Paphiopedilum Icy Wind ‘Fixby’

Even within my own large collection of Paphs this is one that stands out. I purchased the plant at Peterborough in flower 3 years ago in bloom off Hilmar Bauch’s display – although it was grown by his drinking and travelling companion Freddie Horn. At this point it was a plant that had flowered 2-3 times and had 2 leads – 1 at each side. It was well rooted in a mixture of coconut chips and bark – which is what I am using these days. After 12 months I re-potted it into a larger pot which is where it still lives. In this time it has developed into 4 leads, and now 6. It currently has 4 in flower, and new growths are shooting up. It is very vigorous, and could have up to 6 flowers next year, however, it is due for re-potting once it has finished flowering, and I intend to divide it. This will likely be into 2 halves of 2 & 4 leads. I’m reluctant to split it further at this point as it might sulk for a while. I have called this clone ‘Fixby’ as it is good enough for a name, and I would hope to breed from it in due course. I have a further clone in my greenhouse that is differently bred, and a more traditional shape that I bought in Singapore at the WOC (which took 6 months to reach the UK via the USA). This second plant was bred by Tokyo Orchids, whereas the first is probably from the original cross made at the Orchid Zone in the USA. The cross is Ice Castle x Stone Lovely, and has produced some very good flowers that are becoming awarded as much as the parents have been. John Garner

Paph Nimit

This is a plant that I have had for just over 12 months, and came from Jerry Fischer when he visited the UK last year for the BOC at Writhlington. Nimit is a hybrid between primulinum and Greyi (a primary hybrid between niveum and godefroyae. The cross was originally made by Ray Rands and registered in 1995. This was a remake by Jerry. The plant currently has 2 flowers and a bud. The sequential flowering habit comes from the primulinum side of the parentage as does the larger leaf size and count. The leaf mottling and floral colour are from Greyi. The flowers may look a little small for the size of the plant, but all of the parents are quite small – if the plant was restricted to a single flower then it would certainly be somewhat larger. The flowers are however a very good shape, and with the sequential flowering it should go on into next year. I have grown it in intermediate conditions in my standard mix of coconut chips and bark, watering roughly on a 9-10 day cycle with weak fertiliser on 4 out of 5 waterings (it varies!). John Garner

Paphiopedilum javanicum

Genus Paphiopedilum javanicum – Sub Genus Sigmatopetalum – Section Barbata – Sub Section Chloroneura; according to Guido Braem, wow!

Although discovered before 1821, Paph. javanicum remained virtually unknown until it was collected by Dutch botanist Caspar Reinwardt from the mountainous region of eastern Java in 1826. It was 14 years later that it was collected by Thomas Lobb, one of Messrs Veitch’s collectors and sent to England.

In 1858 the first Bornean specimen was sent to Messrs Low and Co as part of a consignment of other slipper orchids. The plant was bought by Mr John Day of Tottenham. When the plant flowered it was found to have much brighter, deeper green flowers and more richly coloured pouch than the ones from Java.

The Bornean specimen was treated as a distinct species by Dr H. G. Reichenbach in 1863 and named Paph. virens, although it is sometimes referred to as javanicum var. virens.

My plant originally came from David Binks, it is grown along with all my other orchids in intermediate conditions, Temp Summer months 70-75 F Day / 60-65 F night, Winter months 63-68 F Day / 54-58 F Night. Light is moderate, Humidity 60-85 %. Derek Jackson

Paphiopedilum armeniacum

This was one of the plants that Francis Qesada-Palares brought to his sales table the first time he came to talk us in 2014.

At first I grew it in my cold greenhouse where the winter temperature can go down to zero on occasions (though not lower) having heard that this species comes from limestone hills at about 6,500ft altitude. It survived but it didn’t like it very much so I moved it into the intermediate house where it sits just inside the door at the cooler end. I should have read a bit further – although it’s found at 6,500ft, it comes from the border country between south-west China and north east Burma where it may be less than tropical but it’s not cold.

