We've compiled information from our own experiences and offer them here as a 'guide'. You may
find that your particular orchid has not read this culture sheet and will want to march to the beat of a
different drummer. If you have questions about your specific plant, feel free to ask us. Our email is
Paphiopedilums (Paphs.) are considered low light orchids, requiring only bright indirect light or
dappled sunlight to grow and bloom. Mottled leaf Paphs (Maudiae types) require the least amount
of light and will do well in a bright shady east or west window. Even these lower light orchids will
benefit from some direct sunlight in the early morning or late evening when the sun is low in the sky.
Phragmipediums and complex hybrids have clear green leaves and do better in brighter light than
the Maudiae types. Multi-floral Paphs. enjoy very bright light and benefit greatly from some direct
sunlight in the mornings or evenings. Feel the leaves of your plants when they are in direct sunlight
and make sure they are not overheating. They should be cool to the touch.
Paphs. like to keep their roots moist but not wet. How often you water is dependent on how quickly
the potting mix dries out. Clay pots will dry out much faster than plastic or glazed ceramic pots.
When you water, completely drench the roots and allow the pot to drain. NEVER LET YOUR PLANT
SIT IN WATER!!! Letting the plant set in water will rot the roots. SOME Phragmipediums (Phrags)
are the exception. Many will do well if allowed to set in FRESH water for a day or two after watering.
Fertilizers and Supplements:
Water with clear water first then once a month, water with a "well balanced", "all-purpose" fertilizer at
1/2 strength. A fertilizer is considered "All-Purpose" or "Well Balanced" when the three major
components: Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium are close to being equal. The three letters
and numbers on the container of fertilizer indicate this. For example: N-P-K / 20-20-20. Or 5-7-6
etc. We have found no difference from one fertilizer to the next. We use fish emulsion, Protech,
CalMag etc. just to make ourselves feel good about our orchids. We're not sure it does anything
for the plants, but we have customers that swear by these products.
Small plants in 2 to 4-inch pots will do fine in a well drained seedling mix including hard wood chips,
coconut husk chips, sponge rock, charcoal, etc. As your plant increases in size, so will the pot and
so should the size of your potting mix. Plants in 5-inch pots or larger should be potted in a mix of
medium size components.
Most novice growers hate to repot while their orchid is growing well, for fear of losing the plant. This
is the first and biggest mistake you can make. You must repot your orchid BEFORE the potting mix
begins to break down. When the potting mix rots, so do your orchid roots. You will not know this
until it's too late. Therefore we recommend you repot your Paph. every 12 months. NEVER
OVERPOT. We have repotted our Paphs. while still in bloom without any setback or loss of flower.
Our experience has been that Paphs. love to be repotted. With that said, repot your newly
purchased Paph. after it has bloomed. This assures you that the plant is in a fresh mix that you are
familiar with. Most plants come to market just before they need repotting or are "potted up" -
placing the plant with its old mix in a bigger pot and adding new mix.
Most Paphs. grow best with temperatures that you are most comfortable in. Therefore they make
excellent houseplants. Complex Hybrids will enjoy it on the cooler side, while multi-floral Paphs. will
like it a bit warmer. All will do well between 60F and 80F
A few words of wisdom:
1) Information provided here is a generalization and not specific to any species or hybrid.
2) Conditions suited to one orchid may not be the best for another even though they are in the same family.
3) What works for one person may not work for another, so try different ideas.
4) All orchids benefit from good air movement.
5) If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
6) You're not a real orchid grower unless you've killed your fair share of orchids.
|Cultural Information for Your Paphiopedilum Orchid
Orchid Enterprise Inc.