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  #1  
Old 02-03-2023, 12:24 PM
AnnieBee AnnieBee is offline
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Hi everyone. This is my first post so Iíll give a little intro Iíve only been an orchid hobbyist for about 8 months. Most of my plant experience is with outdoor plants/gardening. On a whim I purchased two lovely NOID phals from a grocery store and so my orchid habit began.

I currently have 20 orchids. Mostly phals, a few of them named crosses, two oncs, a paph, and most recently I was gifted two zygos. So far, Iíve done well with my other orchids and would like to not kill these two. Iíve been reading the zygo posts here and on other boards and think Iíve got the gist of their basic care but would like to run this by some more experienced growers to see if I got this right. So here goes (this may be long, sorry):

As far as temperatures, zygos generally prefer cool to intermediate temps. I gather this means night time temps not less than 55F and no higher than 75F? Iím unsure if a seasonal or night time temp drop is required for flowering or if a constant temp of say 70F is okay. Iím in zone 7a so I could safely keep the plants outside from early April through early June and again from late Sep through mid Nov but the rest of the year theyíd be inside at about 68-70F. Iíve read that galeopetalum starburst parkside can actually handle a bit higher temps but IDK if this is accurate.

The other zygo I was given is a zygosepescalum. I canít find the tag now and donít remember the specific name. It has two buds that look purple-brown with some light green. Many of the images of the flowers Iíve seen online have similar coloring so I canít even venture a guess until the buds open (or I locate the tag). Any specific info about zygosepescalums that I should know?

For light, I see ďbright indirectĒ light and ďintermediateĒ light recommended most often. My takeaway from this is keep them out of direct sun. Iíve read that the leaves are prone to black spots and sunburn.

They like to be kept moist so donít let them dry out between waterings. They like moderate humidity. Our outdoor humidity percentage, on average, ranges from the mid fifties to the high sixties. We keep it in the mid sixties indoors. This seems like it should be sufficient?

My other orchids I fertilize weakly, weekly. I use dynagro orchid pro and about once a month I add in some sea plant extract that was recommended to me. Is this appropriate feeding for zygos?

Some other things I think Iíve learned are they flower from new growths and generally before the new pseudobulb is mature, they grow in one direction horizontally so keep that in mind when repotting, like with other orchids there is no absolutely agreed on ďbestĒ media, the roots are fragile so donít worry too much about getting rid of all the old media when repotting, and old pbulbs shed leaves eventually.

One of the things that stuck out to me about the galeopetalum is that one of the old pseudobulbs has another pseudobulb directly on top of it. I read a few posts on here that suggest this growth pattern is normal and zygos can tend to climb up out of their pots. Is that right?

If you got through my novel, thank you. I look forward to learning more about these two. Happy growing!
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Old 02-03-2023, 01:39 PM
Gardening in WM Gardening in WM is offline
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Hi Annie,
welcome to the forum although I am still new I don't know if that counts for much. I do at least grow a couple of zygopetalums too.

To sum up zygo's in my experience although it is hard to express everything accurately in words I would say that they are quite easy, growing well in relatively steady day-night temps but they can also stagnate for years if their roots get damaged excessively or if troubled by invading insects. They have thin leaves so like to be visited more by the usual predators like mealies, mites, thrips and scale. Always keep a close eye for signs of damage near the base of the orchid, around leaf edges and on root tips too.
Once their Pseudobulbs develop big enough they should flower quite readily for you. I'd say they do well receiving roughly the same light as a phalaenopsis. It's easy to give them too little. If you give them too much you will see signs on the leaves, the more important thing is to prevent excessive heat buildup from too much sun in summer. The amount of light they can tolerate is much higher than you would think but if too much direct sun hits the leaves they warm up and get hot, especially in a house behind a window the leaves can literally start cooking from strong sunlight so try to avoid that happening, they are sensitive to sun for that reason, otherwise give them plenty, but they do not need as much as a cattleya.
Always use a well draining airy potting mix for any orchid, once it doesn't drain well and traps too much water the roots can rot, this is true for any orchid including zygopetalums. But as you have read they like to have a constantly humid environment around the roots so a little more water retentive to provide a damp root zone but not too much. It should require regluar waterings by drying out well but never let it go dry for too long. How long it can hold water and how often you have to water it is decided mostly by your environment and what substrate you use. More moss for example would make it generally keep wet longer. More air holes in the side of the pot dries it out faster. Using bigger substrate dries faster than smaller substrate. A bigger pot holds more water than a smaller pot. All these factors need to be taken into consideration to determine what mix is well suited.

