Zygopetalum orchid: home care, types, transplant when buying
Small enough genus zygopetalum (Zygopetalum) is directly related to the orchid family. It combines 15 different species. This genus is represented by epiphytes, but sometimes in certain habitat conditions they can become lithophytes or land plants. All species of this genus can be found in the tropical regions of America, but the largest populations are found in the moist forests of Brazil.
Such a plant is related to the sympodial type. Zygopetalum is not quite the usual nature of growth. It grows with a short flight of stairs, while a rhizome (a modified creeping stalk) is gradually forming in it, which rises above the surface of the soil, with each young pseudobulb growing slightly above the base of the old one. Smooth, green, short pseudobulbs have an oval or elliptical shape, while they are slightly flattened. It is as if they are in a nest, which is formed by flat and rather wide petioles of a pair of leaflets located below (with age, the leaves fall off). On the upper part of the pseudobulb grows 2 or 3 leafless leaflets. Glossy, leathery leaves have a broad-lanceolate shape and well-distinguishable longitudinally located veins.
Peduncles appear from the lower leaf sinuses. While young pseudobulbs appear, peduncles begin to grow. Before the new pseudobulbs are fully ripe, very beautiful flowers bloom, collected in small-flowered inflorescences that have the shape of a brush. The flowers are pronounced zygomorphic. 3 sepals (sepals) and 2 real petals (petals) have an interesting color and can combine a variety of shades of burgundy brown, green, and purple. In this case, flowers are both monochromatic, and with a variety of patterns and spots. 2 oval-pointed or obovate sepals located below, slightly wider than 3, which is located above and lies on the axis of symmetry. The petals of a third sepal. The modified 3rd petal (lip) has significant differences from the rest of the petals and sepals. It differs both in shape and size, and in color. The lip has a fan-shaped shape with a wide base, and on its surface there is a clearly visible horseshoe-shaped protrusion. Often the lip has a white color and on its entire surface there are many longitudinal long lines or stripes of purple. In this case, the lip stands out strongly against the general background of the corolla.
Zygopetalum orchid care at home
Representatives of this genus are the most capricious and demanding in the care of the entire vast orchid family. In order for such a flower to grow and develop normally, it needs to provide conditions that are as similar as possible to natural ones. In this regard, only experienced flower growers can afford to grow such an orchid.
One of the main difficulties is lighting. The fact is that different types may require a different level of illumination. However, for most species, bright lighting is suitable, but at the same time it must be diffused. You should also protect the plant from direct rays of the sun, shading it. The light level should be approximately 5000 lux. It is best to place zygopetalum on a window of eastern or western orientation. On the south window you need good shading from the sun, and on the north - backlight.
If the lighting is too bright, this will provoke a rapid growth of peduncles. Because of this, the growth of young pseudobulbs slows down, and they do not have time to mature well. As a result, such pseudobulbs have inferior sprouts that cannot bloom next year.
If there is little light, then such an orchid is unlikely to begin to bloom at all.And that's all, because the development of peduncles is stopped, and the formed flower buds die too.
A cool temperature regime is suitable for such a plant. He needs a mandatory daily temperature difference. The best daytime temperature is considered to be 16-24 degrees, and nighttime - about 14 degrees. Moreover, such a temperature regime is year-round. However, zygopetalum is able to withstand a short-term increase in temperature to 42 degrees, and a decrease to 3-5 degrees.
In the warm season, it is recommended to transfer the plant to the street (in the garden or on the balcony). However, you need to ensure that there is no threat of night frost while the flower is in the fresh air. On the street, the flower will be provided with a natural difference in daily temperatures.
For growing, both a special block and a pot filled with a substrate are well suited. It should be remembered that the substrate should absorb liquid well, so, it includes the finely fractioned pine bark, expanded clay, sphagnum, and also peat. Most suitable for planting pots should be made of plastic. The fact is that the roots of such an orchid, as it were, grow into any porous surface (for example, clay), and therefore difficulties can occur during transplantation.
Zygopetalum can be grown on a block only in an orchidarium or a greenhouse, since it needs to provide the most favorable conditions. The block can be made from a piece of pine bark, which should be large enough. On the surface of the block you need to fix the roots, and on top of them you need to put a not very thick layer of sphagnum or coconut fiber.
How to water
Extremely soft room-temperature water is suitable for irrigation, which must be filtered. You can use heated melt or rain water.
This genus of orchids differs from most others in that it reacts negatively to the strong drying of the substrate (namely, this is often recommended for other genera). The fact is that on the surface of the roots there is no sufficiently thick layer consisting of velamen having a porous structure that can absorb and retain water. In this regard, if the substrate is overdried, the roots can die. But at the same time, it is worth remembering that the liquid should not stagnate in the substrate, because this worsens its breathability, and oxygen is necessary for the root system.
