Zygopetalum is a botanical genus belonging to 16 species of orchids, among them the one that occupies to us, the Zygopetalum maculatum. Although the majority of them are epiphytic plants are also some of the land that stand out for their rapid vegetative growth.
The Zygopetalum maculatum is a native orchid of Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. They grow in plains semipantanosas coated in moss and located at high altitude, between 1100 and 2500 meters. Gets its name from the shape of a yoke that takes the base of the lip to fuse the petals with the sepals. The plant reaches a height of about 40 cm, but the flowering stem exceeds this height and reaches up to 60 cm
As we can deduce from their natural habitat is an orchid that prefers cool temperatures. Temperatures reaching around 12-18ºC in its period of vegetative growth and 6-10ºC in the period of hibernation. Within this range of temperatures we will be able to place it in sunny places or partial shade. The Zygopetalum maculatum is an orchid that needs an environment with a high rate of moisture, but that does not support that their roots are waterlogged because they need to breathe.
Therefore the substrate should retain moisture but counting always with good aeration and drainage. Materials such as the bark of pine of medium size (2-3 cm), coir and a little perlite or moss will form a good substrate for it. When these materials decompose with time you will have to be replaced by new ones.
If we plant the Zygopetalum maculatum potted we will use a special one for orchids of clay. And if we want to cultivate it on a tree we will prepare a seat in the trunk with coconut fiber that we will tie up with ropes. Does not tolerate air currents so you will have to situate it in a location protected. We will see if there are yellowish spots on their leaves or lack of anchorage which will tell us that it does not adapt well to the place where we placed.
Every two days we will check the moisture of its roots by pressing the substrate with the fingers. Only regaremos when it is dry and we do this by taking water until it comes out the drainage holes. The plants that are grown in humid environments, greenhouses or on trees, have only been watering in the warmer days of summer. Watch a lot of the nutritional contribution as the excess can be very harmful, we will always be the doses on the package that you have purchased before using it.
The fertilizers that are poured on the substrate to be used for the early morning or at dusk and can be used in two modes. Pouring an amount on a corner of the pot so that they go away by dissolving with irrigation water or to dissolve the doses indicated by the manufacturer in the water of an irrigation. Leaf fertilisers should be used only when the plant takes at least 15 minutes in a dark place. It is in the dark when the cells responsible for the absorption of nutrients open. We will apply the fertilizer only on the leaves and never on the flowers. As organic fertilizers are usually used, the cake of castor beans, and bone meal. They are easier to use and allow us a greater margin of maneuver than the chemical fertilizers.