How to Grow and Care for Brassavola Orchids Indoors


Brassavola Orchid Care

Photo credit: Orchid Resource Center

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

Description

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Where to Buy

Beautiful Brassavola Orchids are available online at Etsy. Buy Brassavola Orchids from Etsy.

Brassavola Orchid Care

Photo credit: Palmer Orchids

Brassavola Orchids Care Indoors

Brassavola Orchids require bright light with some direct sunshine, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile loose soil coupled with regular feeding inorder to thrive.

They also need regular pruning to keep them neat and tidy. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

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. It can also grow under a grow light where natural lighting is inadequate.

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

Watering

Water Brassavola Orchid thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings. Water less during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

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

Use tepid, chlorine-free water as Brassavola 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 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 it may begin to rot. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature

The best temperatures for growing 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 Brassavola Orchid cannot tolerate hot and stuffy conditions.

Keep the Brassavola Orchid away from draughts to avoid sudden changes in temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

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. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

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

Withhold 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. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

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.

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.

Soil

The best soil 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.

Most orchid potting mixes are ideal. Buy quality Orchid Potting Mix for Brassavola Orchid from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning 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.

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'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.

Ensure 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 Care

Photo credit: Orchideed-Wichmann.de

Brassavola Orchids Problems Indoors

Brassavola Orchids problems indoors 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.

Mold on the leaves

This is an indication of powdery mildew disease in Brassavola Orchid.

Misting the leaves may lead to mildew growth if the water does not evaporate quickly. Ensure that there is good air circulation for the orchid and stop misting it.

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 consistently 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. Move the orchid to 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 adequate.

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.

Dark-green leaves

Dark green leaves in Brassavola Orchid indicate that the orchid is not getting enough light. Move it 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. Move the orchid to a shadier spot or protect it from hot direct sunlight. The leaves of a Brassavola Orchid that is receiving the correct amount of light should be light green.

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.

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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