Brassavola Nodosa is a small-sized, tough orchid popular among orchid enthusiasts for its citrusy fragrance. It is a low-maintenance, quick-growing orchid that needs only basic orchid care.
These orchids are not as popular as Phalaenopsis or Dendrobium orchids but they are slowly gaining popularity.
Learn all about its growth requirements from the best care and cultivation guide!
What Is Brassavola Nodosa?
Brassavola Nodosa is a tough orchid species native to Mexico and other parts of South America. It is one of the best indoor plants to grow if the conditions in your home suit it. It belongs to the Brassavola genus and Orchidaceae family.
It is also called the Lady of the Night orchid because of its citrusy and garden-like fragrance. Some of its other common names include The Knobby Brassavola, Brassavola grandiflora, and Bletia nodosa. John Lindley described it first in 1831.
– Size and Growth
Brassavola Nodosa is a small-sized, epiphytic orchid that grows in the low-lying forests and mangrove swamps of coastal areas.
Inflorescences arise from the pseudobulbs that carry a single leaf. Each inflorescence carries six to eight flowers.
In its natural habitat, the plant experiences a heavy rainy season followed by a dry fall.
Follow a similar pattern while watering this plant at your home.
Brassavola Nodosa has thick and compact foliage. The leaf tips develop a bright red tinge when kept in bright light. If they get darker, it means that the light is too bright. Shift the plant to a shady spot if the leaves start turning brown.
The fragrance begins spreading in the early evening and gets stronger over the night. The strong smell helps in attracting the night-pollinating moths. The flowers emit less or no fragrance during the day. The fragrance of this orchid is called “white floral” because of the strong gardenia-like scent.
The showy white and green flowers are about 4 inches across and bloom mostly from spring to late summer. Brassavola Nodosa usually blooms twice a year.
The white-colored lip of the flower has a tube-like shape at the base and opens to form a heart-shaped surface. The diameter of the flowers is about 2 inches. The flower spikes do not reflower, so once they are done blooming you can cut them off.
Brassavola orchids are not too colorful because they are strong in fragrance. You will find them mostly in light shades, like white and pale yellow.
Brassavola Nodosa roots are fibrous and grow well in loose soil mixes. The plant also develops aerial roots which grow well when mounted. Planting these orchids in baskets and mounting them on fern helps the aerial roots to grow freely.
Brassavola Nodosa Care
Brassavola Nodosa care is quite similar to that of Cattleya orchids. Find out its basic growth requirements such as light, water, temperature, humidity, and fertilizer in the next section. However, keep in mind that the requirements will vary according to the prevailing conditions in your area.
Brassavola Nodosa prefers bright light conditions to grow well. These orchids can tolerate direct sunlight if they are gradually acclimatized to it. Ensure high humidity and high airflow with bright light conditions.
Insufficient humidity in direct sunlight can cause the plant to burn and its roots to dry out. Also, avoid watering directly on the leaves when the sunlight is strongest during the day.
Sometimes, when the light is not strong enough, the plant leaves develop black spots on the edges. It could be a sign of mold, which can be treated with garden sulfur. It also means that the plant is not receiving enough light. Shift it to full sun and wait for the red color to develop on the leaf tips.
Brassavola Nodosa has very high water requirements, especially during the active growing season. Water it two to three times a week if the top layer of the soil mix seems dry.
Allow the soil mix to dry out a bit in between waterings to prevent root rot and fungal diseases. Water early in the day so that the plant has a constant water supply to go through the day.
Reduce the watering frequency in winter but do not let the soil medium become bone dry. It should be moist at all times.
– Soil Mix
The Lady of the Night orchid prefers a coarse and loose soil mix that gives its roots enough space to grow and breathe. Coarse fir bark mixed with some perlite or charcoal works well for its growth.
Since Brassavola Nodosa is a small orchid, you will not need large pots to grow it. Ports that are 2 to 4 inches in diameter will work fine. It also grows well when mounted on tree fern and cork slabs. If you want to mount your orchid, use a matured plant. Mature orchids grow better than young ones when mounted.
You can also use only coconut husk or sphagnum moss, depending on the availability in your area. Both help in retaining moisture for longer periods. While planting the plant in pots, make sure that the aerial roots are on top of the soil mix and not inside.
Brassavola Nodosa is a thermophilic plant. It prefers intermediate to warm temperatures. During the day it needs an average temperature of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and an average nighttime temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A drop of 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit at night helps in initiating flowering.
Avoid keeping the plant in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Low temperatures can hamper flowering. In frost, keep the plant in a warmer spot inside the home.
Brassavola Nodosa needs a humidity level above 80 percent to be happy. It can also tolerate lower humidity levels to about 40 to 50 percent. Maintain humidity levels by keeping humidifiers and humidity trays around the plant.
To prepare a humidity tray, put some pebbles in a shallow tray and fill it with water. Now keep the pot on top of the tray and, as water evaporates, the plant will absorb the moisture it needs to grow happily.
Mounted orchids need higher humidity levels than potted ones. In summer, mist or spritz the orchids daily if they are mounted. Avoid mounting them if the air is too dry in your area.
Brassavola Nodosa prefers heavy fertilization during the growing season, from spring to summer. Fertilize it once every two weeks with one-fourth to one-half of the recommended dose on a balanced liquid orchid fertilizer. After the new growths have matured in the fall, reduce fertilizing and keep it once a month.
While fertilizing during the growing period, remember to flush the plant with fresh water once a month to avoid salt accumulation around the plant roots. Salt buildup and mineral deposits can cause root burns.
Use a fertilizer heavy in nitrogen from spring to summer and shift to a phosphorus-rich one in autumn. This will help in improving flowering in the next season.
Repot Brassavola Nodosa when new growth begins to show or immediately after flowering. Avoid unnecessary repotting and shifting the plant. To repot, use a new soil mix composed of thick bark chips or coconut husk mixed with perlite or charcoal.
Keep some lava rocks or gravel at the bottom. Perlite and charcoal help in maintaining good airflow and drainage around the roots.
Remove the old soil mix from the roots before placing the plant in the new soil medium. If the plant was in sphagnum moss previously, remove the old moss. Old sphagnum moss can cause the roots to decay and rot. Cut off the dead roots, if any.
Brassavola Nodosa seeds have been widely cultivated and hybridized for showy flowers. Growing it from seeds at home is not possible. You can propagate only by division. It is common to have a hybrid between Brassavola and Cattleya orchids due to their similarities.
Brassavola Nodosa grows fast and will reward you with showy flowers if provided with proper growth requirements. It is a must in the orchid collection due to its low maintenance.
The strong nocturnal fragrance will make you want more of these orchids. Summarized below are all the necessary points you need to keep in mind before growing these lovely orchids.
- Brassavola Nodosa is a small-sized, epiphytic orchid native to South America.
- It is popular for its lovely white flowers that are fragrant only at night.
- Keep these orchids in bright, indirect light with 50 percent sun and 50 percent shade.
- Water it abundantly during the growing season and reduce it a bit during the winter months.
- Use a well-draining soil mix of coarse and loose bark chips mixed with perlite.
- It is a warm-growing orchid that prefers average temperatures above 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit for proper growth.
- Maintain humidity above 50 percent to keep the plant healthy.
- Fertilize every two weeks with a well-balanced liquid orchid fertilizer during the active growing season.
- Repot the plant when new roots start growing and after flowering.
Is a joy to grow these orchids with pristine flowers and will be a great addition to your houseplant collection. We hope you enjoyed reading our tips and tricks about growing this orchid and you will get one of these for yourself.