Cultural Notes for Phragmipedium Alliance

This is a genus of approx. 21 species distributed from Mexico to Brazil and Bolivia. The plants are epiphytes, or more commonly, lithophytes or terrestrials at elevations from 400 to 2,200 metres. Most species can be cultivated under intermediate conditions in pots with abundant water throughout the year


They may be grown during the summer months with plenty of heat and moisture but out of the direct rays of the sun. Although a warm growing plant, it is not tropical. The foliage is similar to the green leafed Paphiopedilums, but more resistant to light.


15mm bark size is advisable with some perlite, polystyrene and additional stone chips for drainage.   I also add the larger Leca balls to the mix of this group of plants.   Outeniqua Orchids Cattleya mix is ideal for this group of plants.


Phragmipediums need abundant water throughout the year. Many people stand them on trays of wet gravel/stone chips to increase the humidity. Phrags sometimes don’t take kindly to liquid fertilizers and adapt better to a solid fertilizer such as Bonemeal or Hoof and Horn in light applications remembering that these are three months slow release fertilizers. I have found that in order for the pink varieties to bloom, they need more high nitrogen than the Phrag besseae types. One feed of Starke Ayres Growing Orchids fertilizer 30:10:10 per month during early summer generally does the trick!   On Mike Tibb’s advice I also alternate with Seagrow Organic fertilizer  in the summer months.


Keep plants on the dry side for a while after repotting until growth starts. It is not advisable to break up your plants into single growths as they are inclined to bloom better when allowed to mature into 3 or 4 growths.