Slc. Orchid Hybrids and Their Care
"Slc." is the abbreviation used to describe hybrid orchids with parentage from three species: sophronitis, laelia and cattleya. These flowers are also sometimes called "sophrolaeliocattleya" orchids. The various hybrids usually have the yellow, orange or red flowers of sophronitis orchids, but they are considered to be part of the cattleya alliance when it comes to orchid culture, according to Argus Orchids.
Orchids are tropical flowers. The orchid family is so huge that they can be found in many parts of the world, but most types of orchids grown by home gardeners are native to the hot, humid forests of South America, according to the University of Tennessee. This includes Slc. orchids. For that reason, and for their stunning beauty, Slc. orchids are usually grown indoors in containers and cultivated as ornamental house plants.
Slc. orchids feature the classic, distinctive orchid blossom, with three top petals, two bottom petals, and a "lip" that houses the flower's reproductive organs. The top and lower two petals are actually sepals, which are modified leaves, although they look just like the petals. The middle two petals (on either side of the top petal) are true flower petals. Slc. orchids usually have more than one bloom on one stem. Otherwise, they vary widely in size, shape and color. Some are dwarf hybrids and appear short and compact, while others are much taller.
Many Slc. orchids are popular for their true red color, which is achieved only through hybridization. Many of the most popular Slc. orchid hybrids are red. "Fire Lighter" is a bright red, compact plant. "Precious Beauty" has deep red margins fading inward to orange and then yellow at the center. "Jewel Box 'Scheherazade' " is an award-winning Slc. orchid that features a lot of large, spring-blooming, red flowers on short stems.
Light, Soil and Water
Cattelya orchids, including Slcs, need exposure to bright but indirect light to bloom well. These flowers should be placed in a south or west facing window that is filtered by a sheer curtain, according to Clemson University. These orchids should not be planted in potting soil but instead should be grown in a soil-less planting medium. These are usually marketed for orchids and usually contain bark, peat and perlite to aid in draining. Good drainage is very important, because if orchids sit too long in overly wet pots, their roots will rot. They should be watered about once a week, with the planting medium drying slightly between each watering.
Humidity and Air
Slc. orchids, like all orchids, need humidity to grow well. They also need air circulating around them, according to the University of Tennessee, such as a fan or open window can provide. This will reduce the chances of fungal or bacterial diseases. Humidity trays (shallow trays filled with pebbles and water) can provide good humidity. Rest the pot on the pebbles, but do not let the water touch the bottom of the pot. As the water evaporates, it will provide humidity to the plant.