Lycaste orchids are a small genus of orchids finest recognized for his or her massive, engaging flowers, most of that are pleasantly aromatic. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew acknowledges 31 species of Lycaste, in addition to two subspecies and three pure hybrids. Pure hybrids are created when two species bloom concurrently and share the identical pollinators.
These stunning crops are much less frequent than among the extra widespread genera of orchids, comparable to Phalaenopsis, Vanda, and Dendrobium. Nonetheless, they’re gaining reputation and availability resulting from their easy-going nature. These orchids are nice for breeders and collectors, as effectively.
Lycaste Orchid Overview
The primary species of Lycaste orchid was found in 1798 however gained most of its reputation through the Victorian Period. English botanist John Lindley named the genus for the Trojan princess and daughter of King Priam of Greek mythology.
Lycaste orchids are native primarily to Central America however can be discovered within the West Indies and the South American Andes. They’re adaptable by way of setting and will be discovered from lowland areas to elevations of as much as 6,000 toes. L. skinneri, which is the preferred species, is sometimes discovered rising at larger elevations.
Lycaste orchids have a singular attribute not typically seen in orchids. Some crops are evergreen, like most orchids, however others are deciduous, dropping their leaves and flowering on leafless stems. Some types of dendrobium orchids are deciduous, however as a complete, the household is essentially evergreen.
These orchids are cultivated particularly for his or her flowers, as most orchids are. Lycaste orchids are well-known for his or her flower spikes, which maintain massive, splendidly aromatic flowers. Their blooming interval is throughout winter and spring.
A single plant can produce a number of flower spikes, every producing multiple flower. The flowers are massive (three to 6 inches) and are very colourful and showy. The flowers are triangular and have a waxy texture. They’re recognized for being long-lasting in addition to aromatic.
Lycaste orchids are thought of sympodial epiphytes. Epiphytic crops develop in timber or different sparse environments and derive their moisture and vitamins from the rain and the humidity within the air. Their roots are uncovered to the air. In cultivation, epiphytes want good drainage and air circulation round their roots. In any other case, they’re more likely to rot.
Sympodial orchids develop horizontally alongside a central rhizome, which produces pseudobulbs. Every pseudobulb produces its personal leaves and flowers, after which when it’s spent, the vitamins contained inside the bulb are helpful for the remainder of the plant to supply new progress and assist flowering.
Makes use of
Apart from the vanilla orchid, most orchids are solely cultivated for decorative functions. All orchids are edible, and the flowers can be utilized as a ravishing garnish. For essentially the most half, Lycaste orchids are grown expressly for his or her magnificence and decorative functions.
Most orchids will be grown outside in zones 9-12. Evergreen lycaste orchids want consistency of their local weather, so they need to be stored indoors all yr outdoors of these local weather zones. Deciduous sorts can deal with bigger temperature fluctuations, to allow them to be grown outside and solely introduced indoors when chilly climate comes to go to.
There are three various kinds of commercially obtainable pots made particularly for orchids. These pots have additional drainage holes to permit air to flow into round an orchid’s roots.
- Hanging Orchid Baskets – These wide-slatted hanging baskets do an excellent job of mimicking an orchid’s pure setting. They permit for optimum drainage and airflow to the plant’s roots. Nonetheless, they could be a bit messy, and the potting medium will are inclined to fall by means of the openings, making this lower than best for indoor orchids.
- Terracotta Orchid Pots – These look identical to normal terracotta pots, however they’ve extra drainage holes within the backside and, typically, the perimeters. The clay is nice at wicking moisture away from the roots, so these are nice for root well being.
- Ceramic Orchid Pots – These are by far essentially the most visually interesting and ornamental of the three sorts, and if you’re on prime of your watering recreation, they work nice. Sadly, they don’t wick moisture in the identical means as an unglazed clay pot will, in order that they do are inclined to create the next danger of root rot.
The way to Develop
If in case you have succeeded in rising different orchid sorts, Lycaste orchids shouldn’t be an issue. So long as their wants are met, these are straightforward orchids to take care of. Deciduous sorts might be a bit sturdier and simpler to take care of, however Lycaste orchids are typically not thought of excessive upkeep.
The most popular lighting circumstances for orchids range based mostly on kind. Deciduous Lycaste orchids want considerably extra gentle than the evergreen sorts. Deciduous sorts want the same publicity to orchids within the Cattleya genus, which is considerably greater than most orchids.
