Family: Orchidaceae

Native to Central and South America and Mexico, this genus comprises around 20 species of mostly epiphytic orchids. They are generally easy to cultivate and their fragrant flowers appear in autumn, winter and spring.


Z. mackaii, from Brazil, is the most widely grown species. It has fragrant, green flowers, to 6 cm (2½ in) across, veined heavily with brown. The white lip is spotted heavily in violet. This is an easy species to grow, as well as being desirable for its autumn to early winter flowers.


Grow in an intermediate to warm greenhouse, either in pots, or slatted, wooden orchid baskets hung up in the greenhouse. Fill containers with a proprietary orchid compost formulated for epiphytes. When the plants are in full growth they need very high humidity, liberal watering and good light, but shade from direct sun. Liquid feed every seven to ten days. Reduce watering considerably in winter and ensure maximum light.