This fragile and delicate plant is still little known to flower growers living in the latitudes of Eastern Europe with temperate climatic conditions. And it is not very clear whether caring for her at home differs from the maintenance of cattleyas and cymbidiums often found in flower shops. And the environmental conditions in which most indoor plants grow are also suitable for this plant.
This plant has a slightly incomprehensible name - the zygopetalum orchid. Photos and features of keeping it at home are presented in this article.
South American beauty
This plant from the orchid family is favored by the famous detective Nero Wolfe (fictional hero of novels by American writer R. Stout). A plant with some wayward character could easily claim the title of "Miss Tropics".
Ownercurved, flexible forms, lithophyte and epiphyte - the zygopetalum orchid (a photo of which can be seen in the article). The high adaptability of the plant allows it to feel comfortable both on plants, and on stones, and on the ground. A distinctive feature of this low flower is that it does not develop vertically, like many other representatives of this family, but horizontally.
The main colors of the petals are brown, burgundy, green, purple and white. Another feature of the orchid is that it emits delicate, sweet aromas, especially before noon.
About the name of the plant
The strange name of this flower (zygopetalum) is connected with its structure. In Russian, it is translated as "petal to petal." The petals and sepals of the corolla of the zygopetalum are fused at the base and are interconnected by a narrow bridge.
The plant received its poetic epithet thanks to the characteristic shape of a lip of white-lilac-bluish hues, characteristic of this orchid, similar to the wings of a flying angel.
Spread in nature
In nature, the Zygopetalum orchid grows in South and Central America, but most of the officially registered 14 species grow in Brazil. They live in the forests of Mexico, Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia. The flower belongs to a small Orchid family and has only 20 varieties.
The latter are epiphytes of moist forests located on the slopes of small plateaus and in river valleys. There are among them orchids leading a terrestrial lifestyle and growing on ledges of rocks. Warm and humid conditions are optimal for the development of thisplants.
Most often, the zygopetalum lives on trees, attached to their branches. It can also often be found in the soil, where it blooms and multiplies beautifully. A characteristic feature of the zygopetalum is a peculiar thickening at the very base of the stem, which contains the most important substances accumulated during the growth of the flower. They are essential for plant nutrition.
Further in the article, varieties of the plant and a detailed description of the Zygopetalum orchid are presented.
Types and varieties
In this family, there are not a very large number of varieties of zygopetalum. Since their number is no more than 16, breeders have created several hybrids in order to diversify them.
Here are the most popular and common varieties of Zygopetalum orchids. Home care for all of them is easy.
Maxillare is an orchid with large flowers. Petals are chocolate brown with greenish edges. The base of the lip has a deep purple hue, becoming mauve towards the edge
- Spotted - a very graceful orchid with yellow-green petals dotted with brown-burgundy spots. The snow-white lip is covered with longitudinal purple-violet lines in the form of strokes.
- Shaggy is an epiphyte with a peduncle bearing up to seven fragrant showy flowers with salad-colored petals, completely covered with chestnut-cherry spots. The snow-white lip has purple-violet lines.
- Blue Angel -orchid smelling of black pepper. Compared to other varieties, capricious. White petals become purple-blue closer to the edges. The lip is slightly darker in hue.
- Luisendorf is a plant with a pleasant sweet aroma. The duration of its flowering is 2-3 months. One peduncle has up to 8 buds. Light green petals all over the plane have large brown-burgundy spots merging with each other.
- Arthur Elle Stonehurst is an orchid that strikes with rich dark colors of rotten cherry petals. Almost entirely painted in burgundy and her lip.
- Alan Greatwood - a variety with large extravagant flowers, the petals of which are chocolate in color with a green border. The white lip is covered with merging purple stripes.
- Merlin's Magic is a variety with contrasting shades. Brown-purple spots are scattered on the main salad background of the petals, and a lilac-purple waterfall is scattered on the white lip.
The structure of the Zygopetalum orchid plant is unusual. Its form is sympodial (many growing horizontal shoots) with oval smooth tuberidia (about 7 cm high). From their upper part, 3 linear-lanceolate thin sheets with pointed tops are formed. Longitudinal veins are clearly visible on them.
The peduncle sprouts from a young sprout, about 50 cm long. It usually bears 8 or more flowers with a circumference of about 7 cm, fragrant and waxy. The fleshy sepals and petals are lanceolate, pointed at the ends. howas a rule, they are painted in a yellow-light green color with a painted brownish-purple ornament in the form of strokes, spots and stripes. Their lip is broadly scapular, large, at the base having two protrusions resembling ears. Its edges are wavy. The color of this plant is dominated by purple-violet and lilac-blue patterns on a white background.
Zygopetalum orchid looks beautiful and elegant. Care at home for her is not very difficult.
In order to grow an orchid in a room, it should be planted in transparent plastic containers with enough holes in the bottom to drain excess water. In the process of planting and transplanting, it is important to remember that the base of the pseudobulbs should not be buried in the substrate, since their delicate tissues tend to rot when any adverse factor appears. Air access for the plant is of no small importance.
Like most epiphytes, Zygopetalum feels good in a breathable substrate, which should consist of different fractions of pine bark. At the very bottom, near the expanded clay layer, the largest fragments should be placed, and closer to the surface - pieces of medium size. Given the tendency of the root system to rot, pieces of charcoal can be added to the soil. The substrate can also be purchased at a specialized store.
