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This is a discussion on Phrag. besseae within the Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium, Cypripedium IN BLOOM forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; I must profess that the species in the caudatum vein are probably my favorites among ...
I must profess that the species in the caudatum vein are probably my favorites among the phrags, but I do hold a special place in my heart for phrag. besseae. this particular one was my first plant, purchased back when the species wasn't as widely available as it is today. not a very big flower, 7.4 cm or so across, and almost always has a yellow vein or two on the petals, but it has decent color saturation and quite a bit of sentimental value. not a bad grower too, having survived a million changes in potting mixes, growing conditions, etc.
grown in sphag and clay, which is the only thing I currently plan on ever using for phrag. besseae.
The discovery of the brilliant Phrag. besseae in 1981 set off a flurry of phragmipedium hybridization that still continues unabated to this day. For much of the 20th century, a limited color palette and genetic incompatibility issues had all but shut down phrag breeding, and interest in the genus was perhaps at an all-time low. However, the combination of the shocking red-orange color of Phrag. besseae and the extraordinary chromosomal work by the late Don Wimber of the Eric Young Orchid Foundation resulted in a veritable explosion in phrag hybridization and popularity. Revolutionary first-generation hybrids such as Eric Young, Memoria Dick Clements, and Ruby Slippers paved the way for spectacular second-generation hybrids like Don Wimber and Jason Fischer, and these will be used in turn to generate still more advanced breeding lines. It is safe to say that phrags are now more popular than they have ever been, and that this is a truly exciting time to be a phrag phanatic!
Phrag. besseae is known as a somewhat temperamental species, although successive line-breeding has produced plants that are much easier to grow than the original imports. Plants are still prone to sending off stolons up to 4-6" in length, which virtually necessitate shallow pots or basket culture. Like the long-petalled phrags, besseae is prone to a basal rot in the heat of summer, and constant vigilance is required in order to catch this at an early stage. Phrag. besseae is exceptionally intolerant of fertilizer, and will show its dislike of a rich diet with spotted brown leaf tips that progressively die back. It does seem to appreciate sphagnum moss, however, and a combination of sphagnum and clay pots works well for many growers. Cooler temperatures seem to result in more intensely-red flowers, although the peak of the flowering season is typically during the spring and summer months.
Phrag. besseae and its close relative Phrag. dalessandroi are native to Peru and Ecuador. In addition to its typical red-orange color, Phrag. besseae also exists in a yellow form, as well as in various shades of peach and salmon. Phrag. dalessandroi is believed by most to represent a distinct species, and can be identified by its short rhizomes, downswept petals, and readily-branching inflorescences.
Great photo. Clay?? Soft clay or pellets?
clay pots, loosely packed sphagnum. I think the evaporative cooling at the root zone really helps the plants get through the hot nasty summers here. have to repot 2-3 times a year though, unfortunately.
Beautiful colour on that one
My phrag Jersey (besseae x dalessandroi) had a new growth that just started to rot, so yesterday I decided to change it to sphag moss, hoping for better results. My water tends to be more alkaline so maybe the sphag will help make it more acidic. Before it was potted in gravel which would be inert.
That's really nice! Hopefully I'll have one some day even though they scare me a little.
Great information Jason. One might even say an article.
Excellent bloom & info.