The Coryopedilum Chronicles - 3 month status review plus 2 additions

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May 14, 2017
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Dallas, TX
The Coryopedilum Chronicles VI – Three month status review

This Chronicle documents the status of two flasks each of Paphiopedilum sanderianum, rothschildianum, platyphyllum, adductum v. anitum and randsii three months after they were deflasked and placed into compots.

In Chronicles VI, there are two new additions- freshly deflasked single flasks of Paphiopedilum adductum and praestans.

The status of each species is presented in a separate section, along with photographs, with the hospital compots covered separately following the species sections.

IMPORTANT PHOTOGRAPHY NOTE – With apologies, these pictures are far more yellowish than reality, and moreso than prior Chronicles. Perhaps the fact the lighting is now closer to the plants is making photography more difficult. In any event- everything is a good light grass green except the randsii and praestans which are a more rich emerald green.

Growing conditions - updated

The compots are all together on multiple shelves in a single shelving unit in a bathroom- so no natural light. Artificial light is provided by four Phillips T8 32W 48” Natural Light bulbs, 2850 lumens, 5000k bulbs that were approximately 18 inches above the leaves until a month ago. Now all plants are approximately 12 inches from the lights, save for a selection of platyphyllum and randsii which are being tested out at 9 inches from the lights.

A month ago the watering regime was also adjusted from RO water to City of Dallas tap water. With the ease of watering from the tap, waterings can be more thorough and are now performed three times a week instead of four times a week. This holds for the adductum v. anitum and randsii which were previously receiving extra waterings. All plants are misted each morning with RO water. The plants have all responded very favorably to this change- I think more due to the improved watering process than to any nutritional value that may come from tap versus RO water.

No fertilizers or other supplements have been applied, and at this point none are planned for the foreseeable future.

Temperature and humidity are monitored on an ongoing basis. Previously, in the immediate growing area the temperature was very consistently at a low of 72 overnight and a high of 75 during the day. About a month ago, the shelf heights were shortened to convert the bottom shelf from storage to an additional growing area. With the reduced shelf height and added lighting, day temps are now running a high of 77, with no change at night.

Humidity dropped a bit with the shelving changes. Previously, it fluctuated between a low of 53-55 degrees during the day and a high of 63-65 degrees at night. Now the daytime lows are in the upper 40s and night time highs are around 60.

I make note of the above because I was surprised the degree to which temperatures and humidity levels changed when the plants were moved closer to the lights, plus a new growing shelf (and thus two more light fixtures) was added. To my knowledge, there were no external environmental adjustments that could explain these changes.

As of one month ago, all hospital compots have had their lids permanently removed to adjust the plants for traditional compotting in the near future.

New additions

As noted in the introduction, about two weeks ago single flasks of Paphiopedilum adductum and praestans were added to the mix.

Here is a photo of the two compots of praestans. They have been worry free from day one- lovely plants that adapted very quickly to the outside world without missing a beat. Potted with agar intact.

The adductum were another matter, and I am now thoroughly convinced that adductum (as well as adductum v. anitum) must be deflasked as soon as possible, and potted into compots with all the agar removed. I did not think to take a photo when the flask arrived, but I let it sit open for a few days to adjust prior to potting as I have done with all the other flasks. About 3 days later the plants (which were small to begin with) very suddenly dried out and nearly died.

I immediately removed the agar and put them all into hospital compots with intense daily misting. Five days later, most of them had made a full recovery, but four plants were lost. Here they are now- a long road ahead, but most should make it and be fine. I expect these will be in hospital compot for at least three months.

Agar intact versus agar removed in compotting – a new opinion

This will be covered in more detail below with reviews of each species, but I wanted to make special note of the fact that three months after deflasking I am now seeing a noticeable difference- for the better- with compots that were potted with agar intact versus with agar removed. I do not think the latter plants will suffer in the long term, but in the interim most plants seem to be doing better where the agar was left intact. The notable exception to this is adductum v. anitum, which is explained below.

The magic question is the extent to which this improved performance is due to one or more of the following,

-residual nutritional benefits granted by the agar,
-the presence of the agar making a more gradual transition to life outside of flask, or
-the fact the agar-intact method is less damaging to the plants and reduces root breakage during compotting.

I do not have an answer- but the method is working out quite well, and I am now using it on all Paphiopedilum flasks save for adductum and adductum v. anitum.

Plant losses defined

One of the statistics reported below in each section is plant loss. Please know that I define a “plant” as having at least two leaves and at least one good root. In any flask, you will always lose some or all of the really tiny plants that have not rooted well. And so I am not including them in the reported plant losses.
May 14, 2017
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Dallas, TX
Paphiopedilum sanderianum

The three compots that were potted with the agar removed are on the left, and the two with agar partially intact are on the right.

These continue to do well and are growing at a very fast rate. The increased light intensity has not lightened the foliage or caused any difficulties.

The plants potted with agar intact are now performing slightly better than the plants with agar removed- most notably among the larger plants which are at a point where their growth rate is accelerating. The plants that had agar removed are doing well and some are starting to accelerate- so all should be well.

There have been no plant losses.

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

The two compots that were potted with the agar removed are on the left (they were fairly clumped in flask and so not individually separated- hence two compots vs three), and the two with agar partially intact are on the right.

These are finally taking off. As noted in Chronicles V, these were still pale and a bit delicate a month out of flask, but their color has now slightly darkened to a pale grass green to match the sanderianum, and they are putting out nice fat waxy leaves. In fact, they are starting to crowd and might well need to be separated into compots of 6-8 plants in the next couple of months.

As with sanderianum, the compots that were potted with agar intact are showing a bit more vigor at present- especially with the larger plants- but I expect in the long run a good success all around.

