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Bought a phrag, have I lost my mind?

This is a discussion on Bought a phrag, have I lost my mind? within the Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium, Cypripedium IN BLOOM forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; I can only plead orchidelirium. I found myself in an orchid shop today. The temperature ...

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  1. #1
    Stacierew is offline Member
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    Default Bought a phrag, have I lost my mind?

    I can only plead orchidelirium. I found myself in an orchid shop today. The temperature was perfect and the moisture a welcome respite from our Colorado dryness. After spending an hour with the shop owner, I left with one Phrag and a Paph in bud. After I got home and read all warnings that these were not for the novice, (which I am) I am now intimidated and worried. Just to clarify, is it true that I want to keep my phrag sitting in water? Can you overwater a phrag? This seems so contrary to the phals I have lived with. Any advice is appreciated : )

  2. #2
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    You are not crazy. Really, phrags are pretty easy...and most do like their pot to sit in an inch or so of water. In CO, your main challenge will be the dry air...adding humidity with humidity trays or a humidifier will help. Good luck!

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    My Phrags are very forgiving!

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    I've LONG thought I had lost my mind. I have 7 phrags., ranging in age from 3 to 9 years old. No blooms until last week. Friends constantly told me to trash them and get another hobby. I did, took up the guitar. But never could give up on the phrags. I had never grown an orchid before. I changed a few things. I put the pots in large trays, with no less then 2" of water (distilled) and switched to MSU fert. Also actually dimmed the light a bit. I have them in a south window with blinds closed to the point were they barely get slivers of sun, and have a fan going nearby.
    In less then a year, success. It matters too how old the plant is when purchased. A few of mine were pretty small, so I've got a few more years to wait with those. I won't buy any that small again. If your phrag is of good size, I bet you have a bud in a year or two. Good luck.

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    Stacierew is offline Member
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    Oh good! You guys are making me feel better. It was a long transport home yesterday. I put the phrag in a water dish, and it sucked up two dishes of water before the evening was over. It's quite beautiful, and already has a flower spike forming (though it just looks like a leaf to me) . I am going to buy a humidifier this afternoon. I have never had any kind of slipper orchid. My paph has two dark and lovely buds, and a third spike forming. I am wondering how long til they open...Thanks for the advice!

  6. #6
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    gardenguysorchids is offline Don't be afraid to color outside the lines
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    You will do great I am sure. There are some phrags and paphs that can be difficult to grow and bloom. What are the names of the ones you bought? My phrags sit in water and are growing well and my largest is in bud. Paphs on the other hand can NOT sit in water. Good luck and have fun with your new plants.

  7. #7
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    Yup - sounds like the behavior of a newly-minted orchid addict to me! I started with Maudiae-type paphs last summer and now have about 40, of all types and sizes. Then, in December, I went to a specialized slipper nursery and completely lost my mind - I think I now have 15 or 16 phrags. Both my paphs and my phrags are in semi-hydro, so I basically just keep the reservoirs full, and they send their roots down toward the moisture to get the amount of water they need - at least that's the idea. They've been in S/H for close to 4 months now, and seem to be happy about it. I also run 3 humidifiers and 5 mini fans where my orchids are - in my south facing sliding doors in the living room. I keep the relative humidity at between 60 and 70 percent. I've seen a few videos (courtesy of a well-known website with homemade videos of all kinds imaginable) showing phrags growing in the wild. Some I've seen (species, obviously, and your Fliquet is a hybrid, so it shouldn't be quite as finicky) grow on rocks near waterfalls, or along riverbeds in Peru and Ecuador, and are watered constantly by the seepage of water through the rocks. They are pretty much soaked and cooled off all the time. Others are terrestrials, while a few are epiphytes.

    So, it's pretty hard to overwater a phrag; however, the leaves and blooms like humidity, but not to be immersed in water, so raising the relative humidity around them is crucial - as is air movement to keep the plant from rotting. One thing I would mention is that phrags are pretty sensitive to water quality. A lot of growers who don't have particularly pure tap or well-water use reverse osmosis water. Another alternative is rainwater. Atlanta happens to have particularly good water, so I can use it from the tap - otherwise I wouldn't have any phrags left. Oh, and one more thing, be careful about letting salts build up - phrags really don't like that. In general, keeping them wet will keep down the salt build-up, but if the leaf tips start turning brown, it's usually a sign that salt is building up from the water itself, as well as from the fertilizer you use.

    PS None of this is particularly helpful if you decide you don't like your phrag, or phrags in general - it's been known to happen....

  8. #8
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    Hi Stacey: Your challenge is going to be the humidity factor more than anything. We both live in dry air climates and in a small room you may need more than one humidifier to get your humidity above 50%. Do this though and now your range of orchid selections increases. No need to see a psychologist for your addiction, just go with the flow and enjoy your orchid experience. By the way I usually would not interject this, but it may help Stacey, myself, and others if I ask MAURA if her humidifiers run 24/7 and how often she fills the humidifiers with water? Also what kind of water and how often on average between changing filters? AL

  9. #9
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    Hi Stacey, eight months ago I didn't have any phrags and now I have eight! I love phrags they are my favourite type of orchid. I got my first bloom just last month and I have another currently in bud. They are very addictive! My only paph (Maudiae) is also now in low spike so I am contemplating getting a few more of them too. You will soon have many many more. Enjoy them and good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by orchidsal View Post
    Hi Stacey: Your challenge is going to be the humidity factor more than anything. We both live in dry air climates and in a small room you may need more than one humidifier to get your humidity above 50%. Do this though and now your range of orchid selections increases. No need to see a psychologist for your addiction, just go with the flow and enjoy your orchid experience. By the way I usually would not interject this, but it may help Stacey, myself, and others if I ask MAURA if her humidifiers run 24/7 and how often she fills the humidifiers with water? Also what kind of water and how often on average between changing filters? AL

    Okay - about my humidifiers. I run three 1.5 to 2 gallon humidifiers. They are ultrasonic, so they don't have filters. I do run them 24/7, but I lower the output at night when I turn my grow lights off. On average, I have to refill them twice a day. During the day, the relative humidity runs at between 65 and 80%; at night it drops to about 50%. My hygrometer tells me the temp and humidity both inside and outside and I REALLY like having it. I don't treat the water I use because Atlanta's water is extremely good - about 140 ppm overall. It leaves no fine dust or mineral deposits on the surfaces around it. But if the tap water here wasn't so good, I would be using distilled or reverse osmosis water - which would be a pain. Thanks for asking, AL, I hope this helps someone.
    Last edited by mauraec; March 25th, 2012 at 02:25 PM. Reason: add

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