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Advice needed on Zygopetalum

Posted by Newbie389 6B (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 9:27

Help! My friend just gave me a Zygopetalum orchid and I'm not familiar with this type of orchid since I've only grown Phalaenopsis orchids. Any advice on how to alter my standard Phalaenopsis care for the Zygopetalum? I only have western facing windows. I've tried searching the web, but found conflicting information. Thank You

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Advice needed on Zygopetalum

Newbie, what info are you concerned about that you find conflicting

RE: Advice needed on Zygopetalum

I've found conflicting information about light requirements and whether or not a terra cotta pot would be appropriate.

RE: Advice needed on Zygopetalum

Hi Newbie,

I am not an expert, but I can tell you about my Zygopetalum that I've had for about 5 months, which is doing alright here in coastal southern california.

This is my most chill and least dramatic orchid that I have -- it just does its thing, it doesn't seem to care when I water it, doesn't lose leaves or do other adverse things. When I brought it home from the grower, the buds on its two spikes never opened, and I had to cut them off... but it has not shown any signs of trauma since then. In fact it is growing a new pseudobulb and new roots.

The light I give it is probably best described as medium; it is about 8 feet from two large south-facing windows and only gets direct sunlight for maybe 30 minutes early in the morning during sunrise. It is similar to the light that my phals that are spiking have been getting, maybe even slightly less light on average than the phals.

During the winter, I was watering it once every 10-14 days, but since it started growing a new pseudobulb (looks like a stack of leaves for now) in early february I have upped the watering, so now I water about once every 5-7 days.

Don't take the watering habits I describe as guidelines, because what you should do to your plant varies with the potting mix and the climate. The climate here is extremely temperate (with the windows open the temperatures fluctuate between 60 and 70, rarely lower or higher), and the plant is in a very fine bark mix that almost looks like soil. You are in a slightly cooler zone so you may need to be more careful about temperature fluctuations and watering, especially if you have indoor heating going frequently.

The guideline for watering that I've tried to follow is -- during the winter when the plant is dormant, let it dry out between waterings; other times, when it's growing or flowering, make sure the medium never fully dries out. I am not sure if that's the best advice--I also found conflicting advice about zygopetalum care online--but it has been working for me.

Aside from the slightly more attentive watering (and remember, zygos, like phals, do not like to be sopping wet; just moist) in my climate this plant has not required any different care from my phals.

RE: Advice needed on Zygopetalum

zygopetalums are often grown with cymbidiums in Southern California. Zygopetalums like their "feet cool." Medium filtered sun. Good air movement. Not really a companion with phalaenopsis. Most zygopetalums are terrestrial orchids (like cymbidiums). They like moist but not wet medium. They like night temps in the mid 50s and low 60s. And daytime temps can go upwards to 80. Somewhat cool weather plants, and do need a seasonal cooling period during the winter (like cymbidiums) for them to bloom (again, night temps down in the 50s, but not hardy at with frost).

RE: Advice needed on Zygopetalum

Zygos are native to this area and are terrestrial. They are mostly found in mountain areas on the south (shady) side but are in full sun during summer in many cases. They like cool, fresh air. I have not found a suitable medium for them and found them very prone to rot, which suggests I have been keeping them too wet. I think if I were to try again I would use a very coarse stone and clay pellet mix and keep them very dry in winter. Bark is no good. Good luck - Ian.

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