Few genus brassavola (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.
Possesses a sympoidal growth pattern. So, new shoots grow at the base of old ones, while the growth occurs along the rhizome (modified creeping shoot). At the same time, the old pseudobulbs are gradually dying off. Cylindrical pseudobulbs are 10 to 15 centimeters long and 0.5 to 1.5 centimeters wide. They have a clear resemblance to naked, rather thick shoots that make their way through the leathery membrane. It dries out over time and turns into a wrapper case. At the top of each pseudobulb there is a fleshy, rather rigid leaflet (sometimes 2 or 3), colored dark green and having a pointed tip. In length, such leaves reach 5-30 centimeters and are somewhat wider than the pseudobulbs themselves. Lanceolate-belt-shaped leaves are concave or folded along the central vein.
The small-flowered inflorescence in the form of a brush consists of 1–6 fragrant flowers of a rather large size. These inflorescences carry 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 opposite lying. There is also a lip (3rd modified petal), which is quite large. At the base, it is rolled 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 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 of flowers, they can last from 5 to 30 days.
This genus of orchids is not yet very popular among domestic florists. So, the most widespread species today is 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 pseudobulbs can be from 6 to 8 centimeters, with 3 or 4 internodes, as well as 1 greenish-gray leaf. The leaf is about 30 centimeters long and 1.5 centimeters wide. The diameter of the color of the glasses is about 9 centimeters, but there are specimens with larger flowers (about 15 centimeters). Narrow (0.5 centimeters wide) petals and sepals in length can reach from 4 to 7 centimeters. They have a linear-lanceolate shape and are colored light green. The heart-shaped lip has the same width and length equal to 4 centimeters. Blooming is observed in winter and spring.
Caring for the brassavola orchid at home
A plant such as brassavola knotty is suitable for growing by both experienced growers and beginners. And all because she is comparatively non-capricious and undemanding to care for.
He loves light very much and 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 the pseudobulbs and foliage, which are represented by brown-brown specks. If there are too many burns, then this can cause the death of the brassavola.
If the plant receives an insufficient amount of light, then its young growths will be underdeveloped. As a result, flower buds cannot form. In this regard, the flowers on the north-facing windows need illumination with special phytolamps (this also applies to prolonged cloudy weather). Illumination throughout the year should be kept at a level of 20,000 to 35,000 lux, while remembering that daylight hours should be at least 10 hours. Do not forget that sufficient lighting is the key to successful flowering.
It is possible to determine whether such an orchid of light is enough or not by the appearance of the foliage. If there is enough light, the color intensity will be normal. If there is little light, the leaves acquire a pale green tint.
A moderately warm temperature regime is shown for such a plant. And in order for it to grow and develop normally, it needs daily temperature drops. Without such differences, flower buds will not form.
In summer, daytime temperatures of 25 to 35 degrees are recommended for this orchid, and night temperatures are from 16 to 20 degrees. In winter, she will feel good during the day at temperatures from 18 to 20 degrees, and at night - from 12 to 16 degrees. It should be remembered that the room should not be colder than 12 degrees.
In summer, experts advise moving brassavol to the street (to the balcony, to the garden). At the same time, it must be protected from gusts of wind, drafts and precipitation. Fresh air helps a mature plant to bloom more abundantly. Plus, when grown on the street, this orchid will be provided with a natural drop in daily temperatures.
Suitable for growing are pots filled with 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 it needs to be watered more often. When grown on a block, an 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 remove the orchid from the water, wait until all excess liquid has drained off, only then put the pot back in place. In case of stagnation of water in the substrate, the root system will begin to rot, which may cause the flower to die.
Watering is recommended after the substrate is thoroughly dry. To do this, use well-settled, soft water, which should not contain chlorine.
Also, to stimulate the formation of flower buds, and also for hygienic purposes, the plant is recommended a regular hot (about 40 degrees) shower.
What kind of air humidity the 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 humidity, or rather, no less than 70-75 percent. The warmer the room and the brighter the lighting, the more moisture the plant needs. However, with high humidity, systematic and fairly frequent ventilation is needed. And all because humid, warm, stagnant air contributes to the development of various fungal diseases and rot.
In order to increase humidity, experts advise using household humidifiers and steam generators. This method of humidifying the air is indispensable for orchids grown on blocks. When growing in containers, it is recommended to pour expanded clay into the pallet 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 wrinkled 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, fertilizing the soil is too often unnecessary. This should be done once every 3 or 4 weeks, using special fertilizers for orchids. They are dissolved in water for irrigation. The fertilizer dose should be less than that recommended on the package. The orchid also needs foliar feeding; a fairly weak nutrient solution is used for spraying.
A transplant should be carried out only if absolutely necessary. So, this procedure is carried out if the root system ceases to fit into the container or when young growths begin to crawl out of the pot. It is necessary to transplant brassavola very carefully. Especially carefully it is necessary to treat the roots, which are ingrown into the walls of the container, into the block, as well as adherent to pieces of bark. When transplanting, you should not separate the bark from the roots, they are simply placed in a new container and the substrate is poured into it. Ingrown roots should not be pulled to free them, as they can be easily damaged. If possible, cut off a piece of the bark or pot into which the root has grown, using a very sharp knife or blade.
Such a plant, grown indoors, can only be propagated by separating the rhizome. It should be remembered that at least three mature pseudobulbs must be present on each cut.
