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The first evidence that a Cattleya is about to flower is the appearance of the sheath.
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Soon after the sheath appears, it starts to fill up with flower buds. These buds can be most easily seen when the plant is held up to the light so the sheath is back lit.
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Next the buds break through the sheath.
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The flower first starts opening upside down but eventually turns 180 degrees to right itself.
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When the plant is in full bloom, keep in a bright but cool location. This will allow the Cattleya flowers to last longer.