Well I'm not one to say what's good, what's an esy bloomer and what's not since I only start several months ago and since I've actually never bloomed a multifloral yet.
With that being said I'm going to have to suggest a Phil. alba reasons being
-It's my second all time favorite and my second favorite is a whole lot easier to take care of than my first favorite (a sanderianum, a plant which I will not be acquiring anytime soon lol)
-I've been told that its fairly easy to take care of that most other multi-florals. It does seem to be the case. I've had a phil alba that I picked up from Matt about 2 months ago seems to be doing well. I recieved it with a new leaf poking out that was about 1/4" and now it's a good 1.5". I don't know if thats a normal/slow or above average growth rate for a seedling but its growing!!
-A BS plant has a smaller leaf span in comparison to most other paph multi-florals which is a big plus for a nice multi-floral! The flower is subtle yet amazing enough to not completely drown out your Neos. They'll be a perfect sutble background plant for your Neos.
-If you choose a Phil Alba I don't want the gift certificate. I think we should all win . I'd rather you use the money to purchase more smilies!!!!! :evil: And any excess to go to maintenance
For my money, your first paph should be a maudiae type. A secret confession... my favorite type of paph. (shhh! don't tell anybody, I put on a good front about rothschildianum).
Yes, the multiflorals get a lot of press, but for sheer ease of growth and satisfaction, nothing beats maudiae-type breeding. Culture: Keep warm and evenly moist (a bit drier than a phrag). No direct sun (shade to bright shade). Repot at least once a year if you can, using an open, moisture retentive mix (Semi-hydo seems to work too). Flowers last 3-4 months. Months!!
An awarded albinistic one...
and not technically maudiae type, but Paph. wardii. Look at those leaves!!! worth it just for the leaves...
While I love Jon's suggestion, I've been thinking about this for a while and I would like to recommend a philippinense var. roebelinii or a regular philippinense if you prefer. I think the var. album are too variable, but the regular varieties are really nice.
Reasons to buy a phil. var. roeb:
1) compact and upright growth habit=small footprint
2) reliable bloomer on relatively small, relatively not-slow growing plants.
3) easy to find excellent clones out there at reasonable prices. I would suggest 'Pam' x 'Grace', 'Candor Red Ribbons' x 'Candor Red Streamers', or 'Grace' x 'Candor Red Streamers'. All three have relatively long twisting petals and various awarded parents.
Actually, it came from Sherwood, but I believe that Orchidiceae has 'Grace' x 'CRS' (I have one from them, though you may have to email Joan and ask her, not sure it is listed on the catalog now). Jason (JMoney) has 'CRR' x 'CRS' I believe, I wanted that one but they were out. I would have to look around some....
OK.....now, the criteria goes beyond simple good looks, and should include ease of culture and reliable blooms...Now, the first idea would obviously be the Maudiae type hybrids....and they are easy, and reliable, but I am not suggesting them. While they are easy as a group, individual clones may be cranky or difficult to bloom...fortunately few...and they do offer relative uniformity, unlike the complex paphs who look promising until they open up to reveal a hideously deformed monstrosity....No, my suggestion, based on my overall success rate, has to be P. haynaldianum. Unlike other multiflorals, it does not need high light..and in fact can grow along with Maudiaes. It also does not need a chilling period to bloom.....however, if kept cool as the buds develop, the colors will be more intense, especially on the petal tips. Unlike its close relative lowii, its flowers are relatively uniform...some are better than others, but I have never seen a bad one- lowii looks great in the best crosses, but many clones are washed out except for the petal tips. Also, while it can be a large plant, it never gets huge and unwieldy. Culture-wise, its simple- standard paph mix (I use small coconut husk chips, with lots of spongerock and a little charcoal, but if you prefer bark, go ahead...), warm to intermediate temperature (but if you can keep it at the cooler end of intermediate while in bud, as I said, it will be darker), and moderate light...as I said, Maudiae type light is fine (to compare it with a phrag, say besseae light level..). Unlike most paphs, I have neglected repotting it for up to 3 years with no negative affects. Flowers can be4-5" across,sometimes more, and are usually produced 3 to a spike- on my plant....other growers probably get more. And it is the easiest paph to grow....the proof? My plant is over 20 years old...and it has bloomed for at least 18 of those years. Only my insigne has lived longer in my collection, but I am not recommending it because it needs cooler temperature to bloom, and doesn't always bloom every year. I'll search my files to see if I have a digital image....Take care, Eric
Go ahead, Heather...I can't find any...oh, and by the way...I was referring to the normal form of haynaldianum..not the album...which is OK, and will bloom at a small size, but is nowhere near as vigorous. Wait! I just remembered! I sent a picture of my haynaldianum to Troy Meyers with some crosses I had made! Here is the link: http://lab.troymeyers.com/flasking/FMPro
Yep, I think you need to go for something that has a WOW factor...
certainly others including previously mentioned Roth has that with plenty to share... BUT...
wouldn't it be better to have a plant with hybrid vigour... where it has a mommy and daddy which are fast and easy growers...
so which one fits this picture...
well here's the picture:-
Paph Lebaudyanum is a cross between Paph philippinense and Paph haynaldianum.... and as previously mentioned, both are very easy to grow.
So why this plant.... well...
imagine this plant being in temperatures from 8 celsius to 45 celsius... unscathed!
Ok, I have to admit that 45 celsius will mean the flowers melt... but hey I dare anyone to stand around in 45 celsius and not melt...
any other culture tips... well, mine is in bark.. yep plain bark... pretty simple right... and what about feeding... hmm.. well I have a couple of various ferts and soil conditioners (worm juice) and I just put some of that in whenever I feel like it... roots keep growing, leaves keeps growing and flowers come out in summer!
One word of warning... Paph Lebaudyanum vs Magpie (aussie bird) = uprooted plant! But it still flowered within the season....
and finally for the species snob amongst us... Paph lebaudyanum is a native of...
Yep, that's right, The Democratic Republic of Flask!
sheesh, lebaudyanum even sounds like a species name... oke:
well there you have it... the one true choice... and as my dear friend Johnie would say... "Not to choose it would be darn un-Austrayan!"
Lebaudyanum is a great plant, and I had mine for years....certainly easier than other philipinense crosses to bloom. However, it can't beat its haynaldianum parent for hardiness in the long run...mine lasted at least 10 years...but its gone now...I did replace it, but its replacement was very disappointing...the petals drooped straight down...genuinely unattractive. And, its not vigorous to boot. Take care, Eric
I’ve been thinking about this one carefully too. It’s hard to choose among a couple of parvis and their hybrids.
I’m most drawn to plants that are striking whether they’re in bloom or not…and ones that have a lovely fragrance. (Hence neos!) Because of this, I love my Lynleigh Koopowitz. Malipoense and delenatii have some of the most beautiful leaves in the orchid world and they both have great scents—combining the two is a win win situation. AND LK a completely unfussy plant that blooms reliably. It was one of the first paphs I bought and the growths keep getting bigger and bigger…just love it. All I have of the flower is a jpeg of a painting I did a couple years ago, so I’m including a crappy just foliage cell phone shot. Gives you an idea though, and of course there are many photos a Google away.
The other one, which I have not bloomed yet, is Harold Koopowitz. I bought this particular plant for its foliage alone and because it’s another malipoense hybrid (hoping for that pine needle scent). It’s put up three, really nice new growths since I got it, so hopefully there will be blooms soon.
If you want to be a species snob, delenatii or malipoense is my between the lines answer. The roth parent is impressive in bloom, but not quite as striking out…that’s my personal opinion though (sorry Heather).