This genus is composed of around 22 species. All of them are prized by slipper enthusiasts as worthy of culture.
Similar in growth and appearance to their old world cousins the Paphiopedilums but they are native to Central and South America. Light.
Requiring more light than their relatives the Paphiopedilums, they will tolerate similar or slightly less light to the Cattleya's and do best when grown in light shade and airy conditions.
The bessiae types need a little more shade. Temperature
A winter minimum of 55 deg. and a Summer high of the upper 70's suits them best, with a variation between night and daytime temperatures of around 5/10 deg. Watering and feeding.
Never let these plants dry out totally, in summer when it is warm in our experience they do not seem to suffer when left standing in a little water for a day or two between watering, although they should have dried out a little before the next application of water.
In Winter normally water once a week, but if it is very dull and the air is damp perhaps leave them a little longer. Feed very lightly every other week. Overfeeding can result in leaf tip burn.
There are several mixtures to suit different growing conditions and types. Young plants may do well when grown in a mix of sphagnum moss and foam. Smaller growing types such as Hertzii or slightly older plants seem to prefer a mix of small bark, perlite and a little wettable rockwool roughly 40/10/40. Large plants mat be potted in either pure rockwool if they are already doing well in that when acquired but also seem happy in a lump peat and foam mix: Watering tips for rockwool, as rockwool can appear deceptively dry on the surface, shove a little stick into it and leave it there, when you wish to know if the plant wants watering, remove the stick and feel it for dampness; after awhile you get to know the weight of the plant before and after watering. Pure rockwool can over time become very solid, and make re potting more difficult.
Categories orchids, phragmipedium orchids. culture, North of England Orchid Society