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Brassavola Orchids – The Most Complete Guide

Brassavola is a genus of small orchid species, characterized by a beautiful whitish color in its main flower. It is one of the orchids that we can grow at home and that resembles the famous Cattleyas distributed throughout South America. If you are looking for information about Brassavola Orchids we will explain everything you need to know.

One of the most popular species of Brassavola Orchids is known as the Lady of the Night Orchid, without a doubt, a spectacular plant that not only stands out for its beauty. In The Garden Style you will learn the general characteristics of this plant, where it is distributed, and the varieties of Brassavola Orchid species that exist.

It is one of the recommended options for cultivation since it does not require much attention and is easy to propagate. If you want to have a Brassavola you must know all the details about it, so you can adjust the environment according to the conditions of its natural habitat and have as a result a healthy orchid.

What are Brassavola Orchids?

Most Brassavola orchids are epiphytic plants, but some specimens are known to have semi-terrestrial habits, which means that they are lithophytic plants. As mentioned, this genus of orchids is made up of a small group of species, it is said that approximately 18 to 20 specimens. Likewise, in nurseries and orchid stores we can find a variety of hybrids of this type of plant.

An interesting aspect of orchids is that the names they acquire are a tribute to the most important botanists of the time, in this case, they are called Brassavola Orchids in the representation of the famous Italian physician and botanist Antonio Musa Brassavola. However, this genus was discovered and particularly detailed by the botanist Robert Brown.

The Lady of the night is a species belonging to this genus, scientifically known as Brassavola nodosa, an epiphytic plant that received this name because of its particular scent. Recall that orchids are famous for the animal-like shape of their flowers and fragrance, in this case, this Brassavola at nightfall leaves protruding a trapping aroma for both insects and orchid lovers.

Brassavola orchids are the ideal plants for decorations in any place since they have a long life span. This is considered a favorable aspect for this genus of orchids, remember that they usually have short blooms that we cannot enjoy as long as we would like, but this is not the case with Brassavola Orchids. Although for this to happen we must ensure a good habitat adapted to their needs.

Many experts consider them to be the ideal orchids for beginners, this is due to their basic care and their great resistance to heat exposure. In addition, Brassavola Orchids can be found anywhere and are not endangered. Wonderful!

what are brassavola orchids

Brassavola Orchids Characteristics

Brassavola orchid genera are plants that grow on other plants, usually trees. The main characteristic of epiphytic orchids is that they seek the highest part of the trees, they feed on humidity and do not feed on the plant. They are not parasitic plants, since they only use the plant as a support for their development and do not cause any damage to it.

There are also some specimens of the lithophyte class, although they are one of the rarest species of this genus. The lithophyte orchids live on rocks on top of the mosses that form on them, so it is common to find them on the banks of rivers or streams. They are also nourished by the humidity and rain of the environment and absorb some nutrients from the surface where they are found.

Brassavola orchids have pseudobulbs, a storage organ that can reach 12″ (30 cm) in length and is characteristic of some species of epiphytic orchids. The pseudobulbs will absorb nutrients so that in case of drought they will serve as a backup for the orchid, these are characterized by being narrow and are easy to identify in this genus.

As for its leaves, they have an elongated and pointed shape that can be distinguished with the naked eye, they have a fleshy texture and measure about 6″ or 8″ (15 cm or 20 cm) depending on the species. These leaves are located on the pseudobulbs, which are characterized by their small size.

Brassavola reproduction takes place during the night or late afternoon, one of the reasons why its aroma is more intense during that time. However, there is one of the best-known species of this genus that will die immediately when pollinated by insects, since its flowers will close.

brassavola orchids characteristics

The Flowers of Brassavola Orchids

If you are a lover of white orchid flowers then you will love Brassavola Orchids, it is one of the genera that can bloom at any time of the year whether it is hot or cold, and has long blooms that last up to three weeks, almost a month.

It is a plant that can give small blooms of 1.2″ (3 cm), but it can even measure up to 5″ (12 cm).  You will appreciate its flowers in clusters and its petals are particularly long which gives it a characteristic shape to this genus. In addition, the labellum contains 8 pollen masses that are located in the column of the plant.

All Brassavola Orchids have a scent that becomes more intense at night, many people describe the fragrance as sweet and citrusy at the same time. A great choice if you like to set the rooms with the scents of orchids. Learn more about How to Get an Orchid to Bloom Again.

flowers brassavola orchids
Flowers of Brassavola Orchids.

Where Brassavola Orchids Can Be Found?

Brassavola Orchids are distributed throughout South and Central America, mainly in Mexico and Venezuela where we can find a variety of species. In Honduras, one of the Brassavola species was named the National Flower of the Mexican Orchids and Venezuelan Orchids.

They are generally plants that live in dry forests where there is abundant tree vegetation and in very humid forests. In addition, they can withstand long droughts, which is why they are easy to cultivate.

