General information Sophronitis
This genus brings together about a dozen species of epiphytic or lithophyte evergreen orchids, originating in South America. They have very small dimensions, the flat and oval pseudobulbs produce oval, fleshy, rigid, green leaves; genus tends to shrink, producing dense clumps. During the winter they produce small single flowers or in short racemes, of lively or white color, very decorative, which remain flowered for some weeks. They develop a fairly reduced root system, and are ideally mounted on pieces of bark.
The sophronitis love bright positions, but not in direct contact with the sun's rays; too intense rays can cause burns on the leaves or on the petals of our orchids, compromising their development and growth. These are plants that fear the cold and in winter are kept indoors or in a temperate greenhouse, with minimum temperatures close to 10-12 ° C; they do not seem to like too high temperatures, so it is good to place them in the summer in a well ventilated and cool place.
Water sophronitis regularly from March until the end of flowering, taking care to let the bark dry between one watering and another, avoiding water stagnation or excessively soaking the substrate. After the flowers have withered, thin the waterings until the end of winter, to allow the plants to have a short period of vegetative rest.
The sofronite plants in nature are epiphytic, therefore they grow on the trunk of other trees, to reproduce the natural conditions in the home a substratum is used, made up of quite finely chopped barks, pieces of sponge or polystyrene and sphagnum. In this way it will be possible to provide our orchids with the ideal habitat for growth. The plants should be repotted quite often, at least every 2-3 years, since they tend to produce new stems and new roots, until they fill all the available space.
The multiplication of the orchid is possible during the spring season, when it is possible to divide the tufts of the sofronite by repotting the new shoots that grow alongside the original plant. These plant portions are immediately repotted individually and grown as adult plants. Choose large containers to allow the new plant to develop its root system with ease.
Sofronite - Sophronitis: Pests and diseases
As for parasites and diseases that could attack the sofronite, compromising their development, pay particular attention to root rot and cochineal. The root rot can be prevented by keeping irrigation under control, avoiding that the soil is too wet and damp, waiting for it to dry well between one watering and another. In this way it will be possible to avoid water stagnations that are dangerous for the plant.
To combat cochineal, manually remove the parasites with a glove and cotton balls; in the most serious cases, when the cochineal is present in an abundant manner, prefer specific antiparasitic products. It is possible to buy them at the main garden centers or nurseries.