New Paph. tigrinum, bad roots

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Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
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Princeton, NJ
I purchased a Paphiopedilum tigrinum off of eBay maybe a month ago.

It's a multi-growth plant, one big old growth (very long leaves) that's dying back and two new growths that look to be maybe a year old.

It came soaked and in a small pot, so I let it dry out and then checked the roots and they are in tough shape. There's only about 4 of them and they are mostly short and one is mushy. The leaves are a little floppy, too.

I'm trying to figure out the best course of action. For options, I have: 1) hydroton leca, 2) rockwool, and 3) sphagnum. What should I use to give this tigrinum the best chance at recovery?

I also have 1) Orca Liquid Mycorrhizae - with Beneficial Bacteria, 2) Kelpak, and 3) MSU fertilizer.

Huge thanks for any advice.
This is very common unfortunately. I too purchase plants on e-bay and am always worried about roots. Gladly, I never purchased one without roots but through my own media/watering practices, I have rendered a few plants rootless.
For both Phalaenopsis and slippers what works the best for me is a smallish pot with a media of 2/3 sphagnum and 1/3 seedling bark and perlite. I put a rhyzome clip on it to keep it steady. I keep the media moist but not soupy or wet.
I keep it in lower light then normal and I don’t fertlilize. There is nothing to take up fertilizer. If the plant is going to make it in both cases, new roots start to appear within 6-8 weeks. Some people recommend a plastic tent over the plant to increase humidity. I think that brings potential rot into the equation.
I grow indoors under lights. Humidity ranges from the upper 40’s to 60% during the winter and 55-80% during the summer. My plant cart has 2” deep trays to hold water and increase humidity.
Good luck!6B7CA535-E739-4215-9666-EB88CB4D795E.jpeg
This is really helpful thanks so much! I read a few years back several posts about tigrinum liking it drier and chunky mix. This tigrinum though seems too small with too bad of roots to pull off a dry chunky mix, does that sound like the right logic?

Also I don’t have bark or perlite, I’d rather not order a bag just for this, might I be able to get away with leca or rockwool or sphagnum or a mix?
If this was mine and under your parameters, I would try 2/3 moss and 1/3 Leca. Moss alone or rock wool alone might be too moist. The addition of Leca should improve the rate of drying out a bit.

When it comes to reading about preferred media, that typically refers to the media for mature flowering size plants. Not seedlings.
You can not put seedlings in the same mix. They’re babies right? I treat them like babies, lower light, moisture retaining mix, less fertilizer, etc. tender little seedlings need tender care in my mind.

I love to make analogies. I would not feed my infant sons steak. They can’t handle it.
Therefore I would not grow my seedlings like adult, blooming size plants. Conditions like that are not really suited for them.