The genus Chysis includes about six species of epiphytic orchids, originating in 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, they dry up at the arrival of the autumn cold, are elongated, and of an intense green color. In late spring from the sides of the pseudobulbs of the previous year grows a fleshy stem, 20-30 cm long, slightly arched, on which 5-7 flowers bloom, quite large and fleshy, white in color, with a golden yellow labellum; some species may also have pink or orange flowers. During the day the flowers give off a delicate fragrance.
For a correct cultivation of Chysis orchid plants it is advisable to keep in a shady but slightly bright place, avoiding direct sunlight at any time of the year, to prevent the leaves from presenting dangerous burns.
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.
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 the water stagnation that is the triggering cause of radical rot that can even lead to the death of plant. When the leaves fall, suspend the waterings, which will resume as soon as the manifest plant begins to produce new shoots. During the vegetative period it is good to vaporize the plant often with preferably non-calcareous water and to provide specific fertilizer for orchids every 15-20 days.
Chysis orchids are grown in soil for epiphytic plants, consisting of bark fragments mixed with perlite granules, pumice stone and bits of charcoal or sphagnum. These plants tend to have an elongated, arched or prostrate growth, which makes them very suitable for cultivation 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 support, to maintain the correct degree of humidity, necessary for the well-being of the orchids.
The multiplication takes place by division of the tufts of pseudobulbs; the portions practiced must have at least a couple of well-developed roots, to ensure their attachment. They should be placed in a substrate suitable for adult orchids, composed of pieces of bark and sphagnum, mixed with perlite or charcoal, so as to have a light and draining support.
Chysis: Pests and diseases
Orchids can be attacked by cochineal and mites; a cultivation in conditions of stagnant water can favor the development of radical rots. 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 on the leaves.