Lycaste aromatica – 365 days of orchids – day 1596

We are pleased to report that BBC filming for Green Planet is going well with today’s species taking a staring role with its profucion of flowers from leafless pseudobulbs.

It is a shame that the cameras can’t catch fragrance as Lycaste aromatica has a very pungent spicy aroma – a highlight every May in our greenhouse.

Lycaste aromatica is native to Mexico and Central America where it grows as an epiphyte of lithophyte in semi-deciduous forest. It uses its powerful scent to attract euglossine bees (perfume gathering bees) and in common with many plants adopting this strategy has fairly short lived flowers (a couple of weeks).

The native habitat experiences a marked dry season and so the species drops all its leaves in December and remains leafless until April or May. We reduce watering to almost none while there are no leaves but in the summer once growth is underway we water heavily to support the rapidly growing lush leaves. We find that having a couple of shelves in the greenhouse especially for orchids with reduced  water is a very useful thing.

When handling Lycstae aromatica it is worth remembering that each pseudobulb is topped with two razor sharp spines left by the falling leaves.

The species enjoys our Warm Americas section with a winter minimum of 15C


Join the Discussion


  1. Lynne says:

    Hi Simon,
    My Lycaste aromatica from you lost one of its two leaves only last month, and is stubbornly still holding on to the other. The remaining leaf is starting to yellow. There is no sign of new growth as yet, but I’m pleased to say that both pseudobulbs are still nice and firm. With the plant still holding on to a leaf, I’ve not left the plant completely dry and so it gets a light spraying with water once a week or so. Hopefully this is ok? When do you think my plant will realise it’s now spring? I’m definitely not expecting it to flower btw. Lynne.

    • Simon Pugh-Jones says:

      Hi Lynne – not a problem if the plant hangs on to leaves especially when smaller. You have done the right thing 🙂
      Our new growth is now 3cm high and we are watering well but avoiding the new growth

    • Lynne says:

      Thank you Simon for reassurance and advice. I await new growth soon. Looking forward to seeing your orchids on the Green Planet series and very best wishes to all involved. Lynne.