Media for Paphiopedilum

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Oh yes, that was that SH acronym somebody tossed into a thread once that left me scratching my head. I dunno about that yet. Gotta ponder it. For right now, I'm having too much fun using my entire kitchen as a potting shed with all kinds of "ingredients" blanketing every counter top surface.
I use small CHC chips, augmented by major amounts of dynarok (= diatomite?), lava rock, leca, spongerock, and charcoal. I used to rely on spongerock alone, but I haven't been able to find it in the right size. Although CHC takes longer to break down than bark, it gets majorly waterlogged over time, so over the years I've increased the inorganic portion of the mix. I still repot after its been in the mix a year...and add extra for brachys, which stay a bit longer, because they seem to really resent repotting, even though they love fresh airy mix. The exceptions are delanatii, which gets a phrag mix with fine bark and NZ spahgnum in addition to the inorganics, and small seedlings...simply because fine bark is smaller in size than fine CHC...Take care, Eric
Yes, I'm done re-potting every last paph. Don't need to do that for at least another year or two on some of them. I used these mixes-
I've used a mix from Kelly's Korner on some of the larger paphs and a paph & phrag blend from that has finer bark in it for some of the smaller paphs.

I'm also done re-potting every last phrag and used Eric's suggestion for a medium from a thread I started a bit ago specifically for phrag mediums. I do like the suggestion of CHC chips in a paph mix and have dynarok here already.

Let me see here, I've re-potted the phals too.

I had to re-pot the Jumella because that thing literally tripled in size since I bought it which shocked the hell out of me. Same deal with the Aerangis but they only doubled in size since I bought them a few months ago. I picked apart the medium they were purchased in and simply duplicated it. Why mess with success and they certainly did take off once I got them home.

I re-potted most of the jewel orchids a month ago. I've got a few oddball orchids left to deal with re-potting but am out of time now so they can sit for a while. They're in Wardian cases anyway.

Two full days of re-potting orchids! I'm done. Time to clean up for the holidays!
Actually, I did. My brand new avatar is the very first paph I got. It was very tiny when I first bought it. Maybe the size of a half dollar?

I can get a photo of the Jumella and the others. I don't have time to screw around making the photos unfuzzy but I could put a ruler up next to them. Pretty wild that those plants took off as they did. Horseshoe up rear syndrome because I did nothing special for them back when I first bought them a few months ago. goldenrose was with me when I bought them so she will probably be surprised being as how I bought them in itsy bitsy teenie tiny pots that looked to be all of an inch and a half in diameter and there was the little plant in the middle barely taking up any space at all. I didn't know they made orchid pots so small.
I did some reading on root semi-permeable membranes and what you have to rember is that roots are more than membranes. They are alive. Minerals required for growth pass through the membrane by Active Transport. Active transprot requires energy, and this energy is usually suppplied by ATP. Enzymes known as ATPases on the plama membrane use the energy of ATP to pump protons across the membrane. This establishes an electrochemical proton gradient that supplies enery for moving ions into the cell. I don't think orchid roots are so radically different than other plants in this respect.
Any botanists out there to set things straight?
Hey! First post for you! Very warm welcome to you!

Not a botanist or even close but looks as if you summed up the process just fine... excluding many carnivorous plants that have adapted quite differently to acquiring nutrients requisite for survival. And well then off the top of my head there are parasitic plants such as dodder that don't fit neatly into that category either.
Don't over think it. You've already repotted. Think about it for the next time and remember, too many variables does not an experiment solve. :)

Well said Heather - I couldn't agree with you more!
Get the light & the water right & I don't think most slippers are going to care about what their feet are in!

My head is spinning...
so is mine! - hang in there Dot - here comes some more!

Welcome SES!
Heather- twenty whips with a wet noodle to you.
Rose- twenty more whips with a wet noodle to you too!

I'm definitely done re-potting and have pretty much settled on the mix I'm going to use the next time I re-pot for paphs provisional upon them doing as well as they have for me in the past but I'd still like to chat about mineral uptake.

