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Thread: S/H Paphiopedilum

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019

    Default S/H Paphiopedilum

    Hi! First of all I want to apologize in advance for my English, in case it was wrong (when it was time to study it I did not and now I regret).

    I discovered this forum just a couple of days ago, and I decided to register immediatly.
    In the last months I searched for infos about water culture or the S/H one.
    Finally I found you!

    I started reading your articles, but I want to know if it's possible to grow a Paphiopedilum with the S/H tecnique, and if there are differences compared to other plants because they are not epiphyte.

    If there was already an article on the subject, I ask you the link.

    Thank you in advance anyone who can give me informations.

  2. #2
    Real Name
    Geoff Hands
    My Grow Area
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Cattleya ?
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    England, South coast.
    Member's Country Flag


    Welcome to the forum. I do suggest that you disclose where you are - not in detail, but tell us you live in Florida, or Samoa, or whatever - any advice is much easier when we know that.
    But paphs - I specialised in them for 20 years or so, grew the UK National Collection. At an overlapping period I grew a few hundred other orchids in S/H - mostly oncidiums, but also all kinds of other things from Cymbidiums to Vandas . I had no success with paphs in that system, none at all. I think they need to dry out fairly frequently.
    I have had the pleasure of seeing a few of the species in the wild - concolor, bellatulum, villosum, sukhakulii etc. , and they were always in places which got quite dry at times.

  3. #3
    Real Name
    Ray Barkalow
    My Grow Area
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Oak Island NC


    When I was inventing semi-hydroponics for orchids, paphs were my first test subjects, and they did so well that I was encouraged to try others. All of my slippers are in S/H culture to this day, some 30 years later.

    That statement, coupled with Geoff's, tells the story:

    • "The plant" has little to do with its success in S/H.
    • Any plant can be grown in S/H culture, but that does not mean that any individual can grow it that way.
    • Your growing conditions play a bigger role than does the plant.

    You cannot just "drop" a plant into S/H culture and expect it to thrive; first it must grow roots appropriate for the culture method.

    • When roots grow, they "tailor" themselves on a cellular level to function optimally in that environment.
    • Once they have grown, they cannot change.
    • Move them into a different environment, and they will be sub-optimal, so will need to be replaced by roots that are.
    • The old roots will ultimately die and decompose - the greater the difference between "old" and "new" conditions, the faster that will occur.

    That is why it is best to repot a plant just as new roots are emerging from the base. They will take over and support the plant as the old roots fail.

    There is no plant that must dry out between waterings; once they have grown the appropriate root system, they can be watered daily with no issues. I have a customer who wins awards for her cacti and succulents grown that way!

    I would say that temperature is likely the most significant issue determining success or failure with plants in S/H culture, as the constantly-moist, open, airy, medium can lead to evaporative cooling. If you're low temperatures are pushing the boundaries of what the plants prefer, the cooling effect might push them even lower. Cold and wet is a bad combination for many orchids.

    Conversely, the cooling effect can be beneficial, as well. Folks trying to grow cooler-growing species in warmer environments have found that by using a porous, clay pot standing in a tray of water (S/H with an external reservoir), the added cooling helps.

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