Unlike their close relatives Brassia or Spider Orchids, Ada orchids are hard to grow. These beautiful but demanding orchids dwell in cool and misty cloud forests of Nicaragua, northern South America, Andes and Bolivia at high elevations. They also have certain morphological differences with Brassia orchids, including flower anatomy and plant habit, but pollination technique remains the same – due to their flowers, resembling invertebrates, Ada orchids attract pseudo parasite wasps, who pollinate flowers via their habit of paralyzing invertebrates, laying eggs inside still living body to hatch these eggs and to feed developing larvae.
Ada orchids are sympodial epiphytes and lithophytes with pseudobulbs. Pseudobulbs are not as profound as in Brassia orchids, leaves arranged in a distichous manner. And many-flowered inflorescences do not grow above leaves. Unlike Brassia orchids, the pseudobulbs are small and Ada orchids are usually medium sized plants. Flowers are similar in shape but have bright and vivid colors – orange, yellow and so on. Ada aurantiaca is the type species, this small to a medium sized plant has gorgeous bright orange to red flowers, which are 1 inch wide. Ada chlorops’s flowers are 1 inch wide fragrant and bright green with markings. Ada brachypus’s flowers are lovely with orange-brown tepals and white lips. Ada ocanensis has 2 inch wide yellow flowers with orange markings on it. Ada elegantula’s flowers resemble little spider-stars. Ada keiliana’s 6 inch wide flowers are gorgeous – they are fragrant, tepals are orange with brown, and lips are white.
As we said earlier, Ada orchids are difficult to grow. As mountain orchids, they demand quite specific conditions, which are hard to maintain indoors without special equipment. They tolerate cool to warm temperatures, intermediate temperatures are best for them while warm and hot temperatures suppress their growth. The Substrate should be well draining and contain medium bark with some sphagnum moss and cocoa chip. Unlike Brassia orchids, Ada orchids’ roots are delicate, so you should water it carefully and well balanced – both dry and overwatering are dangerous to these tender beauties. The light should be bright and filtered, some semi-shade is also perfectly good for them. Air should be humid with strong air movement, they poorly tolerate dry air, and wet stagnant air can cause rotting. So, unlike Brassia orchids, Ada orchids of Oncidium Alliance are difficult to grow, so you should consider your growing conditions before buying these beautiful and rare orchids.
by Andys Orchids
Ada (Brassia) ocanensis – Orchid Plant – 6″ Pot – indigenous to Ecuador
Ada (Brassia) elegantua – Orchid Plant – Easy-Grower – 5″ Pot – indigenous to Colombia
Orchid genera and hybrids