Pests and diseases
Brassavola is not susceptible to diseases and pests. A fairly common problem that growers have when growing such an orchid is the lack of flowering. The reason for this may be poor lighting or incorrect temperature conditions.
THE ORCHID OF BRASSAVOL ON THE BLOCK. Brassavola orchid or not?
What does an orchid need for good flowering?
In fact, there are no special secrets in this, you just need to choose the right location, provide long daylight hours, water and feed her on time, and then she will certainly thank you with abundant flowering, which lasts from three to six months. But first things first…
This factor largely determines whether the plant will bloom or not. If the daylight hours last less than 10 hours, an additional light source must be installed. If there is enough light, then the orchid will always be in flowers. A small number of light hours affects the color changes in leaves. So they gradually stretch out and turn yellow.
There are some basic lighting rules for orchids:
- Direct sunlight should not be allowed, the window should be covered with white paper or matte film.
- Orchids love diffused light, this must be taken into account when caring for them.
- Extending daylight hours up to 12 hours in autumn and winter (use of fluorescent bulbs).
Many flower lovers believe that orchids are exclusively tropical plants, but this is not the case.
Cold-loving: laelias, papiopedilums, Australian dendrobiums. All these types of orchids grow in the mountains, where in summer the temperature does not exceed 21 degrees, and at night it drops to 13 degrees.
Medium temperature: odontoglossums, miltonia. It is extremely difficult to provide care for these plants in an apartment. Since in summer the temperature should not exceed 23 degrees, and at night 14.
Heat-loving: Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, Dendrobiums This group of plants always needs warmth. The temperature of the content in summer varies from +17 + 33 in the daytime to + 16 + 19 at night.
When purchasing a plant in a store, many are worried whether it is necessary to water the orchid in a pot after purchase. Experts say from many years of experience that there is no need to water. After all, it is certainly not known when there was watering in the store. Therefore, they wait from 7 to 10 days. Transplanting is also undesirable, because the plant still needs to adapt to external conditions.
Orchid roots do not tolerate stagnant water, so water should be done with caution. Phalaenopsis and papiopedilium tolerate high humidity well, but oncidium and dendrobium like limited watering and only when the substrate is completely dry.
The peculiarity of orchids is that they tolerate drought more easily than an excess of moisture. Good watering is only necessary when the plant is ready to bloom and has released the first flower stalks. In winter, the orchid is practically not watered. For irrigation, use settled water at room temperature. The pot with the plant is placed in a container with prepared water for 10 minutes. And then they leave it on a special grate or in a bathtub so that all excess moisture is glass. They love orchids and warm showers.
Now you definitely can't go wrong with hydration and you will know how to water a potted orchid at home.
Additional nutrition for orchids is needed only at the time of active growth. In winter, orchids are not fed. As a fertilizer, special mixtures for orchids are used. Trace elements are diluted in strict accordance with the recommendations. The substrate must be well moistened before feeding.
The most optimal composition for planting orchids is pine bark. You can collect it yourself or buy ready-made fractions. Collect it from fallen pine trees or directly around growing trees. Before placing the bark in a pot, boil it in water for thirty minutes, then dry it well. At the bottom of the container, it is necessary to put expanded clay and make holes for air penetration, there should be much more of them than for ordinary flowers.
Reproduction of ludisia
Ludisia can be propagated both by dividing an adult overgrown bush, and by apical cuttings or stem segments. When dividing a bush, at least 2-3 shoots should remain on each plant.
When propagating by apical cuttings, there should be 2-3 nodes on each shoot. Sprinkle the cut with charcoal and dry it slightly. Young shoots are rooted in sphagnum, deepening along the base of the leaf. Can also be rooted in water by adding activated carbon.
Dwarf flower transplant
The need to transplant a mini-orchid arises in the first days after buying a plant, especially if it was contained in moss. If the grower is inactive, the plant quickly dies, having survived the store flowering. It will only be possible to reanimate it with proper care. The most effective option would be to transplant a mini orchid after purchase into a soil consisting of fractions of tree bark.
When starting a transplant, it is important to decide on the type of new soil, as well as choose a suitable pot. The best soil will be a fine fraction, no more than 1 cm. It will provide them with lightness and the necessary air permeability. The pot for mini orchids should be 1.5-2 times larger than the previous one. Mini orchid varieties do not like to germinate in cramped conditions and will quickly die if the required container sizes are not met. It is also important to pay attention to the following features:
- If you want to transplant a house plant growing in moss, this should be done during the growing season of the plant (in spring). That is, in order to plant a flower on a new soil, you will need to wait for the period of formation of leaves and peduncles.
- Mini orchid varieties tend to have thin, brittle roots that are easily damaged during transplantation. Therefore, you will have to lower the pot in water so that the soil is saturated with water and separates itself from the root system of the plant.
- An alternative soil for planting is the specialized clay-woody substrate Seramis.In terms of its qualities, it is not inferior to wood material, and thanks to the addition of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, it acts as a biostimulant for Orchids.
The planted flower should not fall out of the container (when climbing to the peduncle). It is located on the west side of the dwelling. South windows will not work.
Transplanting a plant into a closed system
Most often, a mini orchid is grown in a specialized pot.
It is a container that does not have drainage holes. This can be ordinary plastic or clay pots for mini orchids, as well as other plastic and glass containers.
It will be possible to plant mini orchids in a closed system, provided that the soil is correctly selected. It is more expedient to use damaged flowers, whose roots need to be saved. The soil must be specialized clay. It is useful to mix it with bark and moss, or place them in layers.