Psychopsis with 38 chromosomes and two pollinia grow epiphytically in wet rainforest and also dry upland forest. The pseudobulbs are tightly clustered, oval, oblong and almost round, very compressed, wrinkled, often dull red. The leaves are solitary and erect. Inflorescences are normally solitary per bulb, jointed and arched, arising from the base out of a sheath, producing a succession of flowers which last approx. 10 days, variable in color and size from inflorescence to inflorescence and from blooming to blooming. Never cut the inflorescence until it is obviously spent as old inflorescences will continue to produce flowers for many years.
The narrow, upright attenuated dorsal sepal and petals are dull to vibrant red-brown often with a narow yellow picotee or with a few yellow transverse stripes. The broad, often downswept lateral sepals are canary yellow heavily marked with irregular transverse red-brown bars. The large lip is three-lobed with a large canary yellow center, bordered by a red-brown band. In addition to the normally pigmented forms, pure yellow forms devoid of the red pigment also exist. Flowering occurs at intervals throughout the entire year and well grown plants will have many inflorescences with more than one flower per inflorescence.
In their native habitat Psychopsis prefer the trunks and branches of trees where they dry out quickly although they do not like to dry out completely and do not require a rest period. Psychopsis are intolerant of stale conditions at their roots and benefit from annual repotting, especially in bark mixes. The roots of these plants are fine and subject to salt burn if the potting medium is not regularly flushed with pure water. Because of their fat pseudobulbs, cultural problems can go undetected until significant damage has been done.
Soil and Water: Exotic orchids grow best when mixing 50% “well washed” medium coconut chips with 50% #3 or #4 perlite. We put one inch of peanuts in the bottom of the pot to ensure good drainage.
Water this growing medium and keep it moderately moist. In most cases you will water twice a week during the cooler months and at least every other day during the warmer growing months. Water early in the day so the foliage will dry by nightfall.
Feeding: You can actually fertilize exotic orchids every time you water. Fertilize at rates of 100-125ppm nitrogen with a balanced fertilizer like 6-2-4-2-1, N-P-K-Ca-Mg. During the warmer longer summer days you can increase this rate to 125-150 ppm nitrogen.
Light: Light depends on the variety of exotic orchid and the time of the year. Light levels can be higher if your temperatures are cooler. In warm conditions your light levels should be lower.
Temperature: Exotic orchids will grow in a wide range of climatic temperatures. You should inquire as to whether your geographical location warrants growing cool, intermediate, or warm growing varieties. Usually exotic orchids have climatic ranges from 55°- 95° F.
Try to grow the varieties which fit your climatic conditions. Give exotic orchids good air circulation and proper spacing for best results.