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   OrchidExpo 2018      Culture notes      Phragmipedium (english)
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GENERAL INFO Phragmipedium is a South American genus composed of about 20 species. Like their cousins from the Paphiopedilum genus, most ofPhragmipedium are terrestrial or lithophytes (i.e. growing in or on rocks) or more rarely epiphytes. Some very eye-catching species have been discovered in the last decades, so that numerous hybrids have been made in the last few years, many of them being from Quebecers.
CULTURE Phragmipedium are usually grown in an open medium that remains moist. Common media are bark-based, with some parts of sphagnum or inert material (clay pebbles, charcoal, etc.), and are similar to the potting mixes used for growing Paphiopedilum. Many growers add a significant quantity of sphagnum moss or rockwool to the mix. Sometimes, plants are grown merely in sphagnum moss, rockwool, etc. It is possible to grow showstoppers in the latters but such media can be tricky to handle. Phragmipedium usually need frequent watering. When actively growing, many species thrive when their pot sits in a tray of water. But there are exceptions, like long petaled types (e.g. Phrag. caudatum) that prefer slightly drier conditions. Using quality water, with low salt content, is very important, since Phragmipedium can be very sensitive to salts builtup in the media. They should be fertilized with a very diluted solution. Relative humidity should always be above 50 %.
TEMPERATURE Temperature in the daytime should be between 25°C to 30°C in summer. Significant day/night variations are very important if day temperatures are hot. The minimum temperature at night can be of 10°C to 18°C. Some plants can suffer from heat stress so they should be grown in cooler and shadier spots (e.g. Phrag. besseae and its hybrids).
LIGHT Light requirements vary among species and hybrids. Some plants, like Phrag. besseae and its hybrids, grow well in a shaded location whereas others thrive with brighter light (Phrag. caudatum, Phrag. humboldtii, Phrag. kovachii) and can even be grown under slightly diffused midday sun if the weather is cool.
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