The genus Cadetia has about fifty species of epiphytic orchids, originating in New Guinea and southern Asia; they are small and have no pseudobulbs. Each stem has a single fleshy, oval, elongated leaf, 12-15 cm long, bright green, glossy and waxy; from winter to spring from the center of each leaf produces a single flower, white or cream, sometimes pink or with yellow dots, carried by a fleshy stem. The flowers have an intense fragrance, similar to anise, and remain flowered for a few weeks; the roots grow vigorously and each year at least 3-4 new stems with leaves grow from each head. Not much cultivated by the neophytes, these orchids, of not very showy dimensions, offer an abundant and prolonged flowering and are not of very difficult cultivation; actually, however, it is noted that every single plant has original needs, so it is good to test the cultivation conditions with each cadet and modify them slightly if necessary.
For the best cultivation, it is necessary to place the Cadetia in a very bright place, but away from the direct rays of the sun that can cause dangerous leaf burns; these orchids fear the cold, and in winter they must be kept at around 20 ° C during the day and at about 15 ° C at night. It is good to place the cadets in place with good air exchange.
Orchids need a good degree of humidity to grow well; water regularly every 3-4 days, letting the excess water flow completely, keeping the mixture always quite humid. However, it is advisable to let the soil dry a little between one watering and another. Every 15-20 days provide specific fertilizer for orchids, throughout the year, as the orchids do not have a period of vegetative rest. To increase the environmental humidity it is good to vaporize the leaves often, in the periods in which there are no flowers.
To plant these plants, use a compound suitable for orchids and epiphytic plants in general, consisting of pieces of bark, sphagnum peat and vegetable fibers. These plants have a fairly vigorous growth, despite the small size, they must therefore be repotted every two years, to ensure sufficient space in the pot and to replace the substrate that degrades over time and may no longer provide the support necessary for the growth of 'orchid.
The reproduction of these orchids generally occurs by division of the tufts; in late spring the roots are freed from the compound of cultivation and the stems are divided into groups of 2-3, taking care to leave a well-developed root for each head. The new plants thus obtained are immediately placed in a single container.
Cadetia: Pests and diseases
Pay attention to cochineal and root rot. To eliminate scale insects you can manually intervene with a cloth soaked in alcohol to pass on the leaves. To avoid root rot it is essential to control the substrate, making sure it is adequate and to intervene with appropriate watering.