A small genus Promenaea is directly related to the orchid family. This genus unites 14 species of miniature epiphytic plants, which in nature can be found only in some areas of the tropical mountain forests of Central and Southern Brazil.
Such a plant has a close relationship with the genus Zygopetalum , and therefore it is often ranked among the latter and at the same time is named accordingly, for example, yellow zygopetalum (Zygopetalum citrinum). However, in fact, this plant has long been isolated in a separate genus.
This genus is characterized by a compact size, as well as a sympoidal type of growth. The flower has a rhizome (creeping modified stem), as well as small pseudobulbs with an ovoid, slightly flattened shape. Pseudobulbs seem to sit on the wide petioles of leaves located below. The second pair of leaves (stalked) grows from the top of the pseudobulb. Sufficiently thin broadly lanceolate leaves reach a length of 7 to 10 centimeters. They are painted in pale green or pale greenish-gray, on the surface of the leaf plate, veins that are darker in color are clearly visible. At the base of the pseudobulb, short peduncles grow in the lower leaf axils. As a rule, their length does not exceed the height of the plant itself and it is often equal to 5–10 centimeters. On the peduncle there may be 1 or 2 pronounced zygomorphic fragrant flowers with a diameter of 4 to 5 centimeters.
The color depends on the species. So, the flower can be pure yellow or with a variety of transverse stripes or spots of a burgundy hue. 3 sepals (sepals, which are often confused with petals) have an oval or lanceolate shape. 2 petals (petals) lying opposite to each other, as a rule, practically do not differ from the sepals either in shape or color. The lip (3rd modified petal) is three-lobed, and it is similar to a small scapula, which has 2 lateral, vertically located limbs. A slightly curved, large column in some species is equal in size to the lip. As a result of the fact that there is an uneven small growth at the base of the lip, together with the side parts, a semblance of an “animal mouth” is formed, the pharynx is opened quite wide. It blooms for a relatively long time, approximately 3-4 weeks, and it happens that up to 8 weeks.
Promenea orchid care at home
In room conditions, both experienced flower growers and beginners can grow this kind of orchid, and that’s all, because this flower is distinguished by its unpretentiousness.
Pretty light-loving plant, preferring bright, but at the same time diffused lighting. However, it feels fine even in not very large penumbra. When placing a flower, it is recommended to give preference to eastern windows. When placed on other windows, the promenade requires either shading from the direct rays of the sun, or additional illumination with specialized fitolamps.
Illumination with phytolamps should be provided to such an orchid in autumn and spring. The fact is that daylight hours all year round should have a duration of at least 10-12 hours.
This plant requires a cool temperature regime, and it also has a well-defined dormant period. So, in the warm season, it normally grows and develops at temperatures from 16 to 22 degrees, and in the cold – from 12 to 15 degrees. In order for the laying of flower buds to be successful, the flower needs a daily temperature difference, which should be approximately equal to 5-10 degrees.
In the warm season (from mid-May to mid-September), experts advise moving the flower outside (to the garden, to the balcony), but at the same time, the threat of frost at night should be completely absent. Here it is easiest to provide the necessary difference in daily temperatures. And also very useful for promenea and the fresh air itself, which makes it healthier, stronger and more resilient.
Since this plant is an epiphyte, it can be grown on a block, but an ordinary flower pot is also suitable for this, which should be filled with sphagnum and large pieces of pine bark, they should be taken in approximately equal proportions. Such a mixture should be filled with a transparent plastic pot with additionally perforated walls (to improve aeration of the root system).
It is also recommended to use a piece of pine bark of a rather large size as a block. On its surface, you need to fix the roots, having previously created a “pillow” of sphagnum. From above, the roots should also be covered with moss to prevent them from drying out quickly.
How to water
Water the plant only after the bark dries completely. To do this, use exclusively soft, filtered water, which should not be colder than room temperature (no higher than 40 degrees). How often you need to water this kind of orchid depends on environmental conditions. So, if the room is cool enough, then the bark will dry out more slowly, which means that watering will need to be done less frequently.
Watering experts advise the method of immersion. To do this, the block or container is lowered into a basin filled with water for about a third of an hour.