However, there is one caveat. Over the years, the velamen layer becomes thicker, as there is a gradual adaptation to the conditions of detention. In this regard, zygopetalums of the same species may have different roots. So, if a plant has been growing all the time in arid conditions, its roots will be airy, with the ability to store liquid. And if in this case the substrate is humid all the time, then this can destroy the flower. If the velamen layer on the root system is very thin, then a long dry period will lead to the death of roots.
For zygopetalum, the substrate is recommended to be kept in a slightly moistened state. So, water should not protrude from the pieces of the bark, and the substrate should not stick together.
Watering is recommended by immersion. To do this, fill the tank with water and immerse in it a block or a pot for a third of an hour. After that, the plant is taken out and waiting for the excess water to drain. Then it is put in its usual place.
Humidity such an orchid needs a high enough. The fact is that in her homeland, even during a long drought, humidity is not less than 60 percent. The most suitable air humidity is from 75 to 100 percent. To increase humidity, in addition to spraying, it is necessary to use other methods. At the same time, water in a pan filled with expanded clay and an open container with liquid located nearby will help little.For lack of a specially equipped room or orchidarium, you need to regularly use a household steam generator or humidifier. Especially in high humidity need flowers grown on blocks.
Zygopetalum can react negatively to top dressing if potassium and phosphoric salts are present in fertilizers, since the root system is quickly destroyed due to them. It is necessary to feed carefully. So, it is recommended to fertilize the plant during intensive growth 1 time in 2 or 3 weeks. To do this, use a specialized fertilizer for orchids, while it is recommended to take ½ – 1/4 part of the dose recommended on the package. Foliar top dressing is also carried out systematically, so foliage is sprayed with a very weak nutrient solution.
A transplant is carried out only if necessary, for example, when young growths will not be placed in a container. During the transplant, it is recommended that you carefully remove completely dried pseudobulbs and dried or rotted roots, which makes the bush more compact. It should be remembered that removing wrinkled pseudobulbs, even having lost their attractiveness and foliage, is extremely undesirable, because they contain valuable nutrients needed by the zygopetalum for normal growth.
Orchid Zygopetalum. Transfer
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When grown indoors, this kind of orchid can be propagated only by dividing the rhizome. It is worth remembering that each piece must have at least three mature pseudobulbs. Delenki should be left for some time in the open air to dry the slices. Also, experts advise places of cuts to sprinkle with chopped charcoal in order to avoid the development of rot.
Seed, as well as meristemic (cloning) method is propagated only in industrial conditions.
Pests and diseases
Often a spider mite settles on the foliage. When it is detected, you need to arrange a warm (about 45 degrees) shower, while thoroughly washing the foliage. If there is such a need, then the shower can be arranged for the plant several times.
Common diseases are a variety of rot (bacterial and fungal), leaf spotting. It is almost impossible to cure a diseased plant. In this regard, it is recommended to provide the plant with the most comfortable conditions for its growth and development, which should be very similar to natural ones in order to avoid the development of diseases.
Orchid ZYGOPETALUM. And how to care.
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The main types
In flower shops, it is rarely possible to meet the initial species of zygopetalum, as a rule, only interspecific hybrids can be found there. Below is a description of several main types.
The peduncle has a length of 40 centimeters and carries 8-12 flowers, which in diameter reach from 4 to 5 centimeters. Sepals and petals are elongated-obovate, at the tips they have a not very large extension. They are painted in greenish color, while a lot of shapeless spots of burgundy color are scattered over the entire surface. On the white lip there are discontinuous longitudinal stripes of a violet hue.
This view is similar to the previous one. However, it differs in that the narrower lip has a pure white wide part, while there are a large number of small purple dots on the base surface, as well as on the remaining narrower section.
On a long peduncle (approximately 35 centimeters) there are 5-8 large flowers with a diameter of 6 centimeters. 2 sepals, located below, are almost completely painted in a burgundy-brownish color, while only in some places you can see the main green color.From the middle to the base, the 3rd sepal and true petals are painted in the same burgundy-brownish tint, the second part is green, and large brown-burgundy spots are located on it. The lip has a smoothly changing color. So, it changes from violet-white - at the tip, to a dark-violet shade - at the base.
Peduncle in length can reach 25 centimeters, while the flowers have a diameter of 5 to 6 centimeters. Narrow, almost strap-like petals and sepals have a uniform brownish-burgundy color. At the same time, green spots are located at their base. On the snow-white petal there are streaks of veins of a blurred purple color.
This species is the largest of all in this genus. It has very long peduncles, reaching a height of 0.9 meters, and also has large flowers (diameter of about 10 centimeters). Sepals and petals have a color similar to most representatives of the genus zygopetalum. So, on the green surface there is a large number of burgundy-brownish spots. The white lip is almost completely covered with many blurry streaks of purple stripes.
This species is dwarf, so its length is 15–25 centimeters, and the diameter of the flowers is 2.5 centimeters. Green petals and sepals are covered with burgundy-brownish spots. The white lip only on the base there are shtriški dark purple color.