Friday, November 14, 2008

Paphiopedilum Orchid

These lovely lady's slipper orchids flower in striking, often bizarre, color combinations: background colors may be white, yellow, green, or a combination, with markings in tan, mahogany, brown, maroon, green or white. With their lacquered or waxy textures, these flowers sometimes appear more artificial than real.

Paphiopedilum orchids are native to India, Southern China, South-east Asia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The majority of species grow as terrestrial in pockets of debris in rocks, in sandy soils, among tree roots. While most species favor shady forests where they may receive dappled sunlight, a couple of species grow in sunny locations.

Despite an absence of pseudo bulbs, these orchids are quite able to withstand fairly long dry period and very suitable to our Australian climate - most of the species grow naturally in areas where climates are strongly seasonal.

My Paphiopedilum orchids ( var insigne) grow under the shade of a large tree all year around, where they appreciate good air movement. I water them every couple of days in spring and summer and less in autumn and winter, if needed. I've been growing them for the past 6 years or so, and while the plants are not big, without fail, they are flowering every year.

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