It should be noted that the Zygopetalum orchid does not need frequent transplants. In addition, she reacts to them quite painfully. It is necessary to replant the plant only when the young sprouts that have appearedreach a size of about 5 centimeters. It is on young shoots that flower stalks appear. The orchid grows its pseudobulb only after flowering is completed, and if the transplant is delayed, it may dry out flower stalks that have already begun to bloom.
Zygopetalum orchid is also unpretentious to lighting conditions. Caring for her in this regard is quite simple. Under natural conditions, the orchid grows in the lower tier of the tropics, to which direct sunlight rarely reaches. Therefore, in the apartment, eastern or western windows, as well as the brightest northern ones, are suitable for her. Too bright sun rays cause burns on the leaves and provoke early flowering on new young shoots, which is undesirable.
The leaf blades of this plant can themselves indicate a lack or excess of lighting: a rich green juicy color indicates normal conditions, a yellowish-light green hue is a signal of the need to urgently move the plant to a more shaded place in the room.
Mild to moderately cool temperatures are a favorite for the Zygopetalum orchid. The maximum optimum day temperature for an orchid is +25 degrees, the optimum night temperature is +14-16 degrees.
Zygopetalum orchid, as noted above, is unpretentious in care. All activities come down to a rational watering regime and proper feeding, slightly different from fertilizing other types of orchids.
During the development of new young sprouts and inthe period of formation of peduncles, the plant should be watered regularly, but with a good drying of the substrate between waterings, but not allowing it to dry out. After flowering is complete, watering should be reduced. Next, you need to return to the normal irrigation regime, and at the time the pseudobulb begins to form, reduce watering. Very often, due to excessive moisture, the orchid refuses to bloom.
There is no need for any additional procedures that increase the humidity of the air. The only exception is the period when hot weather lasts for a long time in summer or dry air prevails in winter when the heating system is operating.
In general, the zygopetalum orchid is not picky. Care methods are only slightly different from caring for other plants. The orchid should be fertilized only during the appearance and growth of young shoots. At this time, top dressing with a high content of potassium and phosphorus is needed. When the first bud opens, these activities can be stopped and resumed only after flowering is completed. In this case, the nitrogen content should be increased in fertilizers. When the pseudobulb is formed, the orchid should be fertilized with a full complex of mineral fertilizers. Next, you should take a break until new shoots appear.
Dark spots on leaves and bulbs
If there is confidence that dark spots are not a decorative feature of an orchid, then you should be wary. The appearance of such indicators of the disease is often the result of a burn from sunlight. Left immediately after watering on a lightwindow sill, plants exposed to direct sunlight can get sick.
If dirty spots appear on the surface of the leaves, and brown dents on the flowers, this is a sign of fungal infection. This is called "gray rot". The orchid does not bypass the viral infection, which can appear only on the most beautiful part of it. In this case, brown or black stripes appear on the flowers.
Flowering and dormant periods
The peculiarity of the zygopetallum orchid is that its peduncle appears on a new young sprout that has grown one third of the height of the mother plant. This new sprout stops developing during the flowering period of the orchid and does not develop until the plant has faded. After withering of the corolla, the peduncle can be safely cut off. This is necessary so that it does not draw from the plant the forces it needs to form a pseudobulb.
It should be noted that if the orchid did not bloom before the formation of tuberidia, then there is no point in waiting for flowering this season.
How to propagate?
Zygopetalum orchid reproduction at home occurs only in a vegetative way. For this, the rhizome is divided during transplantation. A prerequisite that should be observed during reproduction is that each division must have at least one young sprout and three adult pseudobulbs.
The seed method of propagation of the zygopetalum is available only to qualified specialists in the laboratories of greenhouses and greenhouses with the obligatory observance of sterility.
Zygopetalum doesn't like this manipulation very much. They do not like to change their place of residence. Most likely, a transplant should only be a necessary measure. For example, if there is a need to increase the volume of the pot or to replace the old substrate.
It should be noted that it is advisable to change the soil from time to time, as s alts accumulate in it, which the plant is not able to process. Transplantation, as noted above, can be carried out only after flowering has ceased. Pseudobulbs should be handled with care. They must have access to air, so they should not be completely covered with earth.
It is recommended to transplant an orchid no more than once every 3 years in the spring.
Zygopetalum orchid most of all suffers from rotting of the roots and base of the tuberidium when the soil is waterlogged. With small lesions, the orchid can be saved. To do this, it is necessary to reanimate its roots. A rotten pseudobulb must be thrown out so that its rot does not pass to neighboring tuberidia. It is necessary to thoroughly dry a suitable pseudobulb and, if necessary, treat it with a fungal preparation.
Pests: aphids, spider mites, scale insects. The procedures for destroying them are similar to those for other orchids.
One of the most stunning indoor plants are orchids, which are found in almost every home today. It is attractive with a variety of shapes and colors. One of the most interesting representatives of the family is the zygopetalum orchid. Care and transplant of thisthe flower does not require much effort, so it is worth growing. It is special and very beautiful, with an unusual inflorescence.
Zygopetalum has every chance to attract attention and win the hearts of many flower growers. Unusual inflorescences of stunning beauty, a pleasant sweetish aroma, relatively unpretentious methods of care and the simplest requirements for keeping conditions - all this makes it easy to grow this plant in the house.
At home, it can please the eye with its bright colors for 8 weeks.