Zygopetalum orchids are very fragrant in nature, and can fill an entire room with their sweet scent.
They present appealing waxy-looking blooms, the colors of which vary. They usually appear with green and brown stripes with a velvety lip, and may also have indigo, purple, maroon or fuchsia marks.
Zygopetalum orchids have long and glossy leaves. They can grow up to 2 feet tall and their inflorescence typically grows much taller than their leaves.
Zygopetalum orchids need cool to intermediate temperatures. For daytime, their ideal temperatures is around 70°F to 80°F (21.1°C to 26.6°C), and at night, a temperature of 50°F to 60°F (10°C to 15.6°C) is best.
It is not recommended to grow Zygopetalums outdoors if you are from a place with warm nighttime temperatures. However, these orchids can survive temperatures of up to 85°F (29.4°C).
The important thing is to water them frequently, ensuring that they do not dry out. Avoid extended exposure to hot and cold temperatures because they can acquire disease.
In order for Zygopetalum orchids to thrive, they require bright yet indirect light intensity. You can observe a yellow-green color on their leaves if they are receiving the ideal amount of light. If they lack light, their leaves will usually turn very dark green. This can also cause the plant to fail to bloom.
Indoors, your best area for growing Zygopetalum orchids is on a south facing window that is shaded. An east facing windowsill also works as long as the orchid does not receive direct sunlight, which can cause damage or sunburn.
Water and Humidity
Water your Zygopetalum orchids more frequently during the warmer months and less frequently during the cooler months, but never let them dry out completely.
Zygopetalum orchids require humidity levels of around 40-60 percent. If you can’t reach these levels, you can opt to put an oscillating fan near the orchid or to utilize a humidifying tray.
Always take note of proper air movement--it’s critical for your Zygopetalum’s growth.
During active growth periods, Zygopetalum orchids must be fertilized using a half-strength solution every other watering. Outside of these periods, once a month is sufficient.
You should only fertilize your Zygopetalum orchids when their potting medium gets damp--fertilizing while dry leads to root damage. Check your Zygopetalum orchid’s tips every so often. If they start to turn black, this means that there is a buildup of fertilizer. Flush this out once a month in order to avoid damage to roots or leaves.
A Zygopetalum orchid must be repotted once each year or two. You should also check if the potting remains soggy or fails to drain properly. This would be a sign to repot. An ideal mixture is composed of coconut chips, perlite and bark.
Zygopetalums can be divided as long there are at least 3 pseudobulbs in each division. You can place each division on an individual pot using a fresh potting medium.
Good news! A Zygopetalum is easy to grow. Let's listen to Brad on how to pot, water, and rebloom this stunning orchid.