This area of the web site is a collection of "news" stories related to orchids. The latest additions are included in the monthly newsletter. All links are cited for those desiring to review the original sources. Claims made in these items are of the original author and not of the NVOS, any following of advice is done on your own.

Have something to say about any story presented here - feel free to make a comment at the bottom of each news item.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 16:15

Different Potting Media used to Grow Paphs

Written by

Paphiopedilum Media

I am currently using coconut for almost all of my Paphs.  Below are previous mixes I have used for your reference. There are three different types of media on my Paph's, a dependent upon size, background (from which species), and growing conditions. These recipes are provided with no guaranty's or promises. They are what works well under my particular growing conditions when I resided in Colorado. I recommend that you try them and make adjustments depending on materials available to you and your growing conditions. Below are the three different mixtures that I use.Seedling Bark MixFor small seedlings, plants with little roots or plants that due to the species background, require more moisture around the roots; I use the following mixture:


Seedling Bark Mix

For small seedlings, plants with little roots or plants that due to the species background, require more moisture around the roots; I use the following mixture:

4 Parts Fine Bark

1 Part Large Perlite

1 Part Small Perlite

1 Part Charcoal

And Optionally:

1 Part Horticultural Granular Rockwool (Wet)

I never use this mix in larger than a 3 and 1/2 inch pot as it will stay too wet.

This mixture is also good for Mini-Catt's, Cattleya seedlings, Odont's, etc.



Medium Bark Mix

For larger plants at least in a 3 and 1/2 inch pot or larger. In my experience, this is especially good for brachypetilums. I grow Paph bellatulum's very well in this mix.

4 Parts Medium Bark

1 Part Fine Bark

1 Part Large Perlite

And Optionally:

1 Part Charcoal

This may seem to be a much larger mix that people are used to for Paphiopedilum. I find that the plants require about 3-6 months to adjust. After the plants grow the additional roots over this period, they grow much better and healthier.

This is also the media I use for larger Mini-Catt's and Standard Cattleya's.



Soil-less Seedling Mix

This is a seedling mix I use to accelerate growth of seedlings. It is a soil-less based mix. WARNING: You must repot every 6 months! This mix can compact or go bad and when it does, it goes quickly and will take out the roots! Do not allow this mix to go completely dry as it is difficult to rewet. If you can master the difficulties and work with this mix, you can push Paphs from flask to flowering size in 3 years on average.

2 Parts Soil-less Peat Based Mix (I use Coles Premium Potting Soil, available from Ace Hardware)

1 Part Large Perlite

1 Part Small Perlite

I would recommend you experiment with this mix first. Paph bellatulum and bellatulum primary hybrids tend not to like this mix. It does work well for me but it is tricky. I find I can use it as follows:

0-6 Months Compots with Multiple Seedlings

6-12 Months 2 1/4 inch pots

12-18 Months 2 1/4 inch pots

18-24 Months 3 1/2 inch pots

After 24 Months Change to seedling or medium bark mix




Seedlings less than a year out of flask in the Soil-less Seedling Mix.





Mature Plants in Soil-less Mix. Plants were moved from 2 and 1/4 inch pots about 9 months before and repotted about 3 months ago.



ISOLITE® After using Isolite for two years, I have decided that it is not suitable for Paph's. It seems to collect salts which causes root damage after several years.

Fertilizers and Additives For Fertilizer,

I use Dynagrow 10-10-10. It is a liquid, balanced fertilizer. I fertilize every 2 weeks during heavy growth, cutting back to once a month in the winter.

I also top dress the Paph's with crushed oyster shell once a year. All Paph's seem to like this but it especially helps the ones with a species in the background that likes to grow in and around limestone.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 20:09

National Geographic - Love and Lies (from 2009)


How do you spread your genes around when you're stuck in one place?

By tricking animals, including us, into falling in love.


An Orchid gallery from National Geographic Magazine,

can be found here, and it is worth a look.

Thursday, 08 January 2015 20:49

Masdevallia's today

I know that sometimes I get questioned about how they grow and what constitutes a warm growing Masdevallia. I thought I would just explain how I and others grow them on a hot, dry continent. Firstly please understand that climates vary greatly from person to person in this forum so this won't work for everyone but I think with some experimentation maybe more people will be able too in the future.

Thursday, 08 January 2015 17:25

Strange Kinds of Orchids

The orchid family (Orchidaceae) contains flowers considered some of the most beautiful and most bizarre on Earth. It is the largest family of flowering plants, encompassing more than 26,000 species with 100 to 200 species discovered annually. Those amounts don't include the thousands of named orchid hybrids and cultivars. Orchids grow naturally all over the world and are either terrestrial plants or epiphytes. Epiphytes grow on trees and rocks, and they don't need soil. Assuring pollination is the main driving force behind the creation of almost unbelievable orchid flower shapes and colors.

I was in a nursery recently and wandered into the greenhouse where they had tropical plants generally grown indoors. There were all the typical foliage plants, such as dracaena, dieffenbachia, pothos ivy and Chinese evergreens.

I saw a beautiful collection of blooming bromeliads. But what really caught my eye was a display of phalaenopsis orchids.

Monday, 05 January 2015 18:47

Nature Journal: Identifying native orchids

Orchids are tricky, sometimes even deceitful. They have evolved seemingly endless strategies for attracting and manipulating insects, their dull-witted partners in reproduction. And curious as it may seem, winter is the prime time to locate and identify two of our native orchid species.

The basal leaves of puttyroot (Aplectrum hymale) and cranefly orchis (Tipularia discolor) emerge in late summer, after the flowering period, and are conspicuous from late November into early spring. Then as the flowering stems emerge in spring, the leaves wither and disappear. For this reason, they are sometimes described as “winter-green” or “summer-deciduous” or “winter-leaf” or “hibernal” orchids, but I think of them as “winter orchids.” Both are common in rocky moist-to-dry woodlands featuring acidic soils.

Monday, 05 January 2015 14:43

Orchids fussbudgets? Hardly

I admit it. For years, the thought of growing orchids indoors was intimidating to the point I never tried. And I’m sure I’m not the only gardener who feels this way. But if so, how do you suppose our friends feel when we present them with the gift of an orchard?

In reality, despite their reputation for being finicky flower divas, orchids aren’t difficult to grow.


All information presented here is for educational and informational purposes only under the guidelines of "Fair Use" policies defined by US Copyright law(s).  Some images and select text are protected by respective copyright holders. Material presented here is done so as educational, and "as is".  The Napa Valley Orchid Society, it's executive Board, General members and the web site maintainer cannot be held liable for any damages incurred.

When necessary, images and texts will be fully credited to the original.

Information here may be used by other orchid societies as long as they credit the original creator and at least mention the Napa Valley Orchid Website as a courtesy.