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Cultivation of Zygopetalum


Ideally we would recommend temperatures of:-

  • Summer 18 – 35°C (65 – 95°F)
  • Winter 7 – 24C (45 – 75°F)

with a significant night time drop in temperature.

However, zygopetalum are extremely resilient and can tolerate much higher temperatures as well as much lower ones for short periods. They can survive short periods with night temperatures of just above freezing, provided that daytime temperatures are warmer.

Confused? Don’t worry too much. Try a minimum of 13°C at night and something between 17 – 25°C during the day and your plant should be happy.


Feed your plant regularly with orchid fertiliser when you water. Every fourth watering leave out the fertiliser to allow any build up of salts to be washed from the compost. Plants in poor condition should have very low levels of fertiliser, if any, until a substantial root system is reestablished.


Zygopetalum like a comfortable but not dry atmosphere. Good air movement will help dry the leaves after watering. If the foliage remains damp crown rot can occur at the base of the leaves.


This should be carried out in spring or early summer. Choose a container that is not too large. There should be sufficient space for only two new pseudobulbs to develop before next repotting. Your zygopetalum doesn’t like a heavy compost. A well aerated, free draining mix is best.


When mature your plant will produce several flower spikes. Peak flowering time is in the spring and early summer.

Other Hints

If you have a strong healthy plant with a new pseudobulb which is reluctant to flower, try placing it in a cooler room for a couple of weeks when a new growth is beginning to emerge.

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