Ok ladies- I tried my best to be lazy to avoid having to load photos into photobucket and ended up knocking over one of the Aerangis. Did a mighty fine job messing it up big time trying to balance it on the other edge of the Jumella then accidentally sticking my elbow on it and smashing it before I realized it was no longer in the window to be photographed. I thought I heard something topple but didn't think I was close enough to knock one of those over. So, here you have a combo photo of the Jumella (Rose, this is the one you helped me pick out that was all of maybe 2" tall) that is now a whopping 7" tall with two new growth points poking out. The Aerangis that isn't trashed balanced on the left of the Jumella pot has literally doubled in size and has two tiny new leaves emerging... as was the other one before I knocked it over not once but twice then smashed it. What an embarrassment.


I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. Wait till you see the next two photos. I learned a new trick.
Oh NYEric...
come out come out where ever you are. I went to go take a photo of the paph that is my avatar to get an id and figured no way would the photo turn out because it's too dark. I just discovered where the flash is on my camera and lookie how one of the photos I took turned out-


If I can do it, you can do it. I just learned where the flash is on my camera. It flips up. Learned that by accident when I knocked over an Aerangis and must have rammed the front of the camera into the rim of the Jumella pot. Thought for sure I had broken my new camera but low and behold- I found the flash. It flips up. Wow, I'm happening now.

So what is it? I think I know. Want me to pm you what I think it is before you tell me?
Here's another one I've had for a few years-


I used the flash again. I'm thrilled with this camera now. Looks as if all I need to do to get decent photos is wait until after dark and use the flash.
That's an appletonianum! Which includes wolterianum and hainanense......If the leaves are pretty its hainanense...if dull, its typical appletonianun...Eric
You awarded stud you! Thank you for telling me what I've had all these years.

I guessed half of it right. I was on the phone with Rose and I told her what my guess was and I got 50%. Not too bad for a neophyte. Of course she did guess appletonianum out the gate but then added it could be a few other hybrids.

The leaves are very pretty and beautifully mottled. I must admit there is no white on the plant. That was the flash that did that to the petals. The true color appears in my avatar.

The other plant still had a tag after all these years. It is the P. Norita Hasegawa Hybrid. The color in the photo is accurate on that one.
Now what?

This post is to discover what media is more effective for which Paphiopedilums..

"Paphiopedilum plants normally grow in humus or on dead trees. There is a reason for growing in such dumb spots, why not on the side of a live tree, or on a beautiful rock suitable for a lithophytic dweller? It is what makes the natural media that the Paphiopedilum seeks out. Symbiotic fungi decompose dead material into usable, organic matter. These same fungi also make humus and convert the cellulose from the dead wood into usable sugars. This is what separates the Paphiopedilum plants from the rest of the orchids. Most other tuberous orchids seek tree roots, where Mycorrhizal fungi dwell, and eventually the fungi mycellium spread out to surround and enter the orchid tubers. Paphiopedilums depend on the Sybiotic fungi to help keep the plant alive."

I fear I have just made great mistake. Before reading your informative post, I repotted my paph collosum because the medium looked like it was breaking down. Sure enough, when I examined it, it was like humus. One section of the plant had actually rotted, but the other section looked fine. I repotted it in a bark mix from my local florist. Did I just make a huge mistake????
Nope, not a big mistake. They say you can grow anything in any sort of media if you water it correctly.
The thing is, at least for me, it is hard to explain and much easier to demonstrate.....
The main reason to repot is because the media breaks down and suffocates the roots.
Personally, i don't like bark mixes. I like mixes with coir instead of bark because it lasts longer in my conditions.
This post is to discover what media is more effective for which Paphiopedilums..

"Paphiopedilum plants normally grow in humus or on dead trees. There is a reason for growing in such dumb spots, why not on the side of a live tree, or on a beautiful rock suitable for a lithophytic dweller? It is what makes the natural media that the Paphiopedilum seeks out.

This is only true for a limited number of Paph species anyway, but the healthy humus environment that supports paphs in the jungle is very difficult to maintain in a pot for any significant length of time. Just like orchid seed is flasked under sterile agar media conditions, we switch to other more sterile forms of potting mix as a compromise to not getting it right with true humus mixes.

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