How to grow and care for Brassavola Orchids Indoors

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Brassavola Orchid Care

Photo credit: Orchid Resource Center

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

Brassavola Orchids Description

Brassavola Orchids are easy to grow Indoor 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 in Brassavola Orchids are long, thin, tubular about 1 ft long and may sometimes appear unrolled or flattened. The leaves are mottled with slight reddish marks.

The 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. It 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 Orchids Flower

The flowers in Brassavola Orchids 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.

Brassavola Orchids Origin

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 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.

Brassavola Orchid Care

Photo credit: Palmer Orchids

Brassavola Orchids Care Indoors

Brassavola Orchids Light Requirements

The best light for growing Brassavola Orchid indoors is bright light with some direct sunshine.

Keep your Brassavola Orchid away from hot sunshine to avoid sun scorch on the leaves.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that your Brassavola Orchid gets adequate light on all sides.

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

Dark green leaves in your Brassavola Orchid indicate that your orchid needs more light.

Yellowish leaves in your Brassavola Orchid mean that your orchid is receiving too much light. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Brassavola Orchids

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

Reduce watering for your Brassavola Orchid during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

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

Use tepid, chlorine-free water as Brassavola Orchids are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water.

Avoid wetting the foliage of your Brassavola Orchid as it can lead to fungal diseases.

Brassavola 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 your Brassavola Orchid as it may begin to rot. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Brassavola Orchids

The best temperatures for growing your Brassavola Orchid indoors are between 10-290C.

Warmer days and cooler night temperatures with a difference of 10-150C are ideal for Brassavola Orchid. The cool nights are essential to trigger flowering.

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

Protect your Brassavola Orchid from draughts to avoid sudden changes in temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Brassavola Orchids

Moderate humidity is ideal for your Brassavola Orchids. Where the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Brassavola Orchid.

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

Occasionally clean the leaves of your Brassavola Orchids by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Brassavola Orchids Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed your Brassavola Orchids every 4 weeks during the growing season with a weak solution of a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

Withhold feeding for your Brassavola Orchid 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 your Brassavola Orchid.

Overfeeding your Brassavola Orchid may result in loss of roots thus death of the orchid.

If you overfeed your Brassavola Orchid, it can also lead to vegetative growth instead of flower production. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot Brassavola Orchids

Brassavola Orchids bloom best when they are pot-bound. Repot Brassavola Orchids only when growth begins to suffer.

Repot your Brassavola Orchid 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 your Brassavola Orchid every 2-3 years should be adequate.

Repot your Brassavola Orchid only when new growth begins, shortly after blooming is over.

Use a pot with proper drainage holes or slits as the roots of your Brassavola Orchid need good air circulation.

The pot for your Brassavola Orchid should be only 1 size larger than the previous one.

Use loose, free-draining bark soil for your Brassavola Orchid as the roots require good air circulation.

When repotting your Brassavola Orchid, shake off excess soil and trim off any dried and shrivelled pseudobulbs.

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

How to Prune Brassavola Orchids

Pruning your Brassavola Orchids is easy. Remove dead and diseased leaves by cutting them at the base with sharp scissors or a knife.

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

Brassavola Orchids Propagation

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 Brassavola Orchid root-ball.

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

Bury the roots of the Brassavola Orchid 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 Brassavola Orchid section should be about 1-2 in. larger than the pseudobulb.

Ensure the pot has enough drainage holes and slits to prevent root-rot of your Brassavola Orchid section.

Place the set up in a shaded place until Brassavola Orchid sections have established their own roots.

Water the new Brassavola Orchids lightly to enhance root development. Stake each newly repotted plant.

Brassavola Orchid Care

Photo credit: Orchideed-Wichmann.de

Brassavola Orchids Problems Indoors

Brassavola Orchid brown soft spots on the leaves

Brown soft spots on Brassavola Orchid leaves are an indication of a fungal disease.

Remove the affected leaves of your Brassavola Orchid immediately to prevent further spread.

Brassavola Orchid brown hard and dry spots on leaves

Exposure of your Brassavola Orchid to direct sunshine will result in scorch marks which are brown hard and dry spots on the leaves.

Move your Brassavola Orchid to a shadier spot or protect it from hot direct sunshine to avoid sunscorching.

Brassavola Orchid mould on the leaves

This is an indication of Powdery Mildew Disease in your Brassavola Orchid.

Misting the leaves of your Brassavola Orchid may lead to mildew growth if the water does not evaporate quickly.

Ensure good air circulation for your Brassavola Orchid and stop misting it.

Brassavola Orchid leaves limpy and droopy

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

Water your Brassavola Orchid thoroughly, maintain the soil consistently moist and allow only the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Brassavola Orchid dark-green leaves

Dark green leaves in Brassavola Orchid indicate that your orchid is not getting enough light.

Move your Brassavola Orchid to a brighter spot. The leaves of a Brassavola Orchid that is receiving the correct light should be light green.

Brassavola Orchid yellowish leaves

Yellowish leaves in Brassavola Orchid indicate that your orchid is getting too much light.

Move your Brassavola Orchid to a shadier spot. The leaves of a Brassavola Orchid that is receiving the correct amount of light should be light green.

Brassavola Orchid leaf tips turning black and dying

The cause of black leaf tips in your 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 your Brassavola 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.

Brassavola Orchid not blooming or flowering

One possible reason why your Brassavola Orchid is not blooming is too little light.

Move your Brassavola Orchid to a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving very bright light with some direct sun light.

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

Feed your Brassavola Orchid once monthly with a weak solution of a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

Is Brassavola Orchid toxic?

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

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