Care Instructions for a Paphiopedilum or Phragmipedium Orchid
These care instructions are written specifically for our slipper orchids. Other growers may have different care requirements for their plants based on how they have grown their orchids. But if you have a Brennan’s Orchids paph or phrag orchid, these rules will help you keep it happy and robust.
Rule No. 1: If you have a paph, then keep the plant lightly moist. Phrags however, like to be wetter than paphs but still not sopping wet. Take the pot to the sink and water the pot with tepid water until water is pouring out the drainage holes. Let the plant drain thoroughly. Do not let water stand in the crevices of the leaves. This could cause crown rot, which is almost always fatal.
Rule No. 2: Give the plant the proper light. Morning or soft late afternoon light is best. That means an East, West, or shaded South-facing window. Avoid direct sun during the “skin cancer” hours. Phrags are happy in more light than paphs but I would still protect them from direct light during the harshest hours of the day.
Rule No. 3: Regular meals all year long, please. Your orchid plant does not go dormant. When not full of buds and blossoms, your orchid is growing roots and leaves so it will have the energy to put out more blooms the next cycle. Feed your plant every other watering with a balanced (20-20-20 or 10-10-10) plant fertilizer mixed at ¼ the usual strength or a balanced orchid fertilizer. Because the roots on a paph or phrag burn easily, it’s safer to feed a weaker fertilizer solution than you otherwise might.
Rule No. 4: Your plant is potted in a bark blend. Change the potting mix every year, usually in late spring. Increase the pot size only when necessary to fit the new root growth into the pot and do so by the smallest increment possible. Moisten the mix thoroughly prior to use. Pot the plant so that the mix is firm but still airy.
Rule No. 5: If you are caring for a phrag, do not remove the bloom spike until it dries out. Phrags can come in and out of bloom on the same spike and you don’t want to miss anything. A paph is less likely to repeat, but I would still wait until the bloom spike has turned brown and dried out before removing it.