Paph. Gary Romagna
Paph. Gary Romagna
- Paphiopedilum Culture
PDF version can be downloaded here: Dr. Bill's Orchids Paph Culture
|Dr. Bill's Orchids Culture Guide- Paphiopedilum (Paphs|
Paphs do not like to dry out, but they don’t like overly wet feet either. Paphs can develop root rot quickly, so I suggest that you water when your media is just damp to the touch (1 knuckle deep in the pot). Give a deep watering, and then monitor until next watering is due.
Watering will be most frequent in the heat of summer, and will taper back slightly in winter. Donot let them dry when in spike or bud or else you run the risk of blasting the spike.
Paphs are known to adapt readily to different light intensities. Although they will grow
with a low light intensity (900-1500 foot candles), a stronger light will produce much better
growth and flower production. Some of the “summer-blooming” multifloral species and their
hybrids are able to adapt to near-Cattleya lighting and will bloom best under the increased
intensity. Once the plant is in bloom you can place it anywhere in your home out of direct sunlight to enjoy. It can tolerate a little while of decreased light. If your plant does not re-bloom, increase the amount of light that it receives.
Paphiopedilums, in general, should be kept in a 55-80 degree temperature range. There are some that will want to get quite chilled to bloom (Paph armeniacum comes to mind). Having some day/night temp differences, can help initiate bud spikes. For some complex Paph
hybrids, overall decrease in growing temperatures (both day and night) can help initiate buds as
well, however, if you have a decent day/night temperature difference, this may not be necessary.Keep in mind that temperatures close to the window on a windowsill will be colder or hotter than your general house temperature (if growing on a windowsill, or anywhere really, I suggest having a thermometer/hygrometer). Fluctuating temperatures can cause bud drop on plants with buds ready to open. Also be wary of placing in the air flow of a heating or air conditioning vent! This can easily blast buds and/or spikes.
Paphs can be susceptible to salt/fertilizer burn, so I suggest that you feed “weakly, weekly”, in that you give a lower concentration fertilizer application regularly. Balanced fertilizers are best. Some Paphs definitely need extra calcium and/or magnesium to perform well- this can be supplemented through 1) fertilizer 2) crushed egg shell 3) crushed oyster shell (my preference) and some Epsom Salts. However, depending on your water source, you may not need to supplement this if you have high mineral concentration in your water. If giving an application of fertilizer with a higher concentration, make sure to thoroughly flush the pot on next watering to help avoid salt buildup within the root zone.
Although humidity is not considered one of the most important factors in good Paphiopedilum growth, 40% or higher can help develop strong growths and give maximum benefit to bloom potential (glossy, waxy texture, longer bloom lifespan, etc). Good air movement should be provided, but kept out of hot or cold drafts.
In the home, you have a few solutions to increase humidity: 1) set the plants on trays of gravel, partially filled with water, so that the pots are not sitting in water 2) group plants together to increase local relative humidity 3) plant in an unglazed clay pot and then nestle that pot into another unglazed clay pot (Credit to Neill Sams of Orchid Alley Kauai for this idea) 4) add a humidifier to your growing area (I personally like ultrasonic humidifiers for indoor growing)
I recommend repotting Paphs once a year or maybe every 2 years. While some media can last longer than 1 year, I suggest the yearly repotting to investigate roots, stimulate root growth, etc. (It doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to throw away all of the “old media” if it’s still good!) It is usually best to repot in the spring when new growths are developing. However, if the plant has potting media that is very broken down and needs immediate repotting, but it isn’t spring- you can repot at any time, but take extra care. Some Paphs will throw a tantrum if you are too rough with their roots during repotting, resulting in delayed blooming, slowed growth, etc. They are not as sensitive as Angraecoids, but some species can definitely throw a fuss. IF you decide to divide the plants during repotting, having divisions with at least 2 growths can minimized the stress on each division. Some Paphs will also have a tantrum after dividing, but that is species/hybrid specific and beyond the scope of this guide.
|Other||Cutting the spike: Always cut with sterilized tools. When the blooms are finished, you can cut the spike down to where it emerged from the fan and the plant should bloom from the next fan in the next season (typically next year).|