Catsetum orchids are very extraordinary and most unusual orchids. They have dimorphic flowers; male and female flowers that are very different in color and shape. The male flowers are more ostentatious and glitzy than the female flowers with antenna-like cap attached to the column that ejects pollen once it is bumped by an insect. Male flowers bloom at a lower light than what is needed for female flowers.
These most unusual orchids are natives of Peru, Brazil, Mexico and tropical America and have over a hundred species. It has an incredible variety of mesmerizing and beautiful large waxy flowers in different colors and shapes that provide so much pleasure to orchid fanatics.
Photo by amortize
Catasetum orchids are deciduous orchids with fat fleshy psuedobulbs that need a clear winter dry rest. Most Catasetum orchids flower before it goes into a winter dry rest when their leaves fall. It needs very strong light particularly close to the end of the growth period. In the early growth period, the plant will endure less light but as pseudobulbs mature, giving it more light will harden it. Ideal light for a mature Catasetum orchid is around ½ to ¾ full sun.
Humidity, temperature, water and fertilizers are also important factors in the growth and blooming of Catasetum orchids. Considering the natural habitat of these most unusual orchids, they typically would require high temperature of from 80⁰ to 100⁰ F during the day time and a 60⁰ to 65⁰F for nighttime temperature. Humidity should be from 40% to 60% and can be provided by humidity trays placed in a well ventilated area to avoid growth of fungus in the plant. During the growing period, when leaves are forming, the plant needs plenty of water and fertilizer but as the psuedobulbs harden, water can be reduced and stopped totally during the rest period unless the pseudobulbs shrivel extremely.