A small genus of Brassavola is directly related to the orchid family. This genus unites about 20 plant species represented by lithophytes and epiphytes. In nature, they can be found in Central and South America.
It has a sympoidal growth pattern. So, new shoots grow at the base of old ones, while the growth occurs along the rhizome (a modified creeping shoot). At the same time, the old pseudobulbs gradually die off. Cylindrical pseudobulbs are 10 to 15 centimeters long and 0.5 to 1.5 centimeters wide. They have a clear resemblance to bare, rather thick shoots that break through a leathery membrane. It dries out over time and turns into a wrapper case. At the top of each pseudobulb there is a fleshy, fairly hard leaf (sometimes 2 or 3), painted in dark green and having a pointed tip. In length, such leaves reach 5–30 centimeters and at the same time they are somewhat wider than the pseudobulbs themselves. Belt-lanceolate leaflets are concave or folded along the central vein.
A few-flowered inflorescence in the form of a brush consists of 1-6 fragrant flowers of a rather large size. These inflorescences bear lateral or apical peduncles, which are thin and rather long. The flowers are pronounced zygomorphic. 3 sepals (sepals) in relation to each other are located at an angle of 120 degrees, petals (petals) are oppositely lying. There is also a lip (3rd modified petal), which is quite large. It is folded at the base into a narrow, rather long tube, and then unfolds with a wide fan, shaped like a heart or a triangle. Sepals and petals are very similar in shape and color. They have a narrow lanceolate shape and a white-green or white-yellow color. In this case, the lip is often painted pure white and has a speck of green or yellow at the base.
Depending on the type, flowers can last from 5 to 30 days.
This genus of orchids is not yet very popular among domestic flower growers. So, the most common species today is knotted brassavola (Brassavola nodosa). This species is known for its rather strong aroma at night, because of this, such a flower is also called “Lady Night”. The length of the pseudobulb can be from 6 to 8 centimeters, with 3 or 4 internodes, as well as 1 greenish-gray leaf. The length of the sheet is about 30 centimeters, and its width is 1.5 centimeters. The diameter of the color of the glasses is about 9 centimeters, but there are specimens with larger flowers (about 15 centimeters). Narrow (width 0.5 centimeters) petals and sepals in length can reach from 4 to 7 centimeters. They have a linear-lanceolate shape and are painted in a light green color. The heart-shaped lip has the same width and length equal to 4 centimeters.
Brassavola orchid care at home
A plant such as knotted Brassavola is suitable for growing by both experienced flower growers and beginners. And that’s all, because it is relatively non-capricious and undemanding in care.
He loves light very much and he needs direct rays of the evening and morning sun. However, on hot summer days, the plant needs shading from the direct midday scorching rays of the sun. Otherwise, rather severe burns can form on the surface of pseudobulbs and foliage, which are represented by brown-brown spots. If there are too many burns, then this can cause the death of the brassavola.
If the plant does not receive enough light, then its young growths will be underdeveloped. As a result, flower buds will not be able to form. In this regard, the flowers located on the windows of the northern orientation need to be illuminated with special fitolamps (the same applies to prolonged cloudy weather). Illumination all year round should be kept at a level of 20,000 to 35,000 lux, while remembering that daylight hours should not be shorter than 10 hours. Do not forget that the key to successful flowering is sufficient lighting.
You can determine whether such an orchid has enough light or not by the appearance of the foliage. If there is enough light, then the color intensity will be normal. If there is not enough light, the leaves become pale green.
Such a plant shows a moderately warm temperature regime. And in order for it to grow and develop normally, it needs daily temperature fluctuations. Without such drops, flower buds will not form.
In summer, daytime temperatures from 25 to 35 degrees are recommended for this orchid, and nighttime temperatures are from 16 to 20 degrees. In winter, she will feel good during the day at a temperature of 18 to 20 degrees, and at night – from 12 to 16 degrees. It must be remembered that it should not be colder than 12 degrees in the room.
In the summer, experts advise moving the Brassavola outside (to the balcony, to the garden). At the same time, it must be protected from gusts of wind, drafts and precipitation. Fresh air contributes to the fact that a stronger plant blooms more abundantly. Plus, when grown on the street, this orchid will be provided with a natural difference in daily temperatures.
Suitable for growing pots filled with the substrate, as well as special blocks. The substrate should consist of pine bark (or other coniferous tree), coconut chips, sphagnum and charcoal. In this case, the components are taken in equal proportions. Quite large pieces of pine bark are used as blocks (they can be replaced with wicker baskets). On the surface of the block, you need to fix the root system, and then cover it with a not very thick layer of coconut fiber or sphagnum.
How to water
The irrigation regime depends on the environmental conditions. So, in warmer rooms, the substrate dries out faster, so you need to water it more often. When grown on a block, the orchid requires daily watering, while it is carried out by immersion. So, in a basin filled with water, you need to lower the block for a third of an hour. In the same way, it is necessary to water the flowers growing in pots. After you get the orchid out of the water, wait until all the excess liquid has drained, only then put the pot back in place. In the event of stagnant water in the substrate, the root system will begin to rot, due to which the flower may die.
Watering is recommended after the substrate has dried thoroughly. To do this, use well-settled, soft water, in which there should be no chlorine.
Also, to stimulate the formation of flower buds, and also for hygienic purposes, a regular hot (about 40 degrees) shower is recommended for the plant.
The amount of humidity a plant needs also depends on the growing conditions. A flower growing in a pot needs 55-60 percent, and on a block it needs a higher air humidity, or rather, not less than 70-75 percent. The warmer the room and the brighter the lighting, the more humidity the plant needs. However, with high humidity, systematic and fairly frequent ventilation is necessary. And that’s all, because humid, warm, stagnant air contributes to the development of a variety of fungal diseases and rot.
In order to increase humidity, experts advise using household humidifiers and steam generators. This method of air humidification is indispensable for orchids grown on blocks. When growing in a container, it is recommended to pour expanded clay into the pan and pour in a little water, and also to maintain the required humidity, the plant must be systematically moistened from a sprayer (in the morning and evening hours).
Inexperienced growers often remove old shriveled pseudobulbs, but this is wrong. The fact is that in any pseudobulbs, whether they are young or old, there are valuable nutrients that the flower really needs for normal development. You can only remove a completely dried pseudobulb.
Since the root system is very susceptible to various chemicals and salinity, it is not necessary to fertilize the soil too often. This should be done 1 time in 3 or 4 weeks, using special fertilizers for orchids. They are dissolved in water for irrigation. The dose of fertilizer should be less than that recommended on the package. The orchid also needs foliar top dressing; a rather weak nutrient solution is used for spraying.
Transplantation should be carried out only in case of emergency. So, this procedure is carried out if the root system ceases to fit in the container or when young growths begin to crawl out of the pot. Brassavola should be transplanted very carefully. Particular care must be taken with the roots, which are ingrown into the walls of the container, into the block, as well as adherent to pieces of bark. When transplanting, it is not necessary to separate the bark from the roots, they are simply placed in a new container and the substrate is poured into it. Do not pull on ingrown roots to try to free them, as they can be easily damaged. If possible, cut off a piece of bark or a pot into which the root has grown, using a very sharp knife or blade for this.
Such a plant grown indoors can only be propagated by dividing the rhizome. At the same time, it is worth remembering that at least three mature pseudobulbs should be present on each division.
Pests and diseases
Brassavola is not susceptible to diseases and pests. A fairly common problem that flower growers have when growing such an orchid is the lack of flowering. The reason for this may be poor lighting or the wrong temperature.