First discovered apparently in 1979, it was not described as a new species until 1982 when it was named, oddly, armeniacum for its “apricot” colour. Oddly because it is nearly always buttercup yellow, even the so-called ’alba’ form is only pale yellow – never apricot. It is one of the very few paphs that produce extended rhizomes. In most paphs the rhizome is very brief so that the new growth appears close to the parent, but in this species the new growths can be 6ins. or so apart. In nature, the rhizomes extend just below the surface of the moss in which they grow so these plants should be grown in wide, shallow containers and need frequent but careful watering (and careful feeding). The new growths can sometimes pop out of the drainage holes under the pot: some growers recommend growing in hanging baskets to allow for this.

It’s a rewarding species to grow, easier than some of the other Parvisepalum group species such as emersonii and micranthum (another oddly-named one – it means ‘small flower’ but it’s actually one of the biggest). Ted Croot

Paphiopedilum Psyche

This plant came from Ratcliffe’s, the internationally known orchid nursery that unfortunately had to close down a year or so ago, in 2013 when the Paphiopedilum Society meeting had to be delayed a month because of snow. It’s a plant that’s been around for a long time, having been a cross made of Paph niveum x Paph bellatulum, registered by Mr. Winn in 1893. It is one of those Paph crosses that clearly reflect the quality of the plants that were used in its breeding: top quality parents produce plants whose flowers have dorsal sepals that do not recurve and do not show a gap between the dorsal sepal and the two petals below. Unfortunately, while my plant is quite a nice one (although I say it) it is not a first-rater – there’s daylight between the dorsal and the petals.

For a Brachypetalum hybrid, it’s an easy one to grow provided you leave it alone to get on with it: too much fussing and it will fade away. Good light, short of scorching, at the warmer end of intermediate temperature and with steadily moving air currents seem to suit it well. It likes freer drainage than a lot of Paphs seem to need, with watering about every fifth day in summer reducing to every seventh in winter and regular but careful feeding at every watering, keep it going. I feed with Akerne’s Rain Mix at their recommended rate most of the time but less in winter.

Like most brachys, it doesn’t like to be divided up, even repotting should be done with minimal disturbance. If you must split it, the parts must be more than single growths and they should be allowed to dry before potting up so that the wounds can dry off. Fungicide should be liberally employed too. Otherwise, it’s a good one to have a go with. Ted Croot

Paphiopedilum Rocco Tower

This is a plant that I have now had for around 6 years and originated at the EYOF as part of their breeding programme. Sadly it isn’t one of their named clones which would command a hefty price tag. However, it is quite a good clone anyway. The cross was registered in 1998 between Saint Ouen and Cotil Point. Saint Ouen is a large complex yellow slipper with a few spots, and Cotil point is a spotted white/red. The progeny is variable with this one more of a pastel shade.

It is a strong grower and is grown in coconut chips in an intermediate greenhouse with medium humidity (around 60-70%). John Garner

Paphiopedilum insigne

Paphiopedilum insigne was discovered by Dr Wallich in North-East India and was introduced to Europe in 1820. It was the second Paphiopedilum to be brought into European culture and it was 20 years before another species was introduced. It was then a widely grown species which could be found in most collections and was also grown for its cut flowers. There were at that time several varieties of P. insigne, including the most well known yellow P. insigne var. Sanderae. Among the early introductions was one called P. insigne “Harefield Hall” which has a gigantic flower that proved to be a triploid.

In its natural habitat P. insigne grows on dolomitic limestone outcrops near waterfalls, in bright shade at elevations of 1,000 – 1,500metres. Monsoons bring heavy rain from May to October, promoting rapid growth. Flower spike formation follows the monsoon season. Summer temperatures range from 30 deg C to 20 deg C. Winter is drier and cooler, 19 deg C by day and 4.5deg C at night. Even in winter the humidity remains high.

I bought my plant from Burnham Nurseries in 2006. My cultural approach is to mimic as far as possible the conditions of the plant’s natural habitat. In my view the most important elements of culture are copious water in summer, bright light, good air movement and high humidity.