There have been no plant losses.

Paphiopedilum platyphyllum

The three compots that were potted with the agar removed are on the left, and the two with agar partially intact are on the right.

I am very happy with how these are doing. They are the fasting growing plants in this study and still pristine in appearance. Aside from the one compot of the smallest plants (which are growing- just a bit more slowly) shown on the left, all of these have put out one nice fat post-flask leaf with most now working on a second. These seem like they can perhaps handle a bit more light, so a month ago when I redid the shelves and took all the compots from being 18 inches from the light to 12 inches, I put a couple of these compots at 9 inches on one of the shorter shelves. Nothing to report yet- but if it was going to be a bad thing I would have seen some indications by now.

While things are going great all around with this species, the compots potted with agar intact are now noticeably more floriferous than those that were potted with the agar removed.

There have been no plant losses.

Paphiopedilum adductum v. anitum

As noted in Chronicles V, the plants that were potted with agar intact were starting to lag, and the situation did worsen to some degree- meaning a couple more losses of small plants plus the plants overall remaining delicate and a bit dehydrated in appearance and feel. In Chronicles V, they were progressing more slowly than the plants with agar removed. Therefore, a week after Chronicles V I unpotted the two compots that had been potted with agar intact, removed the agar, and repotted them 6-7 to a compot. Happily they very quickly bounced back.

The plants are all growing slowly, but growing. The new post-flask leaves forming are more what I would expect color-wise- a medium grass green with a slight hint of silvery blue- and the flask leaves that were already starting to yellow in flask are still intact and slowly progressing towards dying. There was no question of that happening- but the good news is that it is happening at a sufficiently slow rate to allow these new healthy post-flask leaves to develop.

I should also note these plants responded very quickly, and positively, to the change in watering from RO to tap where each watering could be more vigorous and thorough. The theme repeats yet again- drain them well of course, but keep them wet!

There have been two plant losses since Chronicles V. Both lost plants came from the compots with agar partially intact. Both had slightly desiccated foliage, and during the re-compotting process noted above it was determined there were insufficient good roots for the plants to recover.

Paphiopedilum randsii

The two compots that were potted with the agar removed are on the left, and the two with agar partially intact are on the right. Flask yield was right at 25 plants here, plus a lot of plants went into hospital compot from the flask that was compotted without agar intact- hence there being two such compots instead of three.

These have been the most difficult plants in the study to date, but are happily finally stabilizing and growing. As the photo shows, there is a significant difference between the plants that were compotted with agar intact versus agar removed. Just as I would say adductum really must be potted with agar removed, I would say randsii must be potted with agar intact.

Additionally, several plants in compots with agar removed had to be placed into hospital compot when they started deteriorating- i.e. showing signs of dehydration. All of them survived and are now doing well in the hospital compots.

Just one potential new problem looming on the horizon- a handful of these had some small pale discoloration on important leaves at deflasking which has now slowly blossomed into a more pronounced appearance- though happily it has not spread. It may be a dangerous game to play, but for now I am tempted to let it ride as long as I can until a new leaf or two grows. Rot was a problem with some of these at deflasking, and it has only affected the randsii- plus is only currently an issue on leaves that were already problematic at deflasking. So it is now a waiting game- waiting to get new leaves as far along as possible before cutting old on young plants that only have 1-2 full leaves.

But at the end of the day- the real waiting game here is for new root growth. The way some of the agar-removed plants sometimes subtly shift during watering, I can tell these plants are not yet putting out new roots in a meaningful way.

There have been three plant losses since Chronicles V. These have been very slow to root, and all three were smaller plants that just gradually dried out- their roots were too few to sustain them post-flask. All losses came from plants in compots where the agar was removed at deflasking.
May 14, 2017
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Dallas, TX
Hospital compots

This approach continues to be a success. A month ago, the lids were removed permanently and I started watering these compots on the same regimen as regular compots to prepare the seedlings for repotting into standard compots within the next month.

Paph sanderianum hospital compot

This compot no longer exists. The protocorm masses with leaves were provided to someone to attempt reflasking as the plants were not rooting in compot, even though they were hanging on quite nicely. The handful of larger plants have been integrated into existing compots.

Paph rothschildianum hospital compot

Doing very well- ready for a regular compot soon. The plants are still small, but as with their larger siblings they are getting nicely fat and waxy, and putting out new leaves.

Paph platyphyllum hospital compot

Doing well- ready for a regular compot soon. These are definitely not growing anywhere near as quickly as their larger siblings, but they are moving forward.

Paph adductum v. anitum hospital compot

Doing well- ready for a regular compot soon. They are putting out new leaves at a growth rate similar to their larger siblings.

Paph randsii hospital compot

Doing well- if growing slowly- and there were a few additions from the regular compots that were starting to dehydrate in addition to the demise of several tiny plants that started off here but were not sufficiently rooted to make it. I am actually tempted to leave these alone for a while- perhaps until they are ready for individual pots. So much has happened with these plants that as they settle down I am strongly inclined to change as little as possible.


This concludes Chronicles VI. The key take-away is that the agar-intact method is, for my growing conditions anyway, not only a time and space saving measure, but clearly a better way to give Paphiopedilums a head start out of flask. The notable exception to this is adductum, and its varieties, due to the fact the species prefers to be kept wetter than most Paphiopedilums and the presence of agar impedes ideal water exposure to the roots.

At this point, randsii is the only question mark. They are generally doing better than before and making progress, but it is all going to come down to when they start actively rooting. Time will tell.

Chronicles VII to come in three months, to document the progress of the plants six months out of flask (plus praestans and adductum three months out of flask.)