Taking Care of Paphs

Jurahame Leyva discusses pahp culture at the KDOC meeting on March 12.Jurahame Leyva was on hand to discuss his novel approach to growing Lady Slippers at the Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club’s monthly meeting on March 12.

Leyva brought a number of beautiful paphiopedilum orchids, commonly referred to as ‘paphs’, and pulled apart a few of them for demonstration. They have been given the nickname “Lady Slippers” due to the unusual shape of the pouch-like labellum of the flower.

Paphiopedilums, like so many other orchids, aren’t necessarily hard to grow; it’s just a matter of finding out what the plant needs to stay happy.

“One of the first things you’ll notice is that paphiopedilums have no pseudobulbs, so why would it grow like an orchid with one?” Leyva said.

“Roots are most important. People spend too much time focusing on what’s above the top of the pot, but the key to paphs is healthy roots.

“Tip is most important part of root. Biggest problem is that the tip dries out.”
Leaves are slow to grow, so as a general rule you want to keep as many leaves as you can; in other words, you want to think twice before you start stripping leaves off your plant.

These sympodial orchids grow in robust shoots, each with several leaves. When older shoots die, new shoots take over. Each new shoot only blooms once when it is fully grown.

Paphiopedilums like a lot of water, and the water should run out of the bottom of the pot for at least 25 seconds. Otherwise, you shouldn’t even bother watering it.

Leyva stressed that his advice (or all advice) should be taken as ‘guidelines’ … that is, nothing is necessarily set in stone, but rather is best approached with an open ‘this works for me’ attitude. So the KDOC came away with lots of great recommendations.

Jurahame Leyva discusses paph culture at the KDOC meeting on March 12.

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