Cattleyas are epiphytes so are usually grown in chopped fir bark. Plants grown in pots smaller than 3 inches are potted in fine bark, that is 1/4 to 1/8 inch in diameter. Plants in 4 inch pots or larger are potted in medium bark, that is 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter. Do not expose cattleya to direct summer sun. Cattleya gives clues as to whether the light exposure is adequate. Dark green, lush, or soft new growths indicate the plant isn't getting enough light. Yellow leaves are an indication of too much light. The leaves should be medium green and leathery, rather than soft. Drench the pot with water when the potting medium is dry. Potting in fir bark makes fertilizing an important cultural practice. Several types of fertilizer may be used and many orchid growers offer specially formulated orchid fertilizer. Cattleya needs fresh air. Do not subject the plant to stuffy, stagnant air to maintain high humidity. Plants receiving proper care do not require high humidity unless high temperatures are maintained. Ideal temperatures are 65 to 70 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. Avoid sudden temperature changes.
Repot when the new growths extend beyond the edge of the pot or when the potting media has decomposed. Repot after the rest period, when new growths appear. Prune off decayed roots before placing the plant in the new pot.
Division is the primary propagation method. Each division should have 4 pseudobulbs or mature leaves. Cut through the rhizome with sharp pruners or a sharp knife. The new pot should be large enough to allow for 2 or 3 new growths. Once the plant is in place, add the bark and firm it down. Reduce the light exposure and watering until the plant is established.