The genus of Broughtonia orchids, native to the Canary Islands and the Bahamas, includes about twenty species, epiphytes, of which several hybrids have been produced. The plants are usually small, the flattened pseudobulbs produce oval leaves, elongated, slightly fleshy, of pale green colour, which develop alternately along a cylindrical stem; in spring, from the stem develops a long arched spike, on which some large flowers bloom.
The broughtonias bloom in shades of pink, lilac and yellow; there are many hybrids with bright colors, from white to deep purple. The flower is very striking, with elongated petals and a very wide lip, in the same colour as the petals.
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Broughtonia prefer bright positions, but not directly exposed to sunlight because, especially on hot days, they can cause burns to the leaf apparatus.
They can bear temperatures close to 10-12°C, but the ideal temperature for cultivation is close to 15-18°C, therefore they are plants to be grown in a house or in a temperate greenhouse. It is possible to place them outdoors during the summer season, but taking care to place the Broughtonia orchids in a space sheltered from direct sunlight.
- Some species of orchids have very special flowers, with a curved labellum, closed to form a kind of shoe; orchids with cup-shaped lips belong to three main genus of orchids.
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- The genus Laelia includes about 50-60 species of orchids, mainly epiphytic, native to Central America, very similar to the cattleya. These varieties form dense tufts of pseudobulbs, which are often found in the…
From March to October, water the Broughtonia regularly, letting the soil dry between one watering and the other; in the remaining months, water sporadically. During the period of greatest vegetative development, provide fertilizer every 15-20 days, using a specific fertilizer for orchids. It is essential to ensure the right level of humidity to the plant, but not to exceed with the supply of water, as orchids of this type do not tolerate water stagnation.
These plants are epiphytes, meaning that in nature they grow with aerial roots resting on other plants, so it is important to provide the right amount of water to the roots without exaggeration.
These orchids, being epiphytes, need a light and incoherent soil which acts as a support for the aerial roots; small pieces of bark, coconut fibre, polystyrene and sphagnum are utilized. Due to the relative water needs, the broughtonia grow better also when mounted on portions of bark. For a balanced development, we suggest to repot the plants every 2-3 years, to replace the substratum which, in the course of the time, tends to degrade and to give the plants a more suitable support.
The reproduction of these orchids takes place by division of the tufts, at the end of winter or after the flowering; the new plants thus obtained are placed directly in a single container, using the same substratum recommended for adult plants. It is good to keep the new plants in a sheltered and protected place where there are no dangerous climatic changes.
Broughtonia: Pests and Diseases
They fear the attack of cochineal and aphids, if possible it is good to avoid the use of insecticides, removing the insects manually, using a cloth or a cotton ball with alcohol to pass on the affected leaves.
It is also important to control the degree of humidity, to avoid that an excess of water can lead to the onset of dangerous root rot.