Small enough genus zygopetalum (Zygopetalum) is directly related to the orchid family. It combines 15 different types. This genus is represented by epiphytes, but sometimes, under certain habitat conditions, they can become lithophytes or terrestrial 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 differs in an unusual growth pattern. It grows with a ladder, while a rhizome (a modified creeping stem) is gradually forming in it, which rises above the soil surface, while each young pseudobulb grows slightly above the base of the old one. Smooth, green, short pseudobulbs have an oval or elliptical shape, while they are slightly flattened. They seem to be in a nest, which is formed by flat and rather wide petioles of a pair of leaves located below (with age, the leaves fall off). On the upper part of the pseudobulb, 2 or 3 petiolate leaves grow. Glossy, leathery leaves have a broad-lanceolate shape and well-discernible longitudinal veins.
Peduncles appear from the lower leaf sinuses. While young pseudobulbs appear, flower stalks begin to grow. Before the new pseudobulbs are fully ripe, very beautiful flowers bloom, collected in few-flowered inflorescences, shaped like a brush. The flowers are pronounced zygomorphic. 3 sepals (sepals) and 2 true petals (petals) have an interesting color and can combine a variety of shades of burgundy brown, green, and purple. In this case, the flowers are both one-color and with a variety of patterns and specks. 2 oval-pointed or obovate sepals located at the bottom, slightly wider than 3-o, which is located at the top and lies on the axis of symmetry. The petals are already of the 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 is fan-shaped with a wide base, and on its surface there is a clearly visible horseshoe-shaped protrusion. Often, the lip is white in color and there are many longitudinal long strokes or purple stripes on its entire surface. In this case, the lip stands out strongly against the general background of the corolla.
Caring for the zygopetalum orchid at home
Representatives of this genus are the most capricious and demanding in the care of the entire extensive orchid family. In order for such a flower to grow and develop normally, it needs to provide conditions that are as close to natural as possible. In this regard, only experienced flower growers can afford to grow such an orchid.
One of the main challenges is lighting. The fact is that different types may require different levels 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 sunlight by shading it. The illumination level should be approximately 5000 lux. It is best to place the zygopetalum on an east or west orientation window. Good shading from the sun is needed on the south window, and backlighting on the north window.
If the lighting is too bright, then this will provoke the 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 develop defective sprouts that cannot bloom next year.
If there is not enough light, then such an orchid is unlikely to bloom at all. And that's all, because the development of peduncles is suspended, and the dying off of the formed flower buds also occurs.
A cool temperature regime is suitable for such a plant. He needs a mandatory difference in daily temperatures. The best daytime temperature is considered to be 16-24 degrees, and the nighttime temperature is about 14 degrees. Moreover, this temperature regime is year-round. However, zygopetalum is able to withstand a short-term increase in temperature up to 42 degrees, and a decrease - up to 3-5 degrees.
In the warm season, it is recommended to transfer the plant to the street (to the garden or to the balcony). However, care must be taken that there is no threat of night frosts while the flower is in the fresh air. On the street, the flower will be provided with a natural drop in daily temperatures.
For growing, both a special block and a pot filled with substrate are well suited. It should be remembered that the substrate must absorb liquid well, for example, it contains finely fractionated pine bark, expanded clay, sphagnum, and peat. The most suitable pots for planting should be made of plastic. The fact is that the roots of such an orchid seem to grow into any porous surface (for example, clay), and therefore difficulties may arise during transplantation.
It is possible to grow zygopetalum 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 must 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
For irrigation, extremely soft water at room temperature is suitable, which must be filtered. Heated melt water or rainwater can be used.
This genus of orchids differs from most others in that it reacts negatively to strong drying of the substrate (and this is what 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, which has a porous structure, which can absorb and retain water. In this regard, if the substrate is overdried, the roots may die. But at the same time, it is worth remembering that liquid should not stagnate in the substrate, because this worsens its air permeability, and oxygen is needed for the root system.
However, there is one caveat here. Over the years, the velamen layer becomes thicker and thicker, as it gradually adapts to the conditions of detention. In this regard, zygopetalums of the same species may have different roots. So, if the plant was grown 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 wet all the time, then this can ruin the flower. If the velamen layer on the root system is very thin, then a prolonged dry period will lead to the death of the roots.
For zygopetalum, it is recommended to keep the substrate in a slightly moist state. So, water should not protrude from pieces of bark, and the substrate should not stick together.
Watering is recommended by immersion method. To do this, the container is filled with water and a block or pot is immersed in it for a third of an hour. After that, the plant is taken out and waited for excess water to drain. Then he is put in his usual place.
