How to Grow, Care and Propagate for Brassavola Orchids

Brassavola Orchids are easy to grow orchids which bear very fragrant flowers with a citrusy smell but they are only fragrant at night and last a few days only.

The leaves are long, thin, tubular about 1 ft long and may sometimes appear unrolled or flattened. The leaves are mottled with slight reddish marks.

Brassavola Orchids have much smaller pseudobulbs, so the leaves appear to emerge from the rhizomes.

The Brassavola genus comprises of about 21 species of orchids.

Brassavola Orchid was named in 1813 by the Scottish botanist Robert Brown after the Italian nobleman and physician Antonio Musa Brassavola (one of the most famous physician of his time). The genus is abbreviated B in trade journals.

Brassavola Orchid

Botanical name: Brassavola
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Epidendreae
Subtribe: Laeliinae


Brassavola is a genus of orchids widespread across Mexico, Central America, West Indies and South America. Brassavola Orchids are epiphytes; they grow on the bark of trees and derive moisture and nutrients from the air, rain or debris accumulating around them.


Brassavola Orchids flowers are small and comprise of three sepals and two lateral petals which are greenish, narrow and long. These Orchids bloom the year-round; they bloom several times in a year.

Related Genera

Brassavola Orchids are closely related to the genera Cattleya and Laelia with which they have been used extensively in hybridization to create a multitude of colors.

Is Brassavola Orchid toxic?

Brassavola Orchids are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

Where to Buy

Brassavola Orchids are readily available online at Etsy.

Brassavola Orchids Care Indoors

Brassavola Orchids blooms in bright light with some direct sunshine, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile loose, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Brassavola Orchids need regular pruning to keep them neat and discourage pest and disease infestation. Repotting is need when growth begins to suffer or the medium becomes completely broken down. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Brassavola Orchid


Water Brassavola Orchid thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Cut down on watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but do not let the soil dry out completely.

Drooping or wrinkly leaves in Brassavola Orchid indicate that you are underwatering the orchid.

Use tepid, chlorine-free water as these orchids are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water. Therefore water it with chlorine-free water only.

Avoid wetting the foliage as it can lead to fungal diseases and rotting which can cause the orchid to die.

Brassavola Orchids unlike Lady Slippers Orchid (Paphiopedilum Orchids) are more tolerant to dry soil due to their tubular shaped leaves which are designed to reduce water loss through transpiration.

As such take care not to overwater the orchid as too much water may cause the orchid to rot.

Light Requirements

The best light for growing Brassavola Orchid indoors is bright light with some direct sunshine. Keep the orchid away from hot sunshine to avoid sun scorch on the leaves.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the orchid receives adequate light on all sides for even growth.

A Brassavola Orchid that is receiving the right amount of light has mottled leaves with slight reddish marks.

Dark green leaves indicate that the orchid needs more light. Yellowish leaves mean that the orchid is receiving too much light.

Brassavola Orchid can also be grown under grow lights where the natural lighting is not sufficient. Take a look at these full spectrum grow lights on Amazon.

Temperature and Humidity

The best temperatures for growing Brassavola Orchid indoors are between 18-290C. Warmer days and cooler night temperatures with a difference of 10-150C are ideal for this orchid. The cool nights are essential to trigger flowering.

Ensure that there is good air circulation as Brassavola Orchid cannot tolerate hot and stuffy conditions.

Keep the Brassavola Orchid away from drafts to avoid sudden changes in temperature as they can cause leaf curl, leaf drop and reduced growth.

Moderate humidity is ideal for Brassavola Orchids. Where the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity

Do not mist the leaves as it can lead to fungal diseases. Check out these techniques on how to raise raise humidity for houseplants.

Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and also discourage pest and disease infestations.


Feed Brassavola Orchids every 4 weeks during the growing season with an orchid's fertilizer as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Stop feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Do not feed an orchid that is in flower.

It is better to err on the side of underfeeding than overfeeding as overfeeding may result in loss of roots thus death of the orchid.

Overfeeding can also lead to vegetative growth instead of flower production.

Potting Medium

The best potting medium for Brassavola Orchid should be rich in organic matter, loose, free-draining bark soil to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Orchid potting mixes are ideal for these orchids. Buy Orchid Potting Mix from Amazon.


