Brassavola nodosa or Lady of the Night orchid
is a great orchid for beginners looking for something other than a Phalaenopsis or Cattleya. The cultural needs are simple and the fragrant flowers are a wonderful reward. The fragrance is faint during the day, but becomes quite strong at night since the pollinator for the species is a moth.
These plants have thin pseudobulbs and lots of long, thin, pencil-shaped bluish-green leaves. The white flower's lip is heart-shaped with long, thin petals. Flowering usually occurs during the spring months.
Brassavola nodosa makes a good windowsill plant and will enjoy morning or afternoon sun. Potting can be in a plastic pot, hanging basket or mounted on a cork raft. The long roots and pseudobulbs need plenty of room to spread. If indoors increase humidity by placing on a saucer of gravel filled with water. You donít want to let the water touch the bottom of the pot, or the roots will remain too wet and will rot.
The orchid needs warm to intermediate temperatures. Fertilize and water on a regular schedule during the growth season. After flowering, let the plant rest for several weeks by cutting back on watering without letting the pseudobulbs shrivel.
These plants will enjoy spending time outside during the warm summer months. Keep them in a shady location and make sure that the humidity is kept fairly high for the plant to thrive. For mounted plants, a pad of sphagnum moss around the roots will help the plant retain moisture. In warm winter areas, the plants can stay outdoors most of the year.