Whereas they like the sunshine they get to be oblique, deciduous Lycaste orchids want about 50% shade. You can provide them direct solar so long as it happens through the early hours of the day. To supply flowers, these orchids want a big quantity of daylight. They need to, nevertheless, be shielded from direct solar within the afternoon.
Evergreen Lycaste orchids want considerably much less gentle. These are extra just like Phalaenopsis orchids by way of their publicity wants. In case your Lycaste orchid is evergreen, it is going to thrive in 60-80% shade and shouldn’t get any direct daylight.
Typically, most orchids want their daylight filtered. They develop in timber within the wild, receiving gentle filtered by means of the tree cover. A sheer curtain is an effective way to provide your orchids the appropriate kind of daylight. I discover that mine do effectively on the within of a privateness glass window within the lavatory.
Your Lycaste orchids must be watered extra steadily throughout their rising and flowering durations. Orchids sometimes want their potting medium to dry between waterings, however these orchids like a bit extra water and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out utterly through the progress part.
In the summertime, you might must water each three days to fulfill your orchid’s wants. Be sure that the container and potting combine drain freely, as it will assist stop any fungal root rot from setting in.
Within the winter, after your orchid has bloomed, you may drastically scale back watering. Deciduous Lycaste orchids want little to no water whereas they’re dormant. Evergreen sorts must be watered sparingly. Each seven to 10 days is greater than sufficient through the cooler months.
Orchid roots are delicate and really vulnerable to root rot. For that reason, an ordinary potting combine isn’t applicable for these crops, because it holds an excessive amount of water. Specialty orchid bark is extensively obtainable at most plant retailers. This combination of bark, charcoal, and, sometimes, perlite is a superb mixture for maintaining your plant’s roots wholesome.
For those who want to combine your personal potting medium, two elements bark to 1 half charcoal, pumice, or perlite is an effective place to begin. Simply make it possible for your potting combine drains freely.
When your potting medium stays moist, the natural supplies decay, inviting fungus to step in and make a multitude of issues. Maintaining all the pieces draining effectively is one of the simplest ways to fight root rot.
Temperature and Humidity
Relating to temperature, there’s a distinction between the wants of deciduous and evergreen orchids. Evergreen sorts want decrease gentle circumstances and don’t like excessive warmth. These orchids want temperatures to be constant and keep within the vary of 60-80°F.
Deciduous Lycaste orchids are a bit more durable relating to temperatures and might tolerate far more warmth. As much as 95°F is okay for these orchids. Additionally they tolerate bigger temperature shifts and are high-quality all the way down to 50°F when dormant.
All sorts of Lycaste orchids want a good quantity of humidity. Maintaining the air round them within the 50-80% humidity vary will preserve these crops trying and performing their finest. You should utilize a pebble tray or humidifier to attain this.
I preserve my indoor orchids in a rest room window, as that is essentially the most humid room in the home and doesn’t require supplemental moisture. It is rather essential to keep up good air circulation round your humidity-loving crops to forestall fungus from rising.
Orchids are heavy feeders and like to be fertilized. Throughout their rising season, spring and summer time, give your Lycaste orchids a fertilizer excessive in nitrogen to assist them produce extra pseudobulbs. You’ll be able to fertilize your orchids each two weeks throughout this time, and the plant will love you for it.
Within the fall, as pseudobulbs mature, swap to a fertilizer larger in phosphorus, which is able to assist your plant produce extra and stronger flowers.
It’s also high-quality to provide your orchids an all-purpose fertilizer year-round. A 10-10-10 method diluted to ½ power will give them the required vitamins.
Orchids don’t require common pruning at particular intervals. When leaves are broken or dying, it’s a good suggestion to take away them to assist stop rot. In any other case, these crops solely have to be repotted once they outgrow their container, which must be each few years.
Give these sympodial orchids loads of room to develop while you pot them. Place the oldest pseudobulbs towards the aspect of the container, permitting your plant to supply extra pseudobulbs and develop horizontally. An occasional utility of bonemeal will give your orchids a lift, as effectively. Simply watch out to not overdo it.
You’ll be able to propagate orchids from seeds, however the course of is lengthy, arduous, and requires very particular circumstances. For that reason, most orchids are propagated by division, or keikis, that are offsets that the plant produces.
Sympodial orchids are straightforward to divide. Whenever you repot your orchid, you may merely lower by means of the rhizome, sectioning off clumps of pseudobulbs. Just be sure you depart at the least 4 pseudobulbs on every division, as these maintain vitamins that may assist produce and assist new progress.
