Cycnoches have cylindrical pseudobulbs with thin, slightly pleated deciduous leaves.

Propagation: Propagated commercially from seed or by tissue culture. Also can be propagated by separating the pseudobulbs.

Cultivation: Easily grown indoors under medium to low light levels (800-1,000 foot-candles) and at temperatures from 55 to 85 degrees. They are best grown in fine fir bark or New Zealand sphagnum moss. Repot every year when the new growth begins.

In winter, after they lose their leaves, cycnoches require a pronounced dry period (no water). Once new growth begins in the spring, plants should be kept moist and fertilized heavily with a 20-20-20 fertilizer.

Bright light (1,000 foot-candles or more) promotes the formation of female flowers, while subdued light (less than 1,000 foot-candles) encourages the formation of male flowers.

Pests: Cycnoches' soft, thin leaves are vulnerable to spider mites. Slugs and snails will eat new roots and flower buds.

Comments: Cycnoches chlorochilon has the largest flowers (more than 5 inches across) of the genus. The spicy vanilla fragrance alone makes this orchid worth growing. Don't let the cultural requirements (not watering the plant for three months) scare you. This is one orchid with a flower both beautiful and bizarre and a fragrance you'll never forget.