Last updated on May 20th, 2023 at 09:21 pm

Cattleya is a genus of orchid flowers native to Central and South America, belonging to the Orchidaceae family. With more than 53 species, Cattleya flowers are known for their distinct, colorful, exotic appearance. Bright, vibrant colors, petals with sculpted or frilly edges, and an enormous differently-colored lip or labellum characterize these large, rich, velvety flowers. These are the distinguishing features of the Cattleya orchid flower.

Cattleyas are extremely diverse in terms of shape, size, and color. Smaller flowers tend to have more blooms per stem than larger cattleya orchid flowers. The stems grow to a height of about 2-6 inches. Flowers can measure anywhere between 10-20 centimeters in diameter. When pollinated, they bear fruit or seed capsules with tiny seeds. These orchids need a large amount of natural sunlight and moisture to thrive. 

The flowers come in various shades and colors, such as white, ivory, pink, red, yellow, purple, lavender, orange, and green. Some flowers may have a mild scent, while others are beautifully fragrant. The Cattleya is nicknamed the “Queen of the Orchids.”

Cattleya triangle, also known as the May Flower Orchid or the Christmas Orchid, has been the national flower of Colombia for more than 80 years. Endemic to Colombia, this species was selected to be the country’s national flower because of its distinct colors of blue, yellow, and red. These colors represent the colors of Colombia’s national flag. 

What does the Cattleya Orchid flower symbolize?

The Colombian flower, the cattleya orchid’s meaning, is drawn from its colors, appearance, and habitat. Due to strong competition for nutrients, the cattleya orchids are symbols of endurance and resilience, given their adaptation to grow at heights on the barks of trees in forests. 

Cattleya’s meaning is also linked to the symbolism of orchids. Orchid flowers symbolize elegance, beauty, love, fertility, strength, and royalty.

The cattleya genus draws its name from that of horticulturist William Cattley. John Lindley named the genus in 1824 after Cattley acquired a beautiful specimen of the Cattleya labiata orchid and successfully cultivated some of the earlier specimens of the genus.

The cattleya orchid flower is also associated with notions of masculinity and fertility. As a symbol of love, the flower’s name is mentioned in literature. The phrases “faire catleya” or “arranger Les catleyas” translate as “to catleya.” It is a euphemistic expression for the loving exchanges between the characters Odette and Swann in Marcel Proust’s “À la recherche du temps perdu.”

While the cattleya orchid flowers symbolize love, strength, fertility, virility, endurance, and resilience, the different colors of this flower have their unique meanings, which correspond to the unique combinations of colors of the orchids’ petals and lips.

All in all, the cattleya orchid flower symbolic meanings are:

  • grace
  • new beginnings
  • happiness
  • joy
  • fertility
  • beauty
  • love

Meaning of the Cattleya Orchid flower colors

Pink color

Orchid, Flower, Pink, Flowered Cattleya

Pink cattleya orchids are symbolic of femininity, womanhood, and motherhood. They are symbols of deep love and emotions and are particularly gifted on a couple’s 14th and 28th wedding anniversaries and Mother’s Day.

As a sign of friendship, affection, and healing, pink cattleya flowers also convey messages of good health and recovery to sick persons.

White color

Cattleya, Magic, Fascinating, Pretty, Orchid

White cattleya flowers are symbols of elegance, beauty, and purity of the heart and soul. A popular phrase goes by “the wisdom of the white orchid,” which alludes to the white Colombian flower cattleya, meaning wisdom, balance, and harmony. 

According to Confucius, white orchids represent righteous people who are sophisticated and humble.

White cattleya orchids are also associated with the birth of new babies and are symbolic of a new life and innocence.

Purple color

Cattleya Orchid, Orchid, Flower, Plant, Petals

Purple is the color of royalty. Purple cattleya orchids are referred to as the “true queens” among flowers. Purple orchids convey the respect, admiration, and adoration of people held in high esteem or regard.

Lavender color

Cattleya, Orchid, Flower, Magnificent, Blossoms

The lavender cattleya flower meaning is associated with feminine beauty and grace. The color is also symbolic of admiration and solitude. These flowers are associated with women who are beautiful and graceful.

Yellow color

Cattleya, Orchid, Plant, Nature, Macro, Flower, Exotic

Yellow orchids represent joy and happiness. They are also symbolic of friendships and new beginnings. Vibrant yellow cattleya orchids are perfect representations of new ventures and chapters in life.

