Monday, January 31, 2011

Phragmipedium caudatum

The selected specimen @ EPOS meeting
(Nokia E71 camera,--)
At the EPOS meeting, I immediately noticed some fantastic Phragmipedium specimens for sale, and decided I had to have one before anyone else had a chance to get one; after asking Johan who one spoke to about getting plants, he found the member who was selling them (unfortunately, I can't remember her name), and handed over my money, selecting what I thought was the "best" of them on display. This member also entered a spectacular pot of Phragmipedium caudatum into the show.

This specimen has entered the OOAB menagerie (there should be a word like that for plants!):

Phrag. caudatum
Close up of the "slipper"
Sadly, I returned from a 2 day out of town business retreat on Friday to find the flower had fallen off before its time (although we suspect it may have been accidentally dislodged by the cleaning lady) :(
Big pot 'o Phragmipedium caudatum @ EPOS meeting
(Nokia E71 camera,--)

Phragmipedium orchids are native to central and south America, generally growing in fairly densely shaded and damp environments; most Phragmipedium apparently like to be kept quite "wet" by orchid standards. Phragmipedium caudatum, however is epiphytic and doesn't like as much water; it also likes more light than a lot of others (up to 3,000-4,000 fc). They like 50-70% humidity. They don't like mineral rich water, so Grahamstown's Finest is right out...! Weak fertiliser (25% strength) and the occasional pure water flush-through seems to be a good idea. Temperature wise, most are "intermediate" growers.