Articles About Orchids
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Articles About Orchids
   I decided to help you get in to the spirit by talking about "spiders!" I am sure most of you would prefer not to have spiders crawling around in your home, but I think you might really like my spiders because they are very special. If you are a regular visitor to my orchid pages, you know by now that I have some strange and wonderful things in my greenhouse -- things like Moths, Dancing Dolls, Slippers and even Sticks, so having spiders is not really strange for me. The spiders that live in my greenhouse are the beautiful and very fragrant Brassia orchids
   There are approximately 30 Brassia species found throughout tropical America. They have been called the "Spider Orchids" every since their discovery due to the shape of their flowers. The long, slender sepals and petals stretch out like spider's legs.
   The lip often looks like the body of the spider. A long Brassia inflorescence (flower spike) bursting with blooms looks like rows of spiders crawling through the air. The blooms are usually very fragrant. When my Brassias are in bloom, you can smell them all over the greenhouse!

   Brassia caudata blooms in the fall forming flower spikes over 15" long and blossoms up to 8" in size. This is quite a sight to see! In summer and fall, Brassia lanceana should be in full bloom. Other favorites in my greenhouse are Brassia verrucosa, Brassia maculata, Brassia arcuigera, Brassia signata, and Brassia warszewiczii.

    The largest Brassia species is Brassia gireoudiana which has blossoms up to 20" from the top of their dorsal sepal to the bottom of their . The blossoms have yellow to green sepals and petals which are spotted and barred with brown.
   The plants can get quite large, up to 5 feet and have over a hundred blossoms on many flower spikes.
Brassia gireaudiana
Brassia gireaudiana
   There are currently many beautiful hybrid crosses because growers often use Brassias to obtain the large exotic spider-looking flowers. Brassia crossed with Miltonia is called 'Miltassias' and Brassia crossed with Miltonia and again with an Oncidium results in the hybrid called 'Aliceara.'
   There are also many beautiful hybrids being grown now, such as Brassia 'Huygo' and Brassia Edvah Loo 'Hellis' AM/AOS. The beautiful hybrids of Brassia rex are outstanding, such as Brassia rex 'Sakata' AM/AOS.
   Brassias are fairly easy to grow and bloom. Most will do well even sitting on a sunny windowsill. You should provide temperatures of 65 to 75 oF degrees (18C-21 oC) during the day and 55 to 60 degrees oF (13C-16 oC) at night.
   Supply plenty of humidity (50% to 70%) during their active growth period, which is when they are growing new pseudobulbs and starting to produce their new inflorescence. They have large flat pseudobulbs with two or three large leaves.
   The inflorescence are produced from the sheaths at the base of each new pseudobulb. Keep moist but not wet, do not let them dry out during their growing season, which differs according to the species, or hybrid.
   They love good air movement so I recommend you use a small fan to circulate the air. After the Brassia's pseudobulbs mature (quit growing), let the plant "rest" for about 2 weeks by reducing water the frequency of watering.
   At this time do not apply fertilizer, and lower the day and night temperatures by 10 to 15 degrees. Your Brassias should be mounted on cork bark or potted using a mixture of medium-grade potting mix, 1 part perlite, 1 part coarse peat moss and 1 part charcoal.
   Propagate by division keeping at least three to four pseudobulbs per division. Keep in mind many species of Brassias can grow to very large size (3 to 5 feet tall), so before you buy, make sure you have the room for them.