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Lady Slipper Question

This is a discussion on Lady Slipper Question within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; How do you tell if a Paphiopedilum with the mottled/spotted leaves is not getting enough ...

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  1. #1
    Styx is offline Senior Member
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    Default Lady Slipper Question

    How do you tell if a Paphiopedilum with the mottled/spotted leaves is not getting enough light without the bloom suffering?

  2. #2
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    The only way I've ever been able to tell is either, it goes a year and doesn't bloom, or all of the leaves are very dark green and floppy, especially on new growth--they can't hold themselves stiff and upright.

    It's going to be hard to tell if you only have one plant with nothing to compare with--I'm using others for comparison that are getting just the right amount of light, or that have gotten too much, in which case the leaves bleach and yellow.

    It sounds though like it's in bloom now? What's making you worry that it might not be getting enough?

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    Styx is offline Senior Member
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    Because it's not at my house and my aunt's house isn't very bright. I just want to be sure it's okay. The leaves are still firm and of a nice color, but they're kind of dark. I just couldn't remember if it was that way when we bought it, or if they've darkened. But it's mottled, so... *Big shrug*

  4. #4
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    The leaves aren't going to darken. The only color change they can do is bleach out or turn reddish / purple. If the current growth is in bloom, note the color on it. If the new growth that comes up is similarly colored, everything's fine. If it's darker and droopy, the plant probably needs more light.

    Liz mentioned a light test for Phals that is totally appropriate here too, I think. When you put your hand 6 inches to a foot above the leaves, you should see a hazy but distinct shadow on them. If you don't, the plant's more than likely not getting enough light.

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    Louis, let me perhaps rephrase the question. DO folks worry when a plant is blooming for months at a time and the plant is moved to a less light-filled area so the bloom last longer, to display it, etc. Does that set the plant back, being in a less-than-optimal light situation for several months at a time? But then if you give it more light, don't you shorten the bloom life?

  6. #6
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    John, I've never tried keeping a plant on display in a "dark" location for more than a couple of weeks. I personally believe that doing that *would* set the plant back--several months, that's quite a while--but I have no evidence to back my belief up; I've never done any comparisons or anything. On the other hand, if the plant has new growth coming on while it's in bloom, putting the plant in a dark location for several months will definitely set the new growth back, and wouldn't be a good idea just to lengthen bloom time.

    But otherwise, what you're saying is true: warmth, high light, and wet blooms will all shorten bloom life, while cool temps, low light, and keeping the flowers dry will make the blooms last longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LJA
    But otherwise, what you're saying is true: warmth, high light, and wet blooms will all shorten bloom life, while cool temps, low light, and keeping the flowers dry will make the blooms last longer.

    i had always thought that as well, but my experience with my pot. cross proved otherwise ...

    im growing my orchids under a 250 watt hps light, and theyre also next to a nice large south-eastern window. this plant is grown about a foot away from the light, and 6" away from the window (so lots of heat and lots of light)

    when it first started blooming, i pulled it away from the window, into the living room so that i could see the flowers (and because i wanted the flowers to last longer). the flowers on the first two spikes lasted about 1.5 or so weeks. then i put the plant back next to the light because my huge brassia is now opening. the third set of flowers are lasting quite a bit longer than the first two sets. i think were going on 3 or so weeks, with no sign of senescence. the color of the flowers is a quite a bit lighter now, compared to the first few.

    maybe i unknowingly treated it differently while it was hanging out in the living room? the plant is in straight diatomite, so i pretty much do a good soak every couple of days. this *was* the first blooming on this one, so that could also be why?

    double

  8. #8
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    Don't know, kewpie. First blooming might have had something to do with the flowers not lasting as long; can't think of what else it could be. It's pretty much standard practice to literally put plants in a dark cooler or fridge if you're trying to hold blooms fresh as long as possible (ie, a wedding is coming up and the flowers have opened early). And the opposite is true too, if a bud is taking its sweet time to open, and you *really* need for that to happen (hot date and dinner at your place tomorrow night), putting the plant and the bud under an incandescent desk lamp where the bud gets the intense light and warmth will totally speed up the opening. Done that here tons of times with Catt blooms when a florist needed them the next day or something.

    So, not sure why that happened with your pot.. Someone should do an experiment though: take two of the same plants whose flowers have opened at the same time, keep one cool and dark, the other warm and light, and see what happens.

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