The Zygopetalum genus contains over 20 species. The majority are terrestrial and rarely epiphytic or lithophytic. They are mostly from tropical South America, Paraguay, Argentina, Peru and Bolivia with the most species found in Brazil. They have large racemes with big ornamental blooms which can be both erect or arching. They are frequently perfumed and produce rounded pseudobulbs with long and narrow leaves. (Cook, Terry. “Growing Orchids in Australia” Golden Press, Silverwater, NSW, 1989).
According to notes about “Cool Growing Orchids for the South East Area of Melbourne” By Craig Trainor (2012), they have “pretty and perfumed flowers, with dramatic colour contrasts in blue, purple, white, lime green, chocolate. Best growing conditions include 70% shade. They are good flowerers in correct conditions”.
The following information is provided on The Cultivation of Zygopetalums by Alan Hope
Zygopetalums prefer a cool, moist environment, similar to that enjoyed by cymbidiums. An open potting mix of well-weathered medium size pine bark is suitable, as is also any well draining and open cymbidium mix. While Zygopetalums tolerate low temperatures they appreciate some protection from the cold, wet days of winter. Provide a covering and keep the plants on the dry side over winter, as this approximates the rest period (time of least growth) in their natural habitat.
Zygopetalums require bright light (50% shadecloth) but not strong sunshine, otherwise their leaves will burn. They also do well in an open, airy position, which reflects their natural epiphytic habit, growing either on tree branches or attached to ferns. They should be watered well during their active growth period in summer and appreciate small and frequent applications of liquid fertiliser.
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The following link to cultural notes on How to Grow Zygopetalums. Here is an excerpt from these notes on Watering:
“The potting mix must not be allowed to become excessively dry, and frequent watering, especially in summer, produces best results. However in winter, which corresponds to the rest period (time of least growth) in their natural habitat, the plants should be kept fairly dry. Water no more often than once each week at this time and avoid wetting the foliage to reduce the occurrence of leaf spotting.”
These notes are kindly provided by the North-East Melbourne Orchid Society, who like SSOS are part of the Orchid Societies Council of Victoria (OSCOV) Website. This article can be located under the section Articles.
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