This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
An inquiry has been made as to the treatment of Brassia caudata, B. Gireoudiana and Brassavola glauca. The two Brassias, though coming from different countries, can be grown in the same way. I find all Brassias impatient under the long rest that appears to be so congenial to many orchids, such as Cattleyas, Laelias and many others. As soon as I find any Brassias commencing to grow, I put them in a warm place, and water them very freely, being careful not to let water lodge in the young growth, which rots off very easily. When they have made their growth, if placed near the glass and the plants are large enough they will bloom, as Brassias are very free bloomers, often making two spikes to a bulb. I find by looking at a list of the time of blooming that Brassias vary considerably. Grow Brassias in pots well drained. Brassavola glauca is easier to grow than to bloom. I find these do best on cork or cocoanut husk, the roots to be covered with moss. B. glauca coming from Mexico, is often placed as a cool orchid, but when it commences to grow in the spring I grow it in plenty of heat and moisture, so as to force strong growth, without which it will not make its large, beautiful flower, which comes in December, and lasts two months in bloom after it has bloomed.
I then keep it quite cool and dry, as I do not want it to start into growth until May, at which time most Mexican orchids should be growing freely or starting. As I stated in a former article, Mexican orchids generally grow in a drier climate than most other orchids. Collectors should be particular in stating the altitudes and situation in which each species is found; also their time of growth and flowering in their own homes. It may be necessary in our greenhouses to alter somewhat the time of blooming, but as a general thing I try to bring each species into flower at the time it bloomed in its own country. A chapter might be written on the roots of orchids. Many such, as Aerides, Vandas, Cattleyas, Laelias, etc, have strong roots, that if not rotted off will last for years, and often have lateral roots break each year from the old ones, besides the new roots from the last formed growth. If these roots are lost, some species do not make new ones freely, and great caution should be taken that they are not destroyed by insects or too much dampness. Other orchids, such as Lycaste, Trichopilias, Maxillarias and many Oncids and Odonts have roots that seem to last only a season or two, and root freely from the new growth.
The roots of Calanthe vestita, Limatodes rosea, some Miltonias, and a few others have annual roots from the new bulbs. The cultivation of orchids is not hard work, but requires considerable knowledge and attention; and orchids that are dormant should be placed by themselves, so as not to get the same water and heat that growing plants require; they should never be put away in dark corners, but near the light, so that the bulb can ripen, for on this the future health and flowers often depend.