A genus that includes many species of orchids of fairly easy cultivation, originating in Central and South America. They have ribbon leaves, light green in colour; from the centre of the leaves to the end of the winter and in late summer a long stem grows, which carries numerous large flowers, with scarp-shaped labellum, as in the genera paphiopedilum and cypripedium, of red, pink or green colour; the flowers bloom at the same time or one at a time, depending on the species.
Most of the phragmipedium are soil, even if there are epiphytes and lithophytes; these orchids can be divided in two big groups, those with elongated petals and those with shorter petals, the first group needs slightly more abundant watering than the second group and can bear some hours of direct light. Often the flowers of phragmipedium they come off the barrel without withering.
A particular note to make about these orchids is that, although in the past they have not been much considered and we have not been very successful, since recent years the situation has changed completely. This is thanks to the discovery in Peru in 1981 of the Phragmipedium besseae, which literally caught the attention of orchid lovers.
Usually the phragmipedium loves very bright places, but during the hot months they don’t bear direct sunlight; during the remaining months of the year they can bear a few hours of direct sunlight, during the less warm hours of the day. They fear the cold, therefore in winter they are to be sheltered in a temperate greenhouse or in the house, in places where the temperatures are not lower than 8-10°C.
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- They decorate terraces, balconies and garden corners.
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These orchids need abundant and regular watering, you can also leave them in a saucer containing water, which should be filled every 10-15 days, remembering to vaporize the leaves every week, for both operations should use demineralized water. Every 10-15 days provide specific fertilizer for orchids mixed with the water of the watering.
As with all plants, the choice of soil is fundamental for this variety of orchid. This is because it is from the soil that the plant will acquire the main sources of sustenance to develop and grow at its best. It is therefore important to choose a soil consisting of pine bark, charcoal, fern or peat and finally, perlite or sponge. In this way, the orchid will be guaranteed an ideal substrate for its needs and requirements.
To administer a specific liquid fertilizer for orchids to be administered to the water of the irrigations. As far as repotting is concerned, it is better to do it after the flowering period. One advice is to wet the roots of the orchid before repotting in order to make them more elastic and to limit the possibility that they break during the operation.
The multiplication of this beautiful orchid takes place by division of the heads.
Phragmipedium: Pests and diseases
These particular orchids can have problems with the development of diseases or parasites when grown in poorly ventilated environments. In these cases, it is likely that the cochineal, a tiny insect that feeds on the sap contained in the leaves of the plants, will attack. It is possible to solve the problem by using specific pesticide products.