Paphiopedilum, or slipper orchids, originate from the jungles of the Far East and Indonesia. They are semi-terrestrial, growing in humus and other material on the forest floor, on cliffs in pockets and occasionally in trees. They're easy to grow in the home, under lights or in the greenhouse.
Light: It is easier to provide proper light for "paphs", than many other types of orchids. They like shady conditions, as in the home in an east or west window, or near a shaded south window. Fluorescent light is excellent; use 2 or 4 tubes just over the leaves.
Temperature: Warm-growing (mottled leaf) types should be 60 °F to 65 °F at night and 75 °F to 80 °F or more during the day. . The plants can stand night temperatures in the 40's if necessary, as well as temperatures to 95 °F. Care must be taken to protect the plants from rot when on the cool side.. keep humidity low, and do not let water stand on leaves or in the crowns of the plants. It is also important to keep plants protected from sunburn when the temperatures climb.. Keep plants well shaded, and increase humidity and air movement.
Humidity: Like most orchids, 40% to 60% relative humidity is ideal. Humidity Trays can help with humidity if you grow plants in the home. Good air movement is always recommended.
Water: Paphs have no water storage parts so they should not be allowed to completely dry out. Water thoroughly every 5 to 7 days depending on the season and rewater before they dry out. Keep them always moist, water early in the day, so the foliage will dry off before nightfall, to prevent disease.
Fertilizer: Paph’s fertilizer requirements are moderate. Fertilize with Dyna-Gro ‘Orchid Pro’ at 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water three times an at the fourth water thoroughly leaching the pot with plain water. For windowsill growing or in the winter, alternating fertilizer and plain water would be appropriate.
Potting: Potting should be done about every two years, or as the medium decomposes. Moisture retention with excellent drainage is needed, and we recommend fine coconut husk mix, or the new Aussie Gold Orchid Mix.
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