild collected Stanleyi took it straight to judging and it won a First Class Certificate (FCC) on September 24, 1901 (see the photo).

Numerous individual mericlones marketed under the name Cattleya Stanley/Stanley M exhibit variations from the original. Interestingly, the flowers of these Mericlones bear a striking resemblance to Cerro Verde. "Stanleyi" is in fact very different from Cerro Verde's highly cloned strain which has light red/purple on the petal ends/tips. Another very distinctive difference of Stanleyi is a clear lip. (Clear white edge)

Despite the widespread distribution of mericlone Stanleyi, encountering the original is very rare. Moreover, the lack of publicly available documentation contributes to a misconception, leading many to believe that the original Stanleyi and Cerro Verde are remarkably similar in appearance.  It is now believed Cerro Verde is actually a hybrid of warscewiczii x lueddemanniana.

Luddemanniana is a sun loving species and does well in warmer climates. You can expect multiple blooms (2 normally) on one stalk. Amazing smell. Perhaps one of the best smelling species.  The fragrance is reminiscent of citrus & clove.

This is NOT a mericlone, but an original division. If you are new to orchids that basically means that pieces of the original plant have been passed down for over 123 years! This is your chance to own a piece of history. 

This is an original division from Joe Grezaffi's collection.

Mature front division. 3 or more pseudobulbs

Blooming Size Plant: This does not mean you will receive a plant in bud or bloom.

Remember if you buy bare root: you need to trim away dead roots, do not over water when you first plant, make sure the orchid does NOT move in the pot at all so they get established.  Plants may have leaf bruises or blemishes. This is part of buying a plant at this stage when it is so inexpensive. 

Caring for Cattleyas

Light reigns supreme in the cultivation and blooming of cattleyas, whether they're housed in a greenhouse or nurtured indoors. These plants thrive under bright light conditions, but direct sunlight during midday should be avoided. Optimal light sources include east-facing windows or shaded south or west-facing windows indoors. In a greenhouse setting, providing 50 to 70 percent full sun (equivalent to 3,000 to 5,000 foot-candles) is ideal. Healthy cattleyas boast medium green leaves and erect pseudobulbs, often requiring no additional support.

Temperature control is crucial, with nighttime temperatures ranging from 55 to 60°F and daytime temperatures between 70 and 85°F. Seedlings may require slightly higher nighttime temperatures, typically five to 10 degrees above the standard range. Maintaining a 15- to 20-degree temperature differential between day and night, particularly for mature plants, is recommended. While cattleyas can tolerate higher daytime temperatures up to 95°F, increased humidity, adequate air circulation, and shading become essential under such conditions.

Watering should be approached in two ways: through direct pot watering and atmospheric humidity. Various factors, including pot size, temperature, and light exposure, influence watering frequency. Mature cattleyas benefit from drying out completely between watering sessions, whereas seedlings necessitate more consistent moisture levels. Assessing the pot's weight can indicate watering needs, with a lighter pot signaling dryness and a heavier one indicating saturation. When in doubt, it's advisable to wait before watering again. Cold water below 50°F can harm plants, as can water softened by salt additives.

Maintaining humidity levels between 50 and 80 percent is vital for cattleyas. Indoors, this can be achieved by placing plants on trays filled with gravel and partially submerged in water to prevent direct contact. Adequate air circulation is crucial to prevent fungal or bacterial diseases, particularly in high-humidity or cooler environments. In a greenhouse, humidity levels can be augmented using a humidifier, while evaporative cooling simultaneously increases humidity and cools the air.

Fertilization should occur on a regular basis, employing a high-nitrogen formulation (such as 30-10-10) in fir bark or a balanced fertilizer. During active growth periods, fertilize plants at least every two weeks; during dormant phases, fertilize monthly. Alternatively, fertilizer can be applied at a quarter of the recommended dilution with each watering session. Monthly flushing with clear water helps prevent fertilizer salt buildup.

Repotting becomes necessary when plant rhizomes extend beyond the pot edges or when the potting medium deteriorates, typically every two to three years. Repot just before new roots emerge from the rhizome, after flowering, or in spring. Mature cattleyas are typically potted in coarser material compared to seedlings. Division should occur only when a plant has at least six mature pseudobulbs, with three to five pseudobulbs per division. Choose a pot that accommodates approximately two years of growth, placing firm live roots against one side and filling with medium. Maintain humidity and shade until new root growth is observed.

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