Orange color

Cattleya, Hybrid, Orchid, Flowers, Plant, Botanical

Bright orange cattleya flowers are representative of motivation, encouragement, and boldness. Orange is also the color of happiness. Orange cattleyas are flowers of encouragement and motivation.

Red color

red and white flower in tilt shift lens

Red flowers symbolize passion, desire, love, and romance. Red cattleya orchids are a wonderful substitute for red roses. They convey the same meanings and symbolize deep emotions and passionate love. The red cattleya’s meaning is also associated with bravery, power, and courage.

Blue color

Blue is the color of power, strength, and inspiration. Blue is a rare color to be encountered in nature. Blue orchids are even rarer. The meaning of the blue Colombian flower cattleya’s meaning is closely linked to spirituality. Blue cattleya orchids are also said to represent uniqueness, calmness, and tranquility.

Green color

Cattleya, Green Flower, Red Lips, Orchid

With its close association with nature, green cattleya orchids symbolize life, rebirth, renewal, good fortune, and good health. The green Colombian flower cattleya meaning is also associated with good luck.

Interesting facts about the Cattleya Orchid flowers

  • The Cattleya trianae is Colombia’s national flower. The flower colors are symbolic of the country’s flag and represent the country’s hyper diversity of orchids.
  • Colombia has the largest number of orchids in the world! Home to more than 1,543 species of orchids, it is no wonder that a species of the flower would become its national flower.
  • As its national flower, the Cattleya trianae is endemic to the country. It was named after the Colombian naturalist José Jerónimo Triana.
  • The Colombian Andes make for the perfect habitat for many orchids. For example, the Cattleya trianae grows at the height of about 1500-2000 meters above sea level. The record for the place with the highest epiphytic diversity in the world is held by the cloud forests in western Colombia.
  • Orchids can survive for up to 100 years. However, due to commercial agriculture and deforestation, the Colombian flower cattleya is now endangered.

How to grow Cattleya Orchid flowers

Cattleya orchids are easy to grow and maintain, and even beginner gardeners may get them to bloom. They make wonderful houseplants, but they can also be left outside all year in tropical regions and frost-prone places during the summer months.

  1. Place the cattleya orchids in a spot with bright indirect light.
  2. Do not expose them to direct sunlight for an extended period to prevent the leaves from sunburn.
  3. Ensure the plant is not submerged in water, or the roots may rot.
  4. Water when the potting soil seems dry, almost to the bottom of the container.

How to care for Cattleya Orchid flowers

  1. Water more frequently when cattleya is about to bloom and throughout the blooming season.
  2. When repotting during the active growing season, avoid watering for at least 7 days.
  3. Fertilize every time you water during the growing season.

Best time to gift Cattleya Orchid flowers

The diverse colors and meanings of the Colombian flower cattleya make them an ideal gift on almost all occasions and celebrations. The flowers can be gifted as symbols of love and romance. 

Pink cattleya flowers are presented on a couple’s 14th and 28th wedding anniversaries. Cattleya orchids are also symbolic of new beginnings, happiness, and joy. They can be given as a gift during housewarming celebrations, celebrations of personal and professional achievements, and to congratulate someone on starting a new chapter in their lives.

Cattleya’s meanings of encouragement and motivation make them a good gift to motivate people who are going through difficult times. These orchids also symbolize good health and can be presented to someone sick and ailing, wishing them good health and recovery. Cattleya orchids are good flowers to present to someone you admire and respect.

These flowers are diverse, making these orchids a versatile gift. They can also be given on birthdays, promotions, engagements, wedding anniversaries, Mother’s Day, and Valentine’s Day.


Although cattleya flowers are beautiful, they have no unique meaning or symbolism. They are Colombia’s national flower, symbolizing perseverance and resilience. Cattleyas are the birth orchid for October, representing grace.

However, cattleyas may not have much cultural value or symbolism, but orchids do. Different colored orchids are presented as gifts to express a specific emotion. As a result, giving someone a red, pink, white, orange, yellow, or purple cattleya has diverse meanings and symbolism.
If you want to know and learn more about flowers, we at PansyMaiden can help you. Check out our fun, easy-to-read, and informative flower-related content that you will surely enjoy!