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Cattleya Miltoniopsis Odontaglossum/Oncidium      
Paphiopedilum Phalaenopsis Phragmipedium Zygopetalum
General Information
Phragmipediums are new-world ladyslippers that grow from Mexico through the central and northern parts of South America. They can be found growing on rock outcroppings (Mexipedium xerophyticum), in forks of trees (caudatum), or volcanic clay (boisserianum or wallisii). Some plants such as longifolium, ecuadorense, pearcei or klotscheyanum grow submerged underwater through periods of heavy rainfall. The flowering season is heaviest in the spring, but many species can be in bloom for 6-11 months at a time. The flower colors vary from green to mahogany-pink and the brightly fluorescent orange of phragmipedium besseae which was only recently discovered in 1981.

Phrags like clean water such as rain water, distilled or reverse osmosis (R.O.) system water.Almost all of the phrags in nature grow slightly on the acid side with pH ranging from 5.5 and lower. Municipal well water usually has limestone added to prevent pipeline corrosion. If the pH of the city water is 7.5 or lower, the following phrags will do OK potted in bark/peat mix: phrag caudatum, wallisii, lindenii, pearcei, Mexipedium xerophyticum, longifolium ecuadorense and amazon-icum. Phrag boisserianum and besseae require clean water to do best. Water should be applied copiously as the plant approaches dryness. Do not let these plants become totally dry at the roots between watering! If in doubt, water. Plants which like somewhat drier conditions at the roots include: caudatum, lindenii, wallisii, and Mexipedium xerophyticum.

Prior to fertilizing, water plant with clear tepid water. Dyna-Gro is the ideal brand to use as it provides all six of the macro nutrients and all essential trace minerals plants need to be healthy, grow and flower. Mix 1/2 tsp. of Dyna-Gro Grow with one gallon of water and use with every watering. To assist blooming, switch to the low nitrogen/high phosphorus Dyna-Gro Bloom formula or Mag-Pro supplement for the winter and/or pre-bloom periods.

Most phrags will take more light than phalaenopsis or paphiopedilums. However, plants like besseae, pearcei and ecuadorense will do well in diminished light. Some phrags like caudatum can take light as for cattleyas.

Phrags generally require intermediate temperatures with days in the 70's or 80's (degrees Fahrenheit) and nights in the upper 50's to low 60's. Some phrags like longifolium, sargentianum, pearcei, ecuadorense and hirtzii will tolerate slightly warmer temperatures. One problem that seems to occur during the summer is a soft, brown bacterial rot that appears at the base of the leaves. When you see this, carefully pull these infected leaves off and treat the plant with a bactericide such as Phyton-27.

Grow in 50% to 70% humidity. Some phrags, like caudatum, can take humidity down to 35% in nature during the dry season, but the roots are always moist and the nighttime humidity is high.

The flowering seasons are various but the best flowers are produced in the most abundanceduring the spring months. If the plants are not flowering for you, they either are not big enough to bloom or they are not receiving enough light or the cooler temps at night to initiate blooming.

Repot every year in a mix of small coconut chips, spongerock and small charcoal. Examine roots and remove any unhealthy ones.

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