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Questions regarding two new Paph species

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atahualpa

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While I'm not new to growing orchids, I've just purchased my first two Paphiopedilum species (micranthum and niveum) and would like to ask all of you pros a couple of questions about their culture. 1) I use reverse osmosis water on all of my orchids, and fertilize with the "Michigan State University" formula fertilizer. For Paph. micranthum and niveum, would it beneficial to include any dolomite lime pellets in the potting mix to bring the ph level down (I grow in very clean coarse coconut husks which are soaked overnight in distilled H2O and rinsed at least three times prior to use)? 2) How much sun can these two species take? Will a sheltered eastern exposure (direct sun for maybe two hours each morning during the summer while the plants are all outdoors on benches) be sufficient--or too much? 3) Is it okay to use a very shallow bulb pan for Paph. micranthum? I understand (from what I've read) that this species sends out new growths some distance away on an elongating rhizome, and I'm assuming that "standard" potbound orchid growing techniques won't work all that well. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
 
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goldenrose

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WELCOME TO THE FORUM! Direct sun??? During the early part of the morning
(7-9), should be OK but later in the morning might be pushing it.
Both could be top dressed with ground oyster shells(calcium), although if fertilizers with calcium/micronutrients are used then it would not be needed.
 

Rick

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Much of your culture program is similar to mine with RO water and MSU fertilizer, and CHC mix.

I use oyster shell in my mix with these species. Actually it will raise pH rather than lower it as you indicated.

I have recently lowered light to my niveum which seemed to be stunting with brighter (cattleya level) light, but it likes the warmer temps that I keep many of my multifloral species.

The micranthum (and armeniacum) are generally kept cooler and breezier than my brachy's. Since they often send runners, I think they have done best for me in baskets rather than pots. They also seem to like bright light in the winter when the temps are coolest. They can actually take temps close to freezing that would finish off most brachys.
 
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atahualpa

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Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I'll give them a little less light than I had planned to--maybe stick them beneath a couple of large Stanhopeas.

Rick, can I ask what kind of baskets you grow your micranthums (and armeniacums) in? Are they the common wooden slat baskets that Stanhopeas and Gongoras are grown in? What do you use to keep the potting mix from falling out of the baskets. I just unpotted the micranthum I received. It consists of two growths, and there was, in fact, one of those runners you mentioned. At first I thought it was an oddly colored root (kind of a lavender-purple color), but on closer examination I believe it's a (rather stunted) runner. I've since repotted the plant in a shallow clay pan. Hopefully if it decides to send out any more runners, they'll have the room they require to develop into plants. And yes, I now realize that the oyster shells/dolomite pellets will actually raise, instead of lower, the ph level of the mix (it's been too many years since I took a college chemistry class). Do both of these ingredients release calcium slowly? I'm just a little paranoid about them releasing too much (perhaps even a toxic level) of the calcium all at once.

Thanks again for your feedback!

Steve
 

NYEric

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for a second there I thought you had discovered "..two new paph species.".. Which would have made you 'Man of the Day!' :)
 
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atahualpa

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Well, I'm not that ambitious, Eric. I'll settle for simply growing the not-so-newly-discovered species I have well. If I can succeed in that, I can live without being man of the year--although yes, now that you made your comment, I'm going to go lie down on the couch with a novel and daydream about all of the wonderful news I would have made if I had discovered two new Paphiopedilum species--here in Indiana! :)

Steve
 

Candace

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Steve, here's a link to Antec's page where they list all calcium loving paphs. http://www.ladyslipper.com/calsub.htm I wrote them down on a sticky note that I keep on my lime box. I couldn't find any pellets locally so bought some in a finer form. I just sprinkle some lightly on the top of the pots. I did it probably 2 mos. ago and I'm sure most of it has washed out by now. I'll probably add some more again soon.

If you're worried about the calcium wrecking havoc with your water ph, I'd suggest buying a ph meter. I just got one cheap on ebay and tested to make sure the run off water was in a good range.
 
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atahualpa

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Thanks, Dot! I'm acquiring way too much reading material now, but it's a good way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.
 

Rick

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Steve
I just use the plain old wooden slat baskets. I I've lined them with some large flat pieces of limestone and sheet moss. If you keep the humidity up live moss might take off, which really helps.
 

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