Such an orchid needs a high enough humidity. The fact is that in her homeland, even during a prolonged drought, the humidity is not less than 60 percent. The most suitable humidity is 75 to 100 percent. To increase humidity, in addition to spraying, it is imperative to use other methods. At the same time, water in a pan filled with expanded clay, and an open container with liquid placed nearby, will not help much. In the absence of a specially equipped room or orchidarium, you need to regularly use a household steam generator or air humidifier. Flowers grown on blocks are especially in need of high humidity.
Zygopetalum can react negatively to feeding if the fertilizers contain potassium and phosphorus salts, since they quickly destroy the root system. You need to feed carefully. So, it is recommended to fertilize the plant during intensive growth 1 time in 2 or 3 weeks. For this, a specialized fertilizer for orchids is used, while it is recommended to take ½ – 1/4 of the dose recommended on the package. Foliar dressing is also systematically carried out, for example, foliage is sprayed with a very weak nutrient solution.
The transplant is carried out only if necessary, for example, when young growths will not fit into the container. During transplantation, it is recommended to carefully remove completely dried pseudobulbs and dried or rotten roots, which allows you to make the bush more compact. It should be remembered that it is highly undesirable to remove shriveled pseudobulbs, even those that have lost their attractiveness and foliage, because they contain valuable nutrients that the zygopetalum needs for normal growth.
Orchid Zygopetalum. Transfer
When grown indoors, this kind of orchid can be propagated only by dividing the rhizome. It is worth remembering that each division must have at least three mature pseudobulbs. The strips should be left in the open air for a while to dry the slices. Also, experts advise sprinkling the places of cuts with crushed charcoal in order to avoid the development of rot.
Seed, as well as meristem (cloning), propagation is carried out only in industrial conditions.
Pests and diseases
Spider mites often settle on foliage. When it is found, you need to arrange a warm (about 45 degrees) shower, while thoroughly rinsing the foliage. If there is such a need, then a shower can be arranged for the plant several times.
Frequent diseases are a variety of rot (bacterial and fungal), leaf spots. 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 conditions in order to avoid the development of diseases.
Orchid ZYGOPETALUM. And how to look after.
In flower shops it is quite rare to meet the original 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 bears 8–12 flowers, which reach 4 to 5 centimeters in diameter. Sepals and petals are elongated obovate, at the tips they have a not very large expansion. They are painted greenish, while many shapeless specks of burgundy color are scattered over the entire surface. On the white lip there are intermittent longitudinal stripes of a purple hue.
This view is similar to the previous one. However, it differs in that the narrower lip has a purely white wide part, while on the surface of the base, as well as on the remaining narrower area, there are a large number of small purple dots.
On a long peduncle (about 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 the main green color can be discerned. From the middle to the base of the 3rd sepal and real petals are painted in the same burgundy-brownish shade, the second part is green, and there are large brown-burgundy spots on it. The lip has a smoothly changing color. So, it changes from a violet-white - at the tip, to a dark purple hue - at the base.
The peduncle can be up to 25 centimeters long, while the flowers have a diameter of 5 to 6 centimeters. Narrow, almost belt-like petals and sepals have a uniform brownish-burgundy color. At the same time, there are green spots at their base. On the snow-white petal there are streaks-streaks of a blurred purple color.
This species is the largest of all in this genus. It has very long stalks, reaching a height of 0.9 meters, and also has large flowers (about 10 centimeters in diameter). Sepals and petals are similar in color to most members of the zygopetalum genus. So, on the green surface there are a large number of burgundy-brownish specks. The white lip is almost completely covered with many blurry streaks of purple color.
This species is dwarf, so, its length is 15-25 centimeters, and the diameter of the flowers is 2.5 centimeters. The green petals and sepals are covered with burgundy-brownish specks. The white lip has streaks of dark purple color only on the base.
Phalaenopsis is a monopodial plant with shortened shoots and large, fleshy, evergreen leaves that are collected in a rosette. It is from this place that the peduncles and roots of the plant sprout.
Spectacular flowers are located on long peduncles, which, depending on the light, can be straight, arched or branched.
The color of the flowers is varied. Petals can be not only delicate shades (white, pink), but also bright, unusual colors (blue, orange, yellow).
The plant is capable of blooming in any season and lasts up to six months.