Brassavola Orchids bloom best when they are pot-bound. Repot only when growth begins to suffer; when the orchid has outgrown its pot and the new growth reaches out over the edge of the pot or when the soil has broken down completely.

Basically repotting a Brassavola Orchid every 2-3 years should be adequate. Repot it only when new growth begins, shortly after blooming is over.

Use a pot with proper drainage holes or slits as the roots need good air circulation. The pot should be only 1 size larger than the current one. Take a look at these Ceramic Orchid Pots with a free Slotted Orchid Pot Liner on Amazon.

Use loose, free-draining bark soil as the roots require good air circulation. While repotting, shake off excess soil and trim off any dried and shrivelled pseudobulbs.

The large Brassavola Orchids can be divided to propagate new plants.


Pruning Brassavola Orchids is easy. Remove dead and diseased leaves to keep the orchid neat as well as reduce pest and disease infestations.

Cut the leaves at the base with clean, sharp scissors or a knife to avoid unnecessary injury and reduce disease transmission.

When flowering is over, cut the flower stalk 1 in. above the 3rd node from the bottom.


Brassavola Orchids can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season once flowering is over from the rhizome.

How to propagate Brassavola Orchids from the rhizome

Gently split the Brassavola Orchid rhizome into sections while ensuring there are at least 3 shoots on each section.

Seperate the roots attached to each division from the mother's root-ball.

Remove the old potting soil attached to the section roots and place each section in the center of the pot.

Bury the roots of the section in the soil while ensuring that the bottom of the pseudobulb is level with the top of the soil.

The best pot for the section should be about 1-2 in. larger than the pseudobulb.

Make sure that the pot has enough drainage holes and slits to prevent root-rot of the section.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight until sections have established their own roots.

Water the new Brassavola Orchids lightly to enhance root development and stake each newly repotted plant to prevent it from toppling over.

Brassavola Orchid

Brassavola Orchids Problems with Solutions

Brassavola Orchids growing problems include black leaf tips and edges, yellow leaves, drooping leaves, leaf spots, lack of blooms, pests and diseases. Continue reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Limpy and droopy leaves

Limpy and droopy leaves in Brassavola Orchid are caused by underwatering. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Water the orchid thoroughly, maintain the soil moderately moist and allow only the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Black and dying leaf tips

The cause of black and dying leaf tips in Brassavola Orchid is the presence of chemicals like chlorine and flourides in the water or accumulation of salts in the soil.

Use chlorine-free water only to water the orchid and flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil for about 10 minutes until it comes out through the drainage holes.

No blooms

One possible reason why Brassavola Orchid is not blooming is too little light as it blooms in very bright light with some direct sun light.

Posistion the orchid in a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving very bright light with some direct sun light or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not enough.

Overfeeding the Brassavola Orchid can result in vegetative growth at the expense of flowers production.

Feed the orchid once monthly with an orchid's fertilizer as per the manufacturer's instructions but do not feed in the cold period.

Mold on the leaves

Mold on the leaves in Brassavola Orchid is an indication of powdery mildew disease which is enhanced by over damp conditions, low temperatures and poor air circulation.

Isolate the affected plant, cut off the diseased leaves and treat it appropriately for the powdery mildew.

Improve ventilation to ensure that there is good air circulation for the plant.

Avoid wetting the foliage during watering and water from the bottom instead. Do not mist the orchid.

Maintain the temperatures at an average warmth and keep the plant away from cold drafts as they cause sudden drops in temperatures.

Dark-green leaves

Dark green leaves in Brassavola Orchid indicate that the orchid is not getting enough light as it thrives in very bright light with some direct sun light.

Move the orchid to a brighter spot where it will receive very bright light with some direct sun light or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

The leaves of a Brassavola Orchid that is receiving the correct light should be light green.

Yellowish leaves

Yellowish leaves in Brassavola Orchid indicate that the orchid is getting too much light. The leaves of a Brassavola Orchid that is receiving the correct amount of light should be light green. Move the orchid to a shadier spot or protect it from hot direct sunlight.

Brown soft leaf spots

Brown soft leaf spots in Brassavola Orchid are an indication of a fungal disease. Remove the affected leaves immediately to prevent further spread.

Brown hard and dry leaf spots

Exposure of Brassavola Orchid to direct sunshine will result in scorch marks which are brown hard and dry spots on the leaves. Move the orchid to a shadier spot or protect it from hot direct sunshine to avoid sunscorching.

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