Orchids - Paphiopedilums
Beautiful, unusual and mysterious orchids. One of the most beautiful is Paphiopedilum, or shoes. Until the plants bloom, hardly anyone will admire them. But the bud is opened, and in front of the amazed viewer there will be a flower in which grace and pretentiousness are miraculously combined, and bright, contrasting tones imperceptibly for the eye pass one into another. A subtle pattern of stripes and spots gives a special charm to the flowers of some species of this genus.
Paphiopedilums live in the tropics and subtropics of Asia, often high in the mountains in crevices of rocks on moss cushions, in the forks of trees on the bark. But, alas, every year their number in nature is dramatically reduced, many species become rare or disappear altogether.
Fans of orchids took years of painstaking work, while they learned to grow them in culture. Modern collections sometimes include dozens of Paphiopedilum species. Caught in caring hands, they are well developed away from their homeland and regularly bloom profusely. Heat-loving, tropical species with variegated leaves and bright flowers are especially attractive for gardeners. In recent years, many hybrid Paphiopedilums have been created that are not inferior, and sometimes even superior in beauty to the original species.
It’s not very difficult to grow shoes at home. The best time to land is late February or early March. The deal with the roots is torn from the uterine plant, and the wound surface is sprinkled with crushed charcoal. The bottom of the plastic pot with a diameter of not more than 12 cm is poured with crushed polystyrene as a layer of 3-4 cm as drainage. The plant is placed in the center of the pot and, holding your hand in the right position, straighten the roots and cover it with a substrate. It consists of crushed pine bark (after boiling it well beforehand), a small amount of charcoal, polystyrene crumbs and mineral fertilizers. One tablespoon of bone meal and horn shavings, as well as a teaspoon of dolomite flour, are added to a liter jar of substrate.
Paphiopedilums are undemanding to light. They grow well on the northern windows, however, in winter it is better to rearrange them to the south or make additional lighting. In summer, shoes should be shaded from direct sunlight. The sun in the morning and evening hours is useful for them. Heat-loving species in winter is quite suitable room temperature, in summer it is preferable to a higher (26-28 ° C). They do not have a pronounced resting period.
Shoes are poured with boiled water. It should be 3-5 ° C warmer than the air in the room. The first time after planting, the substrate is only slightly moistened. As rooting, the amount of water increases, but it should be remembered that plants can not be poured. In summer, they need high humidity (70-90%). To do this, in hot weather, the surface of the substrate in pots is covered with sphagnum moss, and the pots on pallets themselves are placed in low ditches with water. Orchids are sprayed 2 times a day from a spray bottle. In the summer they can be taken out to the garden.
In room culture, heat-loving Paphiopedilums bloom at different times of the year. Flowers retain freshness for up to three months, stand for a long time in cut.
It is much more difficult to maintain at home high-altitude cold-loving shoes. To achieve their flowering in the room is quite difficult. In winter, some species require nighttime temperatures in the range of + 4-6 degrees, and daytime temperatures around 16-18 ° С.
Let's hope that the sensitive hands of gardeners will keep these amazing orchids, and our descendants will have the opportunity to admire the unique works of nature.