The Chysis genus includes about six species of epiphytic orchids, native to Central and South America; they have fleshy pseudobulbs, completely enveloped by the lower part of the leaves, they tend to produce new shoots every year, forming small groups of pseudobulbs. The leaves are deciduous, dry when the autumn cold arrives, are elongated, and have an intense green color. In late spring from the sides of the pseudobulbs of the previous year a fleshy stem grows, 20-30 cm long, slightly arched, on which 5-7 flowers, quite large and fleshy, of white color, with golden yellow labellum bloom; some species may also have pink or orange flowers. During the day the flowers give off a delicate scent.
For a correct cultivation of Chysis orchid plants it is advisable to keep in a shady, but slightly bright place, avoiding direct sun at any time of the year, to avoid dangerous burns on the leaves.
These orchids fear the cold and the ideal minimum temperature is close to 13-15 ° C. In summer, if desired, they can be placed outdoors, in a shady and well-ventilated place.
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From March to October, water abundantly and regularly, even every day during the hottest months of the year, letting the water drain from the container, and always avoiding water stagnation which are the triggering cause of root rot which can also lead to the death of the plant. When the leaves fall, stop watering, which will resume as soon as the plant manifests itself to start producing new shoots. During the vegetative period it is good to vaporize the plant often with preferably non-calcareous water and to supply specific fertilizer for orchids every 15-20 days.
Chysis orchids are grown in soil for epiphytic plants, consisting of fragments of bark mixed with granules of perlite, pumice stone and bits of coal or sphagnum. These plants tend to have an elongated, arched or prostrate development, which makes them very suitable for growing on large pieces of bark or in hanging baskets. It is good to remember that plants mounted on bark need more regular and abundant watering than other plants, with a vaporization of the roots and of the support, to maintain the correct degree of humidity, necessary for the well-being of the orchids.
The multiplication occurs by division of the tufts of pseudobulbs; the portions practiced must have at least a couple of well developed roots, to guarantee their rooting. They should be placed in a substrate suitable for adult orchids, composed of pieces of bark and sphagnum, mixed with perlite or charcoal, in such a way as to have a light and draining support.
Chysis: Parasites and diseases
Orchids can be attacked by scale insects and mites; a cultivation in conditions of stagnant water can favor the development of root rot. To eliminate the parasites use a cloth with alcohol to pass on the leaves or, in case of widespread attack, use specific products, taking care to spread them only on the leaves.