A flower grown on a block needs high humidity (about 60 percent or more). If there is no orchidarium, then to increase the humidity in the room, a small household steam generator should be used, and it should be placed in close proximity to the plant.
An orchid grown in a pot is able to tolerate low air humidity in city apartments quite calmly, but in order for it to feel more comfortable, it is recommended to systematically moisten its foliage from a sprayer using tepid soft water for this.
Repotting should only be done when necessary. For example, when the container or block becomes cramped, as well as when the substrate is salinized or decomposed.
It is best to transplant at a time when young pseudobulbs begin to develop their own root system.
It is necessary to fertilize the plant during its intensive growth 1 time in 2 or 3 weeks. To do this, use a special complex fertilizer for orchids, while taking 1/3 or ¼ of the dose recommended on the package. Top dressing should be alternated with foliar, while the foliage should be sprayed with water, with fertilizer dissolved in it.
This genus of orchids differs from the rest in that it has 2 dormant periods at once. The 1st is observed in winter, and it occurs after young sprouts are formed, and also when new pseudobulbs are slightly rounded. At this time, the promenea needs coolness, as well as very poor watering (you can only spray the flower from time to time). The end of the dormant period is associated with the appearance of the peduncle. From this moment on, the flower is looked after, as in summer.
After flowering ends, the 2nd dormant period will begin, during which the plant should have a good rest. It is necessary to take care of him at this time in the same way as in winter. Such a period is quite short from 2 to 3 weeks.
It happens that even young pseudobulbs appear in a plant that has not faded. In this case, the 2nd rest period is not needed. If it is not there for several years in a row, then this will lead to the fact that new growths will grow weaker from year to year, and flowering will not be so plentiful, and then stop altogether.
In room conditions, promeneus is usually propagated by division. It should be remembered that on each division there should be 3 adult pseudobulbs, which should also have well-developed roots.
In very rare cases, a baby will form on the top of a mature pseudobulb, which can later be separated and planted separately.
In industrial conditions, seeds are used for propagation, as well as the meristem method (cloning).
Diseases and pests
Most often, the spider mite settles on the foliage. When it is found, the orchid needs to arrange a warm shower (about 45 degrees), while thoroughly washing the leaves.
It is resistant to diseases, but at the same time, with improper care, the plants quickly turn yellow and fly around the leaves, or their tips turn black. Such unpleasant consequences can lead to:
- too high air temperature;
- too high humidity;
- frequently recurring drying;
- salinization of the substrate;
- poor or vice versa intense lighting;
- hard water used for irrigation.
At home, most types of promenea are grown, which, as a rule, differ only in color and shape of the corolla.
Promenea golden yellow (Promenaea xanthina)
This species is most common among Europa flower growers. Tetrahedral, oval-shaped pseudobulbs reach a height of 2 centimeters, and a width of 1.5 centimeters. The sepals and petals are pure yellow, and there are many burgundy spots on the base of the lip and surface of the lobes, as well as on the inside of the column.
Promenaea xanthina var. citrina is a form of golden yellow promenea that is pure yellow in color. It happens that this form is attributed to the species Promenaea citrina, which does not actually exist.
It has a very impressive appearance. So, the inner surface of the column, as well as the lips, is painted in a dark purple color, and along the edges they have small light spots. The petals and sepals of the broadly lanceolate form are colored yellow, and on their surface, as well as on the lateral parts of the lip, there are many uneven, transversely arranged, burgundy stripes. At the column, the upper part is pure yellow in color.
Freckled Promenea (Promenaea lentiginosa)
Has the appearance corresponding to the name. Broadly lanceolate yellow sepals have a slightly irregular shape. On their surface there are rare dots of burgundy color and very small size. But on the surface of the lip and obovate petals there is a huge number of freckle spots. Such spots at the base of the lip are larger, and the inner part of the column has a pure burgundy color.
This species is distinguished by short peduncles from 2.8 to 3.5 centimeters, while the diameter of the flowers is standard – about 4.5 centimeters. Long, pointed at the end of the sepals and petals are ovoid. Burgundy spots flaunt on the surface of the yellow-lemon corolla. At the same time, on the sepals, or rather in their lower part, there are small spots, and on the petals and lip there are large and there are a lot of them.