Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lycaste aromatica

I have been extremely quiet of late; there are quite a few pictures lurking around waiting to be uploaded, so there should be a flurry of activity just as things are quietening down on the balcony as we head into winter. 

Lycaste aromatica is a very rewarding orchid to grow, as it has interesting yellow/slightly green flowers - but the main pay-off is in the interesting cinnamon scent its flowers produce. If you'd like to experience this smell, find the nearest packet of artificially flavoured cinnamon confectionery/chewing gum and give it a sniff - bingo! Of course, a better bet to really experience it is to own a plant of this species...
Lycaste aromatica. 21 Dec 2012

Late last year (Dec 2012), I finally abandoned Nokia/Symbian and moved to Samsung/Android with a Galaxy S3, which has a fairly decent camera, which is what took this image. As I always have this to hand (unlike my SLR, which is usually packed away) expect to see more images from this device!

Most Lycaste orchids are deciduous, including aromatica. This means they lose their leaves during the dry season (which roughly corresponds with winter). During this time, you can basically ignore them, particularly with regard to water. They only need to be watered (thoroughly) once they are in active growth. The first sign of activity will be the flower buds emerging, shortly after this, the new pseudobulb(s) will sprout leaves, which is a fairly good indication the plant might be getting thirsty after a dry winter rest! Old pseudobulbs don't seem to regrow leaves. I quite like the leaves, but they can get pretty large for a small growing area. The psuedobulbs are protected (once the leaves are gone) with some surprisingly vicious thorns, which I commented on and illustrated in a previous post.

There are several good pages about Lycaste online if you'd like to learn more:
As always, the AOS culture sheets give you a good basic overview
A good overview of the entire genus
Some more information about Lycaste culture