Basically anything can be used from coconut husk, to perlite, to bark, charcoal, lava stone, lecca, spaghnum moss, and many more but althoguh spaghnum moss offers a very good humid environment it can be overwatered thus leading to root rot if one accidentally does this. On the other hand lecca can sometimes dry out too fast in hot environments and can dry roots also causing damage. So it's good to find the ideal substrate you like to work with or a mix to create something like bark + moss or bark + perlite. You can use bark alone, I'm not really the best to advise on the substrate, I find the advice online was terribly confusing to begin with because although I have just explained how most experienced growers look at the subject and everyone uses slightly different methods, to a new grower you can't just try something and decide it doesn't work well so try something else and so on till you have found the perfect mix that suits your environment. Then you might find it is perfect in summer but not great in winter or vice versa. The experienced growers know what works for them but to a new grower, they don't know what works well...
Like I said be careful never to saturate moss completely, it just needs to be moistened briefly once it has become dry but not too much.
Bark is probably the most beginner friendly substrate for any grower and any orchid. You can control the rate of drying by the size of the bark used, smaller bark stays wet longer, bigger bark dries faster. You could theoretically use bigger bark and water more but don't make your life complicated, the most successful growers are the ones that keep it as simple as possible. Ie it's easier to water once a week than 3 times a week but if the substrate doesn't dry well enough and stays wet for too long, especially in winter too it can cause rot so pick what stays wet long enough but not too long. The first time is a bit of trial and error. The aim is to observe and keep the plant alive. Then on the next repot you can make adjustments based on your observations over winter and summer.

Temperature wise the hybrids like warmer temps than what the internet says but I am not an expert on this, I don't think you need to worry too much about temperatures in my opinion if that helps.

Try to repot them when new roots are forming. I do not agree to leave old media but at the same time this might damage roots so to me old media should ideally be removed but sometimes that isn't possible without damaging roots so it needs to be weighed up and considered, too much damage would set it back, too much old media left could cause rot in future. Although bark is a great substrate to grow in it is a nightmare to use when it comes to repotting which is the main reason it is not my preferred media.

You fertilizer is absolutely fine.

Just don't repot them at the wrong time incase you cause damage and no new roots are formed for months, only if things look like they are deteriorating in the pot, then you would have to do an emergency repot, otherwise try to stress it as little as possible, wait for new roots and repot it as soon as possible. Your own mix is invaluable, sometimes they come in great mixes already but most of the times the mixes they come in will only last 2-3 months before needing to be replaced.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by Gardening in WM; 02-03-2023 at 01:50 PM..
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Old 02-03-2023, 01:56 PM
Toadwally Toadwally is offline
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Welcome Annie!
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Old 02-03-2023, 02:00 PM
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Welcome!
Zygos can tolerate (and thrive in ) night temperatures lower than 55 deg F. But they don't need it, so they will do fine in house temperatures. (Big difference between "tolerating" and "requiring", these will tolerate a wide temperature range but don't require it) Some Zygo hybrids include Aganisia, a tropical relative, and those actually don't like to get cool.
(Genus names like "Zygonisia (Zns.)" are a clue) They'll grow fine under Phalaenopsis temperatures, maybe a bit more light. And they don't like to dry out (unlike Phals, more like Oncidiums) so a moisture-retentive medium like small bark, or sphagnum depending on your watering practices, will work well. Water when just starting to dry out on the surface.

I don't worry about bits of old medium sticking to roots at repot time, I just leave it. Since the new medium will be well-drained, I have not found rot to be a problem, just rinse off the "crud" and what is left is fine. Root-retention is important. These really do hate having roots disturbed.

Yes, those thin leaves do show "insults" easily. I have just learned to put up with ugly leaves. The one thing to watch out for if the leaves look stressed is spider mites... those love warm, dry conditions, they're almost microscopic so they're ubiquitous, screens won't keep them out. So just be observant. Lots of good advice on the Forum for pest management. But don't treat prophylactically! If you see a problem developing, then deal with the specifics once you know what you're treating.
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Old 02-03-2023, 05:05 PM
AnnieBee AnnieBee is offline
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Thank you everyone for the replies! I feel much more confident that Iíll be able to figure out what makes them happy in my house.
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Old 03-13-2023, 10:41 PM
AnnieBee AnnieBee is offline
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Just wanted to thank you all again and give you an update. Both plants have new pseudobulbs and a bunch of new roots growing. The galeopetalum actually has three new pseudobulb developing. So, I havenít killed them yet and they seem happy
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Old 03-13-2023, 11:51 PM
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Old 03-14-2023, 10:12 AM
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Hi Annie. Your questions are what I experienced trying to have success with a Zygo. triste last yr. I'll hijack the great responses you received and try again as I think this species is particularly beautiful if I can find another one. Good luck and happy spring.
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Old 06-19-2023, 03:03 PM
AnnieBee AnnieBee is offline
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Default Update on zygos

I just wanted to update you guys on the status of my zygos. The one with the missing tag has rebloomed for me. The flowers are lovely. I donít notice a fragrance yet but maybe after being open for a bit. I hope the picture posts as Iím on my phone.

The other zygo has a couple of flower spikes growing right now. Fingers crossed they bloom as well. Thanks again for all the help!
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Old 06-19-2023, 03:08 PM
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Beautiful! Many of the newer (more complex) hybrids, alas, lack the fragrance of the species and the first hybrids made from them. Like with roses, the hybridizing for other characteristics (color, size, flower count, etc.) loses fragrance. This one has outstanding saturated color.
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