The Lycaste were named after Lycaste, a beautiful daughter of Priam, the King of Troy. They grow in Central and South America and the West Indies. The white form of Lycaste virginalis, which is often sold under the name Lycaste skinneri, is the national flower of Guatemala.
Usually epiphytic, the two or three leaved pseudobulbs of Lycaste orchids become wrinkled with age. The pleated leaves sometimes last two years, but often drop off before the plant blooms. The single, fragrant flowers, which grow on spikes from the base of recent pseudobulbs, last six to eight weeks on the plant.
Lycaste cruenta has very fragrant two to three inch flowers which have greenish sepals, yellow petals, and an orange lip. The flowers bloom in the spring. Lycaste deppei has fragrant, four inch flowers which usually have greenish sepals, white petals, and yellow lips, all sprinkled with red.
Lycaste orchids can bloom more than once a year. Lycastes prefer cool to warm temperatures and shady to filtered light. More light is needed after the pseudobulbs mature. Keep them evenly moist during active growth and then, reduce water to stimulate blooming. Eliminate water after blooming to allow the plant to rest.
Learn how to grow orchids:
- Orchid Vocabulary
- Temperature Requirements of Orchids
- Light Requirements of Orchids
- Watering Orchids
- Potting Orchids
- Fertilizing Orchids
- Orchid Care
- Propagating Orchids
- Types of Orchids
- House Plants