It is a genus that includes about 90-100 species of orchids originating in Central and South America, in most cases epiphytic and deciduous. The catasetum have the particularity of having dimorphic flowers, that is the male flowers and the feminine flowers have different shapes and grow on separate plants. Pseudobulbs are thick and fleshy, producing 8-10 elongated leaves, deeply marked by thin veins, which fall in winter; in spring or autumn, depending on the species, from the base of the pseudobulbs sprout of long stems where numerous flowers bloom: the male flowers are very large and bloom on erect stems; they can launch the pollen at a distance of about one meter and are very fragrant; the female flowers are helmet-shaped and less showy than the male ones, they bloom on pendulous stems. The plants can reach sizes over 40-50 cm in a year of growth; the female flowers are generally green, the male flowers are white, pink or violet, but there are numerous hybrids of various colors.
At the beginning of spring and until flowering, water abundantly and regularly, avoiding however to leave the soil too wet and water in the evening hours; after flowering, reduce watering until it is completely suspended when the pseudobubles lose their leaves.Watering will resume as soon as the presence of new shoots is noticed; sometimes it may be necessary to vaporize the pseudobulbs in winter, to prevent them from drying out excessively. During the vegetative period, provide specific fertilizer for orchids every 8-10 days, dissolved in the water used for watering.During the hot season, proceed with the misting of non-calcareous water on the leaves to maintain a good degree of humidity.Ground
Use a compound for epiphytic plants, consisting of sphagnum, pieces of bark and other encouraging materials, with excellent drainage; to obtain abundant blooms it is good to repot the plant every 2-3 years, leaving in each container only one pseudobulb. The catasetum are very suitable for compositions on large bark "rafts".
It occurs by division of the tufts of pseudobulbs, in spring, before the vegetative restart. When repotting the catasetum it is good to have the foresight to keep the pseudobulbs with the upper part outside the cultivation compost, the latter then must be pressed little, to avoid ruining the roots.
Catasetum: Pests and diseases
It may happen that these plants are attacked by scale insects, which nest both under the leaves and on the roots; excess water can promote the onset of root rot, especially during the rest period.
To eliminate scale insulators, it is possible to intervene manually using a cloth with alcohol.