ZYGOPETALUMS – Orchids with a difference

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ZYGOPETALUMS – Orchids with a difference

Zygopetalum may look like an anagram but it is actually a very stunning orchid.  It really is something completely different to the more common types of orchid that you find on sale and as an added bonus it has the most gorgeous perfume.

     It will probably be the scent which draws you towards these orchids in the first instance as the plants themselves are so different in appearance to the orchids commonly found on sale.  The leaves are strap-shaped and mid-green in colour but it is the flowers that are the most unusual feature, the colours looking  almost unnatural in their composition.  The large lip is striped with reddish purple, almost black markings whilst the sepals and petals are green with brown blotching.

     I know that Zygopetalums make very good house-plants as we have tried and tested one very successfully at home. It lives quite happily on a north-facing windowsill at the top of the stairs and when it is in bloom its scent nearly fills the whole house.  It flowers about twice a year with the blooms lasting around 6 – 8 weeks.  When it is dry it takes a short trip into the bathroom where the outer pot cover is filled with water and the plant left to soak overnight.  Then, as with any plant that has been left soaking, it is drained thoroughly and  returned to its spot in the window.  A pinch of orchid fertiliser is added to the water about every 3rd or 4th time that it gets a soak.  That applies whether it is in flower or not.

     If you have kept other types of orchid successfully, Zygopetalums would be worth considering as they are not too demanding in their requirements and you will have the  added bonus of a lovely perfume.