This hardy orchid is a Cyrtochilum, a reliable bloomer in the Oncidium family. It has spectacular yellow, white, and purple flowers. Dozens of blossoms emerge from long, vining flower spikes, which can extend up to 10 ft. (3 m.) These spikes grow for months, and like to wind around my tall Epidendrums. Blooms as wide as 4 in. (10 cm) develop in clusters along the length of the spikes. These flowers can last over 6 weeks.

Cyrtochilum flowerCyrtochilum flowersCyrtochilum flowers

To grow this variety, place in bright light with some direct sun. Water every other day (more if it’s warm,) and keep in cool, breezy conditions. They enjoy regular fertilizer or a good dose of compost. Keep them drier during winter dormancy.

This species is native to the Andes of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, where it grows at elevations up to 10,500 ft. (3200  m.) At those dizzying heights, it’s no surprise that it prefers temps below 80°F (27°C.) It can survive freezes down to 25°F (-4°C,) but it’s best to avoid such cold temps for plants in cultivation.

Close up of Cyrtochilum flower lipCyrtochilum flowerClose up of Cyrtochilum flower lip

Don’t let Cyrtochilum’s name scare you; pronouncation is easier than you might think. Say “sear tow KYE lum” to rhyme with “dear go by him.” Botanists have been debating this beauty’s place in the orchid family tree for years, so it’s sometimes labeled as an Oncidium.

Cyrtochilum flower budCyrtochilum flower facing upCyrtochilum flower

Explore posts in the same categories: Cool Growers, Dormancy, Fertilizing, Growing, Photos, Watering

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5 Comments on “Cyrtochilum”

  1. Aubree Says:

    I love your flowers! These are really cool pictures. I guess I’ll want to return to your blog again.

  2. italiangirl33 Says:

    Thanks for the nice post. Great pics!

  3. Klara Janssen Says:

    I never really thought to put orchids outdoors to grow. If this one can freeze maybe I can grow it! Thanks for the wonderful pictures!

  4. nancy Says:

    Your so lucky to be able to grow cool growing orchids like this. I could never manage it here with our hot summers. Thanks for the great pictures.

  5. George Werr Says:

    Remarkable flowers.. Thanks for your post.