Chysis bractescens

I potted this in semi-hydro ( glass pot, clay pellets, about an inch of water well below the root level ) I’ve had fantastic luck with the other orchids potted this way.

I’ve read Chysis bractescens should not dry completely out, but let them get drier and cooler in the winter or they won’t bloom in the spring. This one is two years old. I’ve found they need to be kept wet, semi hydro has worked out very well, I’d plant them in sphagnum otherwise. I think bark will be too dry. I keep it wetter than any of my other orchids.

Like all orchids they need a good dose of fertilizer each watering.

No direct sunlight, keep above 60’F. (mine gets some direct sun very early in the morning, dappled light the rest of the morning, house lighting only after that. )

Fragrant at night, spring bloomer with fat canes, self fertilizing, typically grown in a basket. When well cared for can reach 2′ in height.

The leaves should get much longer as it grows 15″-16″ in length, the flower stem to about half that length. The flowers grow from the base of the plant, the leaves near the top of the canes. Older leaves drop off over the winter, sometimes only the roots survive the winter.

Blooms every spring, a few cold nights (55’F) are absolutely necessary to get it going. Newest bud, not yet open, appeared the first week of March. Last year I kept it inside on a windowsill. That’s cold enough for the phals and dends to bloom but not for this plant. This year I put it out in the greenhouse where the nights are much colder and I have two flower spikes.

Central American native first described in 1840. Popular Victorian orchid, I’m seeing it listed for sale more often.

It is currently a protected species. Grows on trees in wet, thick, forest or on rocks ~ 350′-2000′.

Introduced to growers in 1840 by George Baker

Chrysis is Greek for melting. The flowers self fertilize and tend to melt into a clump after blooming