Miltonia: species and varieties
Some interesting facts:
- the second name is "Pansy Orchid"
- homeland of Miltonia - southern and central regions of Brazil
- a tropical plant named after the English Viscount E. Milton, who bred orchids and collected a large collection of exotic species
- sympodial epiphyte with pseudobulbs and aerial roots
- long leaves (about 40 cm) the leaves are like belts, the shade is silvery green, darker or lighter, depending on the variety
- the basis of the Miltonia orchid is rather large pseudobulbs, size: 7–8 by 4–5 cm. The dense elements contain a large supply of nutrients necessary for the growth of an exotic flower
- long peduncles (sometimes up to 1 m) extend from the leaf sinuses, at the end of which spectacular buds are formed (from 7 to 12 cm). The shade of the petals and lips is often different, popular colors are purple, white, pink
- breeders have bred many varieties with a varied combination of shades. Miltonia Orchid is considered to be a spectacular, exquisite flower. Further there is a description and photo of several popular varieties.
The shade of the petals is snow-white, yellow, cream, the lip is crimson and white, the diameter of the flowers is 6-7 cm. Delicate bright greens, dense leaves. The flowering period is about a month, the buds appear from August to October.
Long leaves (almost 40 cm), large pseudobulbs (8 cm). The length of the peduncles is up to 50 cm, the number of flowers reaches 12. The petals are elongated, the color is greenish, there are brownish spots all over the surface, the lip is funnel-shaped, snow-white, there are contrasting veins.
Very delicate variety: white, shiny petals, rich lilac lip, large buds, number - from 3 to 7. Abundant, regular flowering. Nice smell.
The flowers are lush, on a long peduncle, the number of buds is up to 15, the size is about 8 cm. Sepals are pointed, yellowish-green, multiple. The flower is like a star. The lip is not wide, the shade is white, the edges are wavy. Long, belt-like leaves. Bright aroma.
The name "Pansy Orchid" is firmly entrenched for the exotic sympodial epiphyte, although only the splendid Miltonia hybrids and the Miltoniopsis species look like delicate garden Violets. Miltonia is more reminiscent of another species from the Orchid family - Oncidium. Botanists periodically raise the question of uniting Miltonia with Oncidium. The Pansies Orchid, when grown, makes slightly less demands on the microclimate than the equatorial variety Miltoniopsis.
How to take care at home?
Before and after flowering, the agrotechnology for growing phalaenopsis is standard:
- good watering
- tropical humidity
- diffused lighting
- regular prophylaxis against diseases and pests.
What to do to make the flower bloom?
If, with proper care, a two-year-old orchid has not thrown out a peduncle, it is satisfied with a little stress:
- stop watering for the next 15 days
- within two weeks, gradually lower the temperature to + 16⁰С.
For most orchids, the temperature difference between the day and night by 5-7 degrees is important. In summer, you can use the natural climatic conditions: it is enough to take the phalaenopsis to the balcony, carefully protecting it from drafts.
Do you need special fertilizers?
To stimulate the flowering of phalaenopsis, it is recommended to feed it with mineral elements.
When buying fertilizers, remember:
- potassium and phosphorus have a beneficial effect on the condition of flower buds
- nitrogen inhibits the development of peduncles.
As soon as the first buds have blossomed, the usual list of agronomic techniques should be slightly revised in order to prolong the process:
- Avoid changing the location of the pot. If it is extremely necessary to do this, then in a new place it is turned towards the sun with the same side.
- Particular attention is paid to the root system. The best option is to grow phalaenopsis in a transparent plastic pot.
- Long daylight hours are important. When blooming in the autumn-winter period, the upper part of the peduncle must be additionally highlighted.
- During this period, the plant is also responsive to a decrease in the night air temperature to + 14 ... + 16⁰С.
Reanimation of Cymbidium
It so happens that a plant has completely rotted away or only a small part of healthy roots remains. If you wish, you can bring the flower back to life:
- the orchid must have a healthy growing point. If the rot has reached her, the plant will not give leaves and a peduncle, it will die
- the roots are cut using a sharp knife or scissors. Pre-tools are disinfected (potassium permanganate solution, alcohol)
- treat the sections with crushed activated carbon
- for 2-3 days, the plants are removed to relieve stress
- then place the bush without roots in wet moss or chopped bark
- a couple of drops of succinic acid are added to the water, orchid slices are regularly irrigated with a solution
- foliage is given on the leaves (Doctor Foley's composition is suitable for orchids).
The resuscitation process is long, but it is likely that, if all conditions are met, in 3-4 months the plant will revive and give roots. Usually this method is used for valuable specimens of an exotic flower.
Tsinbidium is a spectacular exotic plant that, with proper care, will surely bloom and delight with its beauty. Observing simple rules, it is possible to grow a tropical flower in an apartment even for novice florists.