To Sphagnum or not to Sphagnum, that is the question...

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Soooo many different opinions.
So, I'll do whats right for me only I really don't know what that answer is.

Bought 20 Phaph over the past week for my collection.
Bought from proffesional growers and things are different between the growers in the potting mediums.

All in Florida. I did purchase a growers medium and it looks real good. Small, medium sized rocks, some kind of bark, something that looks like perlite.

I emptied out the old medium from my new bought plants and I see sphagnum mixed in about 40% or so. I call the grower and ask if I need to add sphagnum and they say no.

Hmmm now looking into this a bit more I see mixed results.

I am someone who waters enough so my plants don't go dry at all. Some are indoors and some are outside in a covered patio.

These plants all have bloomed. Someyounger plants of two/three years some who knows!

What says you?
Sphag breaks down quickly in a constantly wet environment. I say no. Bark mix, I need to change every other year, with Sphag in a mix I would have to repot yearly...with 100 Paphs...that's too much for me.
Avoid sphagnum when you pot paphs. It may be of benefit in the first 2-3 weeks after a paph is repotted, but from then on its no good. Breaks down, holds too much water, is acidic. The exception is Paph delanatii....I always add sphagnum to the mix for delanatii because they prefer damp, acidic conditions, and they never used to bloom for me until I began to add sphagnum. Take care, Eric.
I am no expert by any means, but I can tell you my experience with sphagnum. I do not like it at all. Every orchid I have had in it has always stayed too wet over a long period of time. I water sparingly....I'm very careful not to overwater with sphagnum......but they always seem to get too wet.

I found after I moved them out of the moss and into bark with charcoal and perlite they grow so much better and form stronger roots.

;) Bluefirepegasus
I use it at the rate of about 20% of mixes for paph species in the barbata group, and a few others that seem to prefer a more acidic substrate. But I also use they clear aircone pots most of the time, so aeration is very good, and its easy to check on moisture levels.
Ok so I repotting into a good medium.
When doing so I did take theplants out of the plastic liner pot and replanted in the teracota pots without the plastich pot liner.
Hope I'm doing something correctly.
Thanks for the opinions.

The smaller rooted ones I will admit (2 of them out of 8 plants I did use about 40% sphag in the center and the other medium on the top and bottom. Should I replant again???
In my growing conditions right now the top and bottom layers of media tend to dry out faster than the middle, so I tend to stay away from having sphag in the center...if you'd ask me my opinion of sphag while I was in ND, I would have said definately not, soggy rotted plants would be the result indoors, but here in TX I've actually had a lot of luck w/ it in a mix for seedlings - P. henryanum in particular, so I'm trying modifications of it w/ other plants too, except ones in large pots, which still would never dry evenly enough. I prefer clear plastic pots just for this reason - if something's not going well, hopefully I'll see it sooner rather than later, and if it is going well, I get to see all the wonderful new roots!
Replanted my phaphs and used nothing but sphag.


I did replant and used only new medium without any sphag. I am a water and I don't want/need rot. I noticed all my plants that are taken care of out of sphag are so much nicer. No bugs/tinsey flies anything and much nicer roots. My opinion only.

Ahhh, such temprenmental (sp?) little beings...
I bought several paphs recently that had some sort of moss (doesn't appear to be sphagnum, more like the moss you fine in the woods growing on the ground) on top of the mix. Very scenic, perhaps, but is this a realistic long term thing? So far, none of the slippers seem any the worse for wear, but I'm tempted to rip off the topdressing and discard it. Comments?