So glad you were able to capture the intense coloring on this L. purpurata - the magenta/fuschia/cherry nuances are stunning. As for its lasting power.... I'd rather have a show-stopper for a short time than a drab everlasting one!
I have, by the way, done much the same with my C. harrisoniana (minus the research escapade you embarked on) . I broke one spike with 2 buds right off the bat, trying to stake them properly, and managed to save the last one from an invasion of thrips and I have now photographed it about 100 times as it slowly gets past its peak - until it looks weary and dreary, however, it sits in the center of the table in the living room. I have seldom, if ever, been so delighted with a Catt.