It is generally recommended that this plant is grown cool. I tried this for the first year, but it did not flower or thrive. I have grown it in intermediate conditions since then with more light and it has thrived. This species has an unusual habit of beginning its growth in spring then waiting until late autumn to flower.

In summer I water every day with rainwater. I add Dyna-Gro 7-9-5 as fertiliser with an electrolyte concentration of around 300 microsiemens. I feed at every watering in summer, less in winter. From November I keep it cooler and drier but do not allow it to dry out. My intermediate section is very shaded by trees but I grow it in the brightest spot and supplement with Gro-Lux lighting in winter and in summer on very cloudy days.

I repotted the plant in summer 2007. The compost is a mixture of bark, sphagnum moss, sponge rock and a small amount of limestone chips. I soak the bark in Dyna- Gro K-L-N rooting solution for 24 hours prior to repotting and add K-L-N when watering until the plant is re-established. Opinion seems to be divided on whether P. insigne likes to be repotted. Certainly mine did not flower the year it was repotted. In the wild the roots are embedded in mosses and soil and are difficult to tear loose and this may be why the plant dislikes root disturbance. Probably the best advice is only to repot when absolutely necessary, with the minimum of disturbance to the plant roots. Lance Birk recommends that the plant has 4 to 6 weeks of 40-45 deg F nights in winter as well as less water in order to initiate flower production. My plant flowered this year without this treatment.

This plant seems quite resistant to pests and also the dreaded rot! However I always water in the morning and make sure the leaves are dry by night time to try and prevent this. Optimum culture for this plant is warm and wet in summer and cool and a little drier in winter, rather than year round intermediate conditions.

I thoroughly recommend this plant for any collection. It is easy to grow and has beautiful flowers in winter that last for at least 2 months. The main problem would be acquiring a plant as they are not readily available. Hilary Hobbs

Paph. vietnamense

This plant was purchased as a small seedling that had been raised from flask, I believe the seed was collected in Vietnam.

I purchased it from Plested Orchids at the British Paphiopedilum Society AGM 17 Novenber 2007 and it has grown extremely well in my small intermediate temperature greenhouse. This is only its third flowering, so you can see it was a while reaching maturity.

While I have seen plants with better shape to the flowers’ although it had been out for a while and the petals were just beginning to curl a little, I think the leaf texture, colour and pattern will take some beating, which makes the plant decorative even when out of flower. Derek Jackson

Paphiopedilum Mercatelii

Olive Stone’

I bought my plant from Iven’s Orchids when Alan Smith had some of their interesting and unusual plants for sale at clearance prices at a British Paph. Soc. Meeting & was I the lucky one! I was tempted because I remembered the beautiful plants Jim Grieves used to show and of course the price was right.

When I tried to look up the history of Mercatelii, I was surprised to find that there seemed to be no reference to it in any of my books, old and new. However the RHS International Orchid Register told me that my plant is synonymous with Paph. Memoria Mercatellii (registered as stonei x lowii).

The cross was registered 1st January 1904 and was made and registered by R. Linaria using P. stonei as pollen parent and P. lowii as pod parent. I can find no information on who Mercatelli was or Linaria other than it was the only cross registered by him.

Between 1997 and 2002 it has gained 9 American Awards; 4 x AM/AOS and 5x HC/AOS, the best with 5 flowers. My clone ‘Olive Stone’ was awarded a bronze by the Cymbidium Society of America in 1997 when shown by Paphanatics.

Both parents are beautiful plants in their own right with stonei coming from Sarawak, Borneo, warm growing, bright light in high trees on moss, or on limestone rocks in accumulated humus and lowii from Sarawak, Borneo also Sumatra, Malaya, Celebes, Java.

The growing requirements for the two parents are similar, Just! and tolerate my rather fixed intermediate conditions. Temp, summer months 70-75 F Day / 60-65 F night, winter months, 63 -68 F Day / 54-58 F Night. Light is moderate, Humidity 60-85 %. Derek Jackson