5 Cycnoches Orchids to Consider Growing

Cycynoches are orchids with pseudobulbs and beautiful flowers. Which ones should you consider growing?

Cycnoches is a genus of tropical American plants with 34 species. Often known as Swan orchids, cycnoches are thought to be a taxonomically complex genus.

Cycnoches orchids are an epiphytic genus of sympodial orchids that thrive in the warm, damp open canopy of trees in tropical forests. However, they need a dry rest before they begin to grow new roots. Once the roots are 1 to 2 inches long, the plant can begin a new blooming cycle.

Each pseudobulb grows several spikes that turn into pendulous inflorescences. Each one features 7 to 30 blossoms. Each flower emits a waxy fragrance when its in warm surroundings. The more flowers a plant produces, the healthier it is.

Once the orchid is done blooming, it will go dormant and lose all its leaves. After a strict rest period, it will begin to grow anew.

1. Cyc. chlorochilon

The green-lipped cycnoches can be found in the dry forests of southern Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela at elevations ranging from 1,300 to 2,800 feet. Indoors, it grows best in medium to low light conditions and at temperatures ranging from 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

This variety of cylindrical pseudobulbs with thin and pleated deciduous leaves. It blooms in late summer and fall, with inflorescences producing 1 to 4 flowers. Mos flowers are male, although some can be female.

Both male and female flowers have a diameter of 7 inches and smell like spicy vanilla or bananas.

green-lipped cycnoches against a black background

2. Cyc. pentadactylon

This orchid originated in the wet montane forests of the Amazon basin in Brazil and Peru. It is usually found at elevations of 750 to 1,000 feet.

Indoors, it grows well in warm locations that receive partial light. It requires water regularly, but does not like wet conditions. 

When this variety reaches maturity, over the summer months, it will produce numerous 4-inch-wide, bluish-green flowers with purple-brown markings. The blossoms smell like marshmallows and cotton candy.

Once the flowering season is over, the plant will lose its leaves, leaving only the pseudobulb.

3. Cyc. cooperi

Cycnoches cooperi is native to the wet montane mountains in northern Peru and Brazil. It can grow up to 15 inches tall; its leaves are 7 to 14 inches long and 2 inches wide.

This epiphyte can be grown on cork or hardwood pads as long as there is sufficient moisture. At noon, the light should be filtered or scattered so that the plant does not receive direct sunlight.

This orchid produces beautiful, plump flowers that are 3.5 inches in diameter and have a chocolate scent.

Male flowers are mahogany-brown or coffee-brown, with white lip side lobes and a matte-purple stump.  Female flowers have dark coffee-brown outer petals, a yellow lip accent, and a purple stump.

beautiful cycnoches cooperi orchid

4. Cyc. barthiorum

Cycnoches barthiorum is a medium-sized orchid native to southern Colombia, where it grows near sea level.

This plant blooms late in the winter with several 2-inch broad flowers that emit a fragrant aroma. It produces slender pseudobulbs with seven leaves that emerge in late winter.

Male flowers are bright green or pink with dark brown markings, comparable to male peacocks. The female flowers are a solid green color.

This orchid thrives in a moderate to hot setting with plenty of sunlight. During its growing season, it requires regular watering. Once it goes dormant and its leaves fall off, it needs less water.

A Cycnoches barthiorum with yellow petals and red spots

5. Cyc. warscewiczii 

This species is a warm-to-hot growing epiphyte native to Colombia, where it enjoys plenty of water, rain, nutrition, and sun during the growing season. 

When its massive pseudobulb matures in mid-fall, it produces up to five big flowers and needs no water for about six months. 

Male flowers can grow to be 5 inches in length. Female flowers grow exclusively on very large and very mature plants because only a giant plant can supply the nutrients to and convey the seed capsules.

warscewiczii orchid with leaf looking flowers
Phillis Butler
More ArticlesFlowers and Ornamentals