I picked up this Cattleya walkeriana semi-alba 'Carmela' as a bag baby at a local Lowe's. Yeah, there are gems to be found in those prepackaged orchids.
I know there's always a lot of discussion on forums about whether it's good or bad to buy orchids from grocery stores and home improvement centers. Every time it gets brought up people tend to fall on the side of them being great, or some turn up their noses because they're from a large scale production company. Sun-Bulb/Better-Gro is actually a very reputable company if you've read anything from or about the growers, or their operation. I watched this exact clone go for $50 on eBay a few weeks ago, there's another one on there now, $65. I got this one for $13 and change, blooming sized, straight off the truck, (no chance for the Lowe's employees to kill it or sit around long enough to acquire a scale infestation.) So go ahead and turn up your noses at this, I'll still go through the bag babies to see if there's anything good when I'm at Lowe's.
I had read that Cattleya walkeriana is considered a more difficult species than most to grow. Until I made a decision about how I wanted to try and grow mine, I just left it in the pot. I took the majority of decaying bark out, left the charcoal and Sponge Rock, then watered it every few days after reading that most people had lost theirs due to rot issues. It has been growing, but it wasn't until buds suddenly appeared from somewhere unexpected that I decided to look into Cattleya walkeriana a bit more.
|C. walkerina buds|
|In this picture, the short/stubby growth in the middle was a previous bloom.|
|Here's a 2nd new growth, not sure if it will be another pseudobulb, or a flower spike yet|
|The whole orchid|
Once I start to see the fresh roots getting longer I'm going to try this one in a wood slat basket or maybe clay with a lot of holes and some bark, as I've had more than enough issues with rot this summer. Learning to grow in this heat and humidity has been a bit of an adjustment for me and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. If this species is rot prone in culture and instead of rotting it, I've got flowers. This is all the excuse I need to get some of the other good color variations. C. walkeriana is naturally a solid pink color, then there's the many beautiful semi-alba variations like 'Carmela', coerulea or "blue" colored flowers, perola (rose blushes on the petals or petals and sepals), aquinii (a peloric bloom, some coloration at the tips of the petals similar to the color of the lip), and flammea (petals that have coloration getting stronger/more saturated towards the edges) types as well. For more color variations and types than you can handle, check out this guy's website: C. Walkeriana