The genus Brassavola is composed of 15-20 species of orchid, widespread in a large area ranging from Mexico to Venezuela. They are all epiphytes or lithophytes, and they grow both in the warmer climates of the oceanic coasts, and in the humid and cool areas of the highlands, they are found on the rocks, on the mangroves and also on cacti. These orchids do not have pseudobulbs, but an enlarged stem for about 10-15 centimeters, each stem has a single leaf, at the base of which a long inflorescence grows, on which more flowers bloom, although in some varieties the flowers are single. Brassavoles are light green, white or yellow, and sometimes the labellum is dotted with red. B. Cucullata has a very elongated lip, sepals and petals, with long greenish filaments that start from the extremities, it grows over 1800 m of altitude, in cool and humid areas. B nodosa has a particular cylindrical lip at the base, which widens to open in the shape of a heart, grows at low altitudes, in hot and humid areas. B. Tuberculata grows near the sea.
Usually brassavola orchids like the light, much more than other species of orchid, it is therefore appropriate to place them in a very bright area, taking care however to shade them in the hottest periods of the year, to avoid burns to the leaves; It is also advisable to find a well ventilated position, especially if the temperatures exceed 30 ° C. In winter it is good to keep them at a temperature that does not fall below 15 ° C.
Brassavola orchids should be watered very often, even every day if it is very hot and the soil dries too much; in winter ensure a rest period of at least 2-3 weeks, to encourage the production of flowers, during this period drastically decrease the watering, until it almost suspends them; throughout the cold season, however, supply water only every 2-3 weeks. In the period of vegetation, from April to October, add a fertilizer for orchids to the water of the watering every week, remembering to immediately water the plants with clean water, to avoid residues of fertilizer on the roots. In the hottest periods, vaporize the leaves with distilled water to maintain a high level of humidity, possibly in the evening or early morning, to avoid burn marks on the leaves.
The Brassavoles are epiphytes, so their ideal "pot" is a tree bark; if you have to keep them in a pot, use an orchid compost: a mixture of shredded barks and osmunda fiber, with a small amount of chopped bones. These plants grow quickly, so it is good to repot them every two or three years, immediately after flowering.
The multiplication takes place by dividing the clumps, keeping at least one old root and one new one for each portion of the head, the new plants are immediately repotted in soil for orchids.
Brassavola: Pests and diseases
Pay attention to nutritional deficiencies that cause wrinkling of the stems. If they are kept in stagnant water it is likely that they will be affected by root rot, which can quickly compromise the entire plant. If kept in a greenhouse, or in a poorly ventilated place, they can be attacked by the cochineal.