Group : Lycaste
Covers these genera : Anguloa (Ang.) , Angulocaste (Angcst.) , Bifrenaria (Bif.) , Chysis (Chy.) , Lycaste (Lyc.) , Stenocoryne (Stncrn.)

General information for this group :
Most members of this group require similar conditions. They are easy to grow and bloom when provided with the right environment. You can find some of the "sweetest and spiciest" fragrances in the flowers of this group. The initial discussion is for Lycaste and any hybrid which has Lycaste in it's background. For subgroups that have additional information, it will appear under individual headings near the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you can click on the genus name above to take you directly to that subgroup.

Subgroup : Deciduous Types

Covers these genera : Anguloa (Ang.) , Angulocaste (Angcst.) , Chysis (Chy.) , Lycaste (Lyc.)

Description : Deciduous here refers to the fact that these plants lose their leaves on an annual basis. Lycastes actually fall into two groups, those that are deciduous annually and those that are called "evergreen". The evergreen types will be dealt with in the next subgroup below. The period when these deciduous types are without leaves is referred to as their rest period or dormancy.

Light : Medium to bright light throughout the year. They do best in an east or west window or a south window filtered by a curtain. Leaves should be a medium green colour. Yellowing leaves while in active growth usually indicates too much light, while dark green indicates not enough light. The yellowing that precedes dormancy doesn't usually occur until the end of the growing season (September/October), so don't be alarmed when the old leaves are shed.

These plants are often summered outdoors, hanging from a tree branch for shelter. This tends to give bigger pseudobulbs from the ample light and air movement, and hence a lot more flowers at blooming time.

Temperature : Intermediate temperatures during active growth. Ample air movement will help prevent spotting on the leaves. Do not mist these plants. Misting of the leaves will encourage spotting, and possibly rot as well.

During the dormancy period, overnight temperatures of 13 to 15° C should help trigger profuse bloomings.

Media : Smaller plants do well in mixtures of perlite and sphagnum. More mature plants are fine in bark mixes, provided they retain enough moisture during the active growth period.

Water : Keep evenly moist during the warmer months, but allow to approach dryness between waterings during the cooler months. Do not stand the pots in water. A good range of humidity is 40% to 60%, but plants will tolerate lower levels of humidity if necessary.

Fertilizing : Only fertilize plants during active growth. A properly balanced orchid fertilizer (ie. 3:1:3 or 4:1:4) applied at a rate of 1/4 to 1/2 strength every other watering is beneficial from the start of new growth until September/October. This will help to encourage a good blooming on mature plants.

Blooming : Most deciduous Lycastes are quite fragrant, and very floriferous. The formation of flower buds usually coincides with the emergence of new growths.

Subgroup : Evergreen Types

Covers these genera : Bifrenaria (Bif.) , Stenocoryne (Stncrn.), and Evergreen Lycastes

Description : These plants do eventually lose their leaves, but they usually last around 3 years.

Same as for Deciduous Types, except :

  • Bifrenarias and Stenocorynes must have good drainage, so coarser mixes are often better.
  • Stenocorynes can even be mounted on cork or treefern.
  • Evergreen Lycastes should not be allowed to go dry completely, or be exposed to hot and dry air for prolonged periods.

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