Brassavola Orchids Varieties

The following are some of the varieties of Brassavola orchids:

Brassavola tuberculate

One of the orchids that inhabit tropical rainforests, it has a main white flower accompanied by a yellowish hue. Its stem is elongated and it is epiphytic.

Brassavola chives

One of the best-known species is the Brassavola cebolleta, it is easy to grow and is characterized by dying after pollination during the night.

Brassavola martiana

It is an epiphytic orchid that has a short inflorescence, its flowering takes place in the summer. Its flowers are whitish and are found in Brazil.

Brassavola venosa

The Brassavola is distributed in Central America, it is characterized mainly by a mature pseudobulb that emerges during the spring and its leaves are broad.

Brassavola glauca

It inhabits the tropical zones of Mexico and Guatemala, its aroma is more intense concerning other Brassavola species and its stems are characterized by being short.

Brassavola cucullata

The epiphytic orchid cucullata has an elongated shape in its leaves, its flowers are greenish and very small. It is distributed in Honduras and Mexico.

Brassavola nodosa

Brassavola nodosa is one of the most beautiful species of this genus, it is striking for its aroma, its leaves are fleshy and its flowers are white (Order here).

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Brassavola retusa

This orchid is characterized by its greenish petals, it is a plant that can be epiphytic or lithophytic. Its leaves are dark and the pseudobulbs are small.

Brassavola fragans

The Brassavola fragans orchid is one of the most difficult species of this genus to find, its leaves are pendulous and its flowers are white.

Brassavola digbyana

This particular species was named the National Flower of Honduras, it is an epiphyte plant and has similarities with the Cattleyas genus.

Brassavola subulifolia

Brassavola subulifolia is an epiphytic orchid with racemose inflorescence, it is characterized by 6 white flowers and is distributed in Jamaica.

Brassavola acaulis

An orchid that inhabits the humid forests, its flowers are of medium size and are distributed mainly in Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica. Learn more about the Orchids of Costa Rica.

Brassavola flagellaris

Brassavola flagellaris is an epiphytic orchid with white flowers, wide labellum, and long-stemmed inflorescence. In addition, it flowers all year round.

Brassavola hybrids

Remember that orchid hybrids are not as hardy and habitat conditions may vary according to the mix. Here are some of the most popular Brassavola Orchid hybrids.

  • Casaora
  • Estelera
  • Brassocattleya
  • Lowara
  • Little Star (Order here).

Now that you know all the varieties of the Brassavola Orchid genus, which one is your favorite? Choose those species that are easy to grow and have longer longevity.

How To Care for And Grow Brassavola Orchids

In The Garden Style we show you how to care for and grow Brassavola Orchids, they are resistant and long-lasting plants. Besides, you won’t have to worry about their care since it is simple and they withstand long droughts. We recommend you keep the following tips in mind:

how to care brassavola orchid

How To Grow Brassavola Orchids

Brassavola orchids are resistant to changes in temperature, to achieve the cultivation of these plants it is necessary to know the essential aspects of their natural habitat such as; lighting, watering frequency, and all the preventive measures to avoid diseases of our orchid. As they are epiphytic plants we recommend cultivating them in a transparent pot. Learn more about Best Pots for Orchids.


Unlike other orchids, Brassavola resists direct sunlight exposure.  You can grow it in the garden where it receives the necessary amount of light, however, you should evaluate the condition of its leaves. This factor will allow you to determine if it is receiving adequate light where you place it, if so you will notice a light green color in them.


Brassavola are orchid genera that grow and bloom rapidly, a key factor contributing to their development is temperature. Since they are plants that are distributed in tropical zones, the appropriate temperature is between 65 °F and 75 °F (18°C and 24°C), at night it is recommended not to drop below 50 °F (10°C).


Most Brassavola orchids are epiphytic plants so it is recommended to use a substrate of pine bark with coconut fiber and charcoal. In the stores you can ask for a special substrate for this type of orchid, it is important to keep in mind that it should be changed from time to time depending on the orchid’s condition. Learn more about Best Soil for Orchids.

Watering Frequency

The humidity of orchids is necessary for their development, 60% humidity for Brassavola orchids is the most advisable. Therefore, we advise a weekly watering frequency or twice a week at the most, verify that the roots of your plant are healthy and that its leaves are not cracked or have different coloration.

Brassavola Orchids Pests and Diseases

The most frequent pests in Brassavola Orchids are fleas, which bring as a consequence a variety of fungi that could kill our plant. Also, mites, which are small red or black animals. Orchid diseases can be due to excess fertilizer or weekly watering which rots the roots.

These are some of the cares that you should keep in mind when buying an orchid of the Brassavola genus. Also, if you have any doubt we have complete articles for the integral care of orchids.

Brassavola Orchids Pictures and Images

These are some photos and images of the Brassavola Orchid genus, find your favorite species and grow them at home:

Brassavola Orchids is a small, but beautiful genus of orchids that are distributed in a variety of locations in tropical areas. In this content you will learn all about them, their characteristics, care for correct and fast development.

I hope that in this content you have found what you needed. Tell us! Would you buy a Brassavola Orchid?

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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