Paph St. Swithin dividing question

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Ricardo Boricua

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I have a Paph. St. Swithin that has three individual growths in a ten inch wide pot. I would like to pot each fan in a separate pot but the roots are a solid hard mass. Separating them probably would cause horrendous damage to the root mass. I was advised to wait until the roots decay so much that the growths can be separated. I wonder, will this ever happen if I keep repotting the plant in fresh media every two years? Or should I pot the plant in an even bigger pot and wait for the growths to be even more separate from each other?
 
I have a Paph. St. Swithin that has three individual growths in a ten inch wide pot. I would like to pot each fan in a separate pot but the roots are a solid hard mass. Separating them probably would cause horrendous damage to the root mass. I was advised to wait until the roots decay so much that the growths can be separated. I wonder, will this ever happen if I keep repotting the plant in fresh media every two years? Or should I pot the plant in an even bigger pot and wait for the growths to be even more separate from each other?
First. Dumb question…

Why do you want to divide it?
 
I have a Paph. St. Swithin that has three individual growths in a ten inch wide pot. I would like to pot each fan in a separate pot but the roots are a solid hard mass. Separating them probably would cause horrendous damage to the root mass. I was advised to wait until the roots decay so much that the growths can be separated. I wonder, will this ever happen if I keep repotting the plant in fresh media every two years? Or should I pot the plant in an even bigger pot and wait for the growths to be even more separate from each other?
I would not divide down to single growths unless the plant did it for me.
 
First. Dumb question…

Why do you want to divide it?
Because the leaf fans and the roots are all tightly against the rim of the pot and are not growing as well as my other Paphs. I think the fans would grow larger if each had its own pot. The plant is capable of inflorescences of four huge flowers, but lately all it produces are inflorescences of two flowers. I suspect being crowded in the pot is limiting their growth. But I don't want to set them back by harming their roots. I am planning to pot it in a 12 inch to see what happens. But it would be nice to have all the growths in their own pots.
 
You can do a lot of damage trying to untangle things. Just let nature run its course.
Trying more water, better light and more fertilizer will do far less damage then a repot.
 
These are two St. Swithin that I grabbed at random. Left is in a 6" pot with 5 or 6 mature growths and several starts. From someone here on ST a few years ago. Right is in an eight inch pot with a few more growths.PXL_20240328_230328067.MP.jpg
Why the picture? Just to show that a ten inch pot would be a monster. I don't have space for that. I haven't repotted either for a couple years and probably won't this year. They will at probably double in size every year once you get three or four growths. But a single growth might take a couple years to double in size.

I think repotting sets multiflorals back. If they are several growths, only getting a couple growths the next year is no big deal. But once every three or four years is about right under my conditions.
 
I will try to give it more sun to see if this produces better growth, although it is already in quite bright light it is not in the brightest area of my shade house.
 
These are two St. Swithin that I grabbed at random. Left is in a 6" pot with 5 or 6 mature growths and several starts. From someone here on ST a few years ago. Right is in an eight inch pot with a few more growths.View attachment 46430
Why the picture? Just to show that a ten inch pot would be a monster. I don't have space for that. I haven't repotted either for a couple years and probably won't this year. They will at probably double in size every year once you get three or four growths. But a single growth might take a couple years to double in size.

I think repotting sets multiflorals back. If they are several growths, only getting a couple growths the next year is no big deal. But once every three or four years is about right under my conditions.
I will show this photo to my plant and will ask it why it is like this.
 
I will try to give it more sun to see if this produces better growth, although it is already in quite bright light it is not in the brightest area of my shade house.
Best bet is to judge based on the leaf color. If very dark green, more light will get you better growth (probably). If already a lighter green, you might actually get better growth if you dial back the light a bit. It sounds crazy, I know. Some people can push them really hard with a lot of light, but they probably also have perfect humidity and lots of water and feed. If I try that everything rots...

That's my experience, anyway. I grow under lights except for about three months in the summer (it is too cold here for most of the year). Even outside they are under more than 50% shade.

A lot of the size and speed comes with breeding. Very old clones (like the one on the right in my picture, which is possibly one with wild collected parents) tend to be smaller and slower. The other one is at least a generation newer (from captive bred, selected species). It is visibility more vigorous. I have a 'cutting edge' clone from even more line bred parents that is even better... Good breeding shows through.
 
My shade house has one side where the plants get only light shade from a shade cloth that lets almost all light in. In these area are Dendrobium, Encyclias, Laelias, Grammatophyllum, Myrmecophilas, some Cattleyas and others. I judge the intensity of the light by the pigments of the leaves, for example when the Encyclias are making red pigments I know they are nearing the limit of their light tolerance. I once had an Encyclia cordigera that had almost red leaves and bloomed very well. But I have been more timid exposing Paphs to strong light. The Paph that I have in the strongest light is a Paphiopediulum Bel Royal. Its almost four feet wide. I will move the St. Swithin to that area and will watch if it responds with increased growth.
 
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