Orchid Growing & Care Tips
handsome, glossy-leaved orchid hails from low to mid elevation regions
of South America. Of the 15 species of Zygopetalum, many are terrestrial.
With multiple blooms that often in flower for 8 weeks, they make
excellent cut flowers and are used commercially for this purpose.
The pseudobulbs are eventually deciduous. This orchid's generic
name is derived from the Greek term for "'yoked petal,"'
referring to the yoke-like growth at the base of the flower lip.
Zygopetalum orchids will tolerate considerable summer heat as long
as they have mild nighttime temperatures between 50-65 degrees F.
Exposure to cold temperatures (down to 28 degrees F) for a few hours
each night will not damage an acclimatized plant, but once the plant
spikes or flowers, it should be protected from temperatures below
35 degrees F. Always keep these plants free from frost.
Your Zygopetalum enjoys the morning and afternoon sun but should
be protected from hot midday sunlight. A light green leaf with just
a hint of yellow indicates that the plant is receiving the maximum
amount of sun it can take; a dark green leaf indicates that it needs
Watering of Zygopetalum is a delicate balancing act. They should
not be allowed to go dry, yet they don't care for a soggy environment
either. Watering once every seven to ten days is about right. As
with everything else, special consideration must be given for the
drying effects of varying ambient air temperature and humidity.
High nitrogen fertilizers (25-9-9) should be used from February
until July, while low nitrogen fertilizers (6-25-25) should be used
from August until January. Feed one teaspoon to a gallon of water
once a month.
Repot every two to three years from February to June with a well-draining
medium. Fine bark is suitable in mild summer climates, while a finer
medium Orchid Mix works well in warmer summer areas.