Today’s post is for the One Word Photo Challenge hosted by Jennifer Nichole Wells as always, Melon is this week’s color. Seeing as I have TONS of Orchid pics yet to share from several shows I of course have one for this subtle sweet color.
Going back to the end of January and the Grand Valley Orchid Society 2015 Show I have a Paphiopedilum – Lady’s Slipper Orchid – that exemplifies Melon quite well I do believe. As well I have a more recent image of a Phalaenopsis hybrid whose name I do not know.
First is Paph. Pit River Rise. This plant was one from New World Orchids. After the name the tag read ‘AM’, this stands for Award of Merit. If there were a slash following that and then more letters, say for example AOS, that denotes the association that bestowed the award. You might also commonly see ‘HCC’ after a name, this stands for Highly Commended Certificate. Awarded plants as you can imagine are not only points of pride for the grower but can also fetch him or her a higher price were they to sell the plant or divisions of it. Unlike for example an orchid for which you have no name and whose parentage is unknown. Such plants are referred to as NoIDs and have little market value in many circles. However this does not mean the plant is completely worthless. Without knowing its parentage it can’t be registered and is not recommended for breeding. I have seen NoIDs presented in displays and sometimes even given awards. So really it depends on the show, judging and the circle of orchid growers we’re talking about. More on naming in the future.
I have 9 Paphiopedilum hybrids and one species, Paph. venustum x sib in my collection. What attracted me to Paphs wasn’t just their unique shape and flower characteristics but also the mottled leaves of so many of them. A lot of them look almost reptilian! It’s a huge bonus for when the plant is not in bloom, it’s still beautiful to look at. I have one Paph – Lebaudyanum – that has long, plain, skinny leaves, referred to as “strap leaves”. Strap leaf Paphs are typically the multiflorals, this means their spikes have multiple flowers not just one like most others. Then again there are the sequential bloomers, their spikes produce multiple flowers but only one is open at a time. I have one sequential Paph, Pink Fred, which was my second Paph. 🙂
Multifloral Paphs tend to prefer brighter light, while others like lower light, but neither should be exposed to direct light. I think Paphs do just fine under general Phal conditions in either an east or west-facing window that gets bright morning and/or evening light. As is always the case, it’s best to research the parentage and wild conditions of the species/hybrid you have in order to determine their ideal conditions. My Paph. Odette’s Vision is currently in a south-facing window – which means it’s really bright – and this plant is doing well. Point being it can handle pretty bright light, similar to my “strap leaved” Lebaudyanum. However with it having been winter the sun’s exposure isn’t as brutal, but it’s only going to get hotter and hotter. I will need to keep an eye on them and start to shade from the direct afternoon light. Direct light can burn an Orchid resulting in a little or a lot of damage. A major reason for this is the increased temperatures on the leaf. Providing a fan to cool the leaf temps is important in brighter light and higher temps.
Paphiopedilums are generally thirsty plants. They don’t like to be super soggy but they need consistent moisture so I don’t advise letting them dry out in between waterings. I’m in an experimental stage with what works best for my Paphs and I in terms of medium however I recommend something with some bark though you’ll want to base what you use on your conditions and watering practices. I need to add a layer of sphagnum moss on top of my pots in order to retain more moisture since I underwater. This summer I should be watering my Paphs 2-3 times a week, maybe more if it’s really hot. And I’ll try to fertilize ‘weakly, weekly’. For more information on how to care for Paphiopedilums visit the American Orchid Society or Carter & Holmes care page.
And by the way, I’ve met Dr. Kristen Uthus – an apprentice to one of the original founders of New World Orchids – at a couple of shows this year. She’s very kind and quite knowledgeable of their many little Japanese orchids. One of these days I may fall victim to having to get one. 😉 She was scheduled to speak at a society meeting in Michigan this winter however the meeting got snowed out. Maybe next time…
The following is a Phalaenopsis I saw in the Orchid Exhibit at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. I’m calling it unknown not necessarily because it doesn’t have a name but because I did get the name! In addition to being a good ‘melon’ specimen it’s also a great example of the sparkles so many orchid flowers have! 😀 Yeah, go sparkles!