Wednesday, 21 January 2015 16:15

Different Potting Media used to Grow Paphs

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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.


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