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Slippertalk Spotlight: Paph. fairrieanum

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Jon in SW Ohio

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***As a Spotlight thread, please share your pictures, advice, comments, and anything else about the spotlighted slipper***

Paphiopedilum fairrieanum has always been a slipper of much desire. It comes from Northeast India and surrounding areas and was first found around 1857 and named for a collector from Liverpool who bloomed it and showed it at the London Horticultural Society named Mr. Fairrie. Apparently nearly all were lost from cultivation by 1905. Around this time the famous orchid importers Sander & Co offered a reward of 1,000 pounds for its rediscovery and exclusive knowledge of its origin. Sure enough it was quickly rediscovered and it is said that Sanders & Co was saved by this species...even though there was some controversy when reward collection time came.

Now a days, this plant is still quite desired and they can be more variable than you might first think. Different sizes and colorations seem to be the main variables and clones with particularly dark coloration are available as well as a true alba.

This plant seems to be of realtively easy culture and is even well suited to windowsill growing. It enjoys moist root conditions and a humid and airy environment and seems to do well in lighting from quite shady to moderately bright. These plants make impressive clumps, and are a welcome addition to any collection.

Here's some pics I've collected over time, please share yours as well!











Jon
 

TADD

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YES YES YES!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!!!! Thanks Jon! Lien that is still one of the most amazing ones I have ever seen!
fairrienaum 'Candor Rhapsody' x Catatonk' HCC/AOS

fairrieanum var. bohlmannianum 'Merry Prankster' x Kesey'

I am not sure where this one came from I am sorry if I stole someone's picture. It has been the model for the item below.

And of course my favorite!
fairrieanum 'Queen City' AM/AOS!!!! 100 POINTS :)
 
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patrix

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I love faireanums and venustrums the best or it is blue vandas and cattleyas? There is enough love to go around just not enough greehouse space
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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Now if only fairreanum was really easy! That has never been the case....not hard to bloom, but not easy to keep alive. One hint....keep it as cool as possible when the bud is developing, and the dorsal will be very dark...Take care, Eric
 

Rick

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Let's do a survey. What mix do you use for your fairienums and how long have you maintained individual plants?

I presently have two plants one since 6/02, and the other 2/04. The older plant grew, divided, and flowered like crazy for over 3 years with occaisonal root losses, but great rebound each spring. This year its been a dog, and just kinda hanging on.

The other plant has flowered and divided, but never been a vigourous plant.

About in September I switched them from CHC base to bark base mix, and a cooler darker spot in the GH. They seem to be more interested in life now with some new roots and leaves.
 

bwester

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I seriously have to get one of these..
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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My original fairreanum was labeled "Giganteum"...but the only thing gigantic was the lenght of the stem, which easily reached 18"....the flower itself was quite small. I had it for at least 10 years...in those days I only grew in bark. Since then, I haven't been able to keep a fairreanum for more than 2 years...although they have set spikes, they always blasted...I now use CHC almost exclusively for paphs....and I always grow fairreanum cool and shady. Take care, Eric
 
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Bolero

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I only have one fairianum and I grow it in a mix of coconut coir (80%) and perlite (20%).

That's it........it's growing ok so far but I've only had it 6 months and from what I've heard they aren't easy to grow.
 

Sangii

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Eric Muehlbauer said:
Now if only fairreanum was really easy! That has never been the case....not hard to bloom, but not easy to keep alive. One hint....keep it as cool as possible when the bud is developing, and the dorsal will be very dark...Take care, Eric

Eric when you say "as cool as possible", how cool can that be ? I have one in (low)bud now but the only choices I have are the coolest spot in the GH (13-14° C at night) or a somewhat protected place outside that gets really cold ( 6-7°)....
 

Sangii

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my first fairrieanum has just opened today...not sure if it's fully open yet but I like it anyway.... very long spike also

 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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Go for the coolest spot in the greenhouse...if the other site is outdoors, I wouldn't trust it...it could get too cold. The important thing is to keep the temperature well below room temperature...doesn't have to be really cold, just really cool....the plant doesn't care, but the blooms will look way better. One year I let my fairreanum bloom in one of the bedrooms. The dorsal was mostly white, with red stripes. When bloomed cool (and 14 C sounds about normal...my cold room can drop to 6 or even less during cold spells, but 14 seems more usual) the dorsal was nearly solid red. Take care, Eric
 

Rick

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The reason I brought up potting mixes was because I've seen different geologies referenced in habitat records for fairieanum. Most say found in calcereous regions, but a few found over gneis. Calcareous substrates would have a general neutral pH that can go up to 8. Gneis (a type of granite) does not contribute to pH buffering and you generally find low pH soils over this geology. Also a thick layer of humus and moss will "insulate" a calcareous bedrock from effecting soil pH at the plant. Subsequently I'm questioning growing farries in CHC since it tends to hold a neutral to high pH better than bark. Adding moss to a CHC mix will help drive down the pH, but will tend to breakdown and clogg the mix faster than we would like.

I also think there may be two ways to look at temperatures. From looking at my records, spike initiations started in August and September with blooms opening in October and November. During these times summer night temps would be in the 60-70 range and by November they would be in the high 50-low60 range. So during spike/flower development you don't need extreme cool temps. However, I let the spot were my oldest fairrie was get into the mid 40s for the first couple years(December/January), but for the most recent years its only got down to the mid 50's. It may be possible that for long term maintenance you need to get the plant very cool in winter to get better/stronger growth in subsequent years.

I wish I had 60 plants and 2 greenhouses to try several strategies.
 

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