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Growing Orchids
The National Capital Orchid Society

GROWING ORCHIDS

Paphiopedilum Culture

Cattleya    Cymbidium    Dendrobium   Oncidieae    
Paphiopedilum    Phalaenopsis    Vandaceous

Paphiopedilums are divided into two groups, the warm-growing, mottled-leaved type, and the cool-growing, green leaved type. The flower is wax-like with a prominent pouch and dorsal sepal. Commonly called the Lady Slipper Orchid.

Temperature - Since most people will be growing both types of paphiopedilums together, a single intermediate culture is given. They require a minimum night temperature of 55F to 60F. Day temperatures should range between 70F to 80F.

Humidity and Ventilation - An evaporative tray of gravel and water under the plant is usually enough, remember not to sit the plant directly on the gravel. The humidity should be moderate, 40% to 50% is enough. Natural ventilation is usually enough in the home but in enclosures and greenhouses, fans should be used.

Light - Direct sun, except in the early morning or late afternoon should be avoided. Paphs are low light plants and want to grow in a well shaded environment.

Watering and Feeding - Always water orchids in the morning so that the plants are dry before night. How often to water depends on the potting media used, the type of pot (plastic or clay), and the size of the pot. Strive for a damp media, not soaking, and never allow the plant to become bone-dry. When you water, water well, then let the plant become just moist before watering it well again. Feed Paphiopedilums in bark mixes with Peters 30-10-10 every two weeks in the Summer, every three weeks - Spring & Fall and once a month in Winter.

Pests - Mealy bug, aphids and mites can be controlled with insecticides like Malathion or X-clude, Kelthane is especially effective against mites. Remember these products are intended to kill and should be used in the open air outside your home. A light horticultural oil, like Year Round, (not a dormant oil) which smothers bugs and their eggs is quite effective against most pests and fairly safe. Insecticidal Soap is also effective against these insects and reasonably safe, but it has less residual action. With any of these products some insects, and especially their eggs, will survive to breed again. One dose of even a systemic insecticide will not wipe out a large population of insects totally and completely. In the home, vigilance is often the best defense against pests. If you get them early, before they start laying eggs, they can be eliminated relatively easily. Remember to use any of these products with caution and in accordance with the manufacturers label.