Whereas they’re not troublesome to take care of, some points may seem with these orchids which might be just like the problems dealing with different sorts of orchids.
In case your orchid fails to bloom, the perpetrator is normally a scarcity of daylight or a scarcity of vitamins. You’ll be able to regulate these components simply if the plant appears to be like in any other case wholesome. In case your orchid produces ample darkish inexperienced progress however no flowers, the difficulty is said to daylight, and your plant must be nearer to a light-weight supply.
It is not uncommon for the leaves to fall off of the pseudobulbs of sympodial orchids when they’re spent and now not present sufficient vitamins to assist progress. In different phrases, orchids drop leaves, identical to most crops, when these leaves have run out of vitamins.
Some Lycaste orchids are deciduous and can lose all their leaves as soon as per yr, proper earlier than or after blooming. In case your leaves are turning yellow and falling off on the flawed time of yr, you possibly can have a difficulty with bugs or root rot. Root rot reveals up as yellowing on the base of leaves and spreads progressively.
In case your leaves appear to be they’re drying up like a raisin, that’s more than likely what is occurring. It’s straightforward to create unhealthy watering practices with orchids due to their sensitivity to overwatering. It’s a lot simpler to right an underwatering challenge.
Orchids are interesting to bugs that prefer to suck their candy sap and deplete the crops of vitamins and water. Spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and scale are some frequent culprits. Most of those bugs will be eradicated with neem oil or insecticidal soaps.
Not solely do bugs deplete the plant of vitamins, however additionally they depart behind a sticky excrement, which gives the right setting for black sooty mould to develop. Black sooty mould is ugly, however greater than its beauty nuisance, it interferes with photosynthesis.
A number of fungal and bacterial ailments can have an effect on your orchid. Many of those are waterborne and journey from one contaminated plant to a different by water droplets that splash onto your plant when watering.
Good plant hygiene and watering practices are the finest methods to forestall ailments from affecting your crops. All the time clear your instruments earlier than reducing any plant tissue, and isolate any crops affected by illness.
Lycaste skinneri or Lycaste virginalis
Shiny oblique gentle
L. skinneri is the preferred species of Lycaste orchid, and it’s particularly well-liked for its use in hybridization due to its pure white shade.
There are various hybrid types of this species in several shade mixtures, with purple being a standard accent shade. That is an evergreen orchid, so it doesn’t like direct daylight and wishes pretty constant temperatures, making it a superb houseplant.
Shiny oblique gentle
One other common species of Lycaste, L. macrophylla, is known as for its extra-large flowers. Some crops can produce flowers which might be as much as six inches throughout! Their flowers are aromatic, and they’re very long-lasting.
The flowers are so massive on this species that the stems generally have to be supported to carry up underneath the load of those spectacular blooms. This sort wants very excessive humidity and thrives finest underneath shaded greenhouse circumstances.
You’ll be able to in all probability inform from this species’ identify that it’s a aromatic orchid. L. aromatica produces ample shiny yellow blooms that scent like cinnamon once they open.
These are deciduous species, in order that they bloom in spring on leafless stems. They tolerate extra solar and temperature fluctuations than evergreen species, making them a superb out of doors choice.
Shiny oblique gentle
L. tricolor is known as for its tryptic of shades, normally pink, inexperienced, and white, showing on a single flower. This species is normally, however not at all times, deciduous and can tolerate a bit extra solar. When stored indoors, it could behave as an evergreen. The flowers are small and plentiful on this plant, which additionally prefers excessive humidity.
Regularly Requested Questions
They are often, however some varieties are costlier than others. The worth is set by the rarity of the range, with extra frequent crops touchdown within the reasonably priced vary of $25-$50 for a specimen that’s of blooming age.
All orchids are pet-safe, with your entire plant being edible. Consuming a big amount of pseudobulbs might trigger some abdomen points, however past some discomfort, these crops will trigger no important or lasting hurt to an animal that consumes them.
Lycaste orchids are recognized for the longevity of their flowers. It is not uncommon for one in every of these orchids to carry onto their flowers for two months, and infrequently longer.
This gorgeous and sweet-smelling species of orchid makes a beautiful starter plant and a beautiful addition to any orchid assortment. Its ease of care and huge, aromatic, long-lasting flowers make this a extremely fascinating and sought-after orchid for collectors and those that take pleasure in hybridization.