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Cattleya Miltoniopsis Odontaglossum/Oncidium
Paphiopedilum Phalaenopsis Phragmipedium Zygopetalum

History: Sir William Hooker first described this genus in 1827 from a plant given to him by Mr. Mackay of Brazil. The name refers to the shape of the lip, the basal part which is very swollen and resembles a yoke that links together the two petals. Greek zygon=yoke and petalon=petal
There are 18 species of Zygopetalum, most of them being terrestrial and few epiphytic. The area of distribution is the entire northern part of South and Central America. The majority of species occur in Brazil at higher elevations.

Humidity and Watering

Zygos. thrive on abundant and regular watering. Good watering once a week should be sufficient for plants in larger containers. When plants have finished growing towards the end of summer in August you can give them a 2-3 week rest, and at that time it is only necessary to spray the compost so that it does not dry out too much. In the plants native habitat, this is the season of drought a condition essential for inducing the inflorescence.


Zygopetalums need filtered light or moderate shading or morning sun. Full sun in the afternoon can be harmful and will burn the foliage.


They prefer temperature range of the following: Daytime 60 to 85 degrees, night temperature 40 to 60 degrees

Repotting and Compost

Zygopetalums do best in a light compost which holds moisture and has good drainage. This might be a mixture of fine and coarse Douglas Fir Bark with a small amount of coarse perlite(10-15%). Containers should preferably be plastic and large enough to allow root to spread out freely. The roots, in fact, grow rapidly but are quite delicate and do not lend themselves readily to repotting. This should be done every other year in the summer months or during the rest period.


The simplest way is by division at the time of repotting. Repotting methods are the same way as cymbidiums. Other methods are seed production or mericloning

Disease and Pests

If it is too hot and dry there can be problems with spider mites which should not happen along coastal regions. A common trait is a Bacterial leaf spot which primarily affects the older foliage which is deciduous on many plants. Good air circulation and cooler temperatures are important to help reduce and eliminate the spots. If the condition persists or gets worse Antibacterial and fungal sprays are beneficial.

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