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  #1  
Old 12-29-2014, 11:43 AM
The Mutant The Mutant is offline
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Exclamation The serial Paph killer (wall of text)...


This is a wall of text from one Paph murderer to try and prevent others from making the same mistakes that I have, and hopefully keeping the Paph casualties to a minimum.



Background story to this post
Yesterday, my Paph. acmodontum, went to the great jungle in orchid heaven. This is one species I've struggled with ever since I got it, and it was down to its last fan (it had three BS ones when I got it), when I finally managed to figure out how to treat it. This was about less than a year ago.

It continued to decline, but it finally started to come around this autumn. It increased in growth speed, and finally it felt thoroughly rooted. To celebrate this, I dropped it about a week ago, and that was a setback it couldn't recover from.



The victims
Here's a list of my victims so far (only been a Paph killer for 2¾ years):

Paph. acmodontum
Paph. barbatum var. nigritum
Paph. helenae
Paph. mastersianum
Paph. philippinense var. roebelenii
Paph. rothschildianum
(a very nice cross from Orchid Inn)
Paph. stonei
Paph. superbiens
Paph. urbanianum
Paph. villosum
Paph.
Wössner vietnam Star
Paph. Maudiae 'Schwarze Madonna'



The whys and hows
Now, to the different reasons why I have managed to kill so many (it's a skill, a negative one, but still a skill):


1) Inexperience. Before I started with Paphs, I had only grown Phals. I had never grown orchids that wanted to be constantly moist but not wet, so I overwatered a lot in the beginning. Some of the Paphs never recovered from this, and eventually died.


2) Ignorance. I didn't read enough about the different species I bought, or I didn't manage to put the theoretical knowledge to good use. Some things didn't click until now, almost 3 years later.

I lost my first roebelenii due to root rot, since I didn't realize they want a very draining/airy substrate (at least in my conditions they do). I almost lost my lowii to the same thing, before the fact that both of these species can be found growing on trees, finally took hold. This meant more air circulation around the roots. My lowii is now growing roots and growing more in general, and my new roebelenii is also doing well.


3) Overwatering. I've already mentioned this once, but since I still suffer from a very enthusiastic mindset when it comes to drenching my poor Paphs, it's still a problem. Especially if coupled with too a fine graded substrate to some that shouldn't have it, and not enough air circulation in the pots. I'm trying to restrain myself from watering too often, and I've also started to drill holes near the bottom of the larger pots (or to species that appreciate more air circulation around the roots).

The biggest help with my watering issue, was to insert a skewer into every pot, and using the skewers to feel when it's time to water.

Another thing that have helped, is to plant the Paphs in coarser substrate than before (not as coarse as my Phals), i.e adapting my mix to suit my watering habits.


4) Starting with the wrong plants. I started with mostly very young plants and species. I don't think I have EVER seen anyone recommend a newbie to start with species baby plants. All I can say is; don't (unless you want to beat me in number of victims).

Oh, but Mutant, you've killed BS plants and hybrids too, you might think. That's because I'm special and capable of killing anything with my pitch black hands (some people have green thumbs; I bring death), especially if it's labelled as 'easy'.


5) Non-optimal conditions/wrong culture: Some got too much light, some too fine graded substrate, some got too much water, some were kept too cold... I could go on and on about this. All these points correlate with each other, as for example, a well established mutligrowth hybrid Paph, would probably have dealt with my non-optimal conditions and flooding better than a baby species plant.

Another thing I discovered, which happens during winter in my apartment, is that condensation form inside the pots (the substrate can be bone dry on one half, and filled with condensation on the other). This condensation is a heaven for a very aggressive and nasty fungus/mold that attacks growing root tips and causes root rot at an alarming speed. I almost lost my urbanianum and my gardineri to this last year. The only thing killing this mold/fungi, is bleach (repotting doesn't work). I tried Physan 20 first, but could just as well have used plain water...

This year I figured out a way to deal with this problem. The best way is to drill holes near the bottoms of the pots and increase the air circulation. Another method to prevent it from happening that works for me is to move the plants away from the windows during night. This seems to even out the moisture inside the pots, and no nasty mold/fungi gets a hold. I saved the 7 growing roots on one of my roths by doing this.

If this mold/fungi gets a hold, it's very hard to get rid of, just so you know.


6) Depression and neglect. Well, you don't function optimally when depressed and 4 of my victims' deaths were directly or indirectly caused by me being depressed. Two of them weren't even sick, they were just very ugly looking after my false mites infestation, with accompanying fungus invasion, and treatment of both issues. At that point in time, I couldn't stand seeing what was left of two beautiful Paphs after living with me for a while. I felt like the crappiest Paph owner ever and I was seriously considering tossing ALL my plants, so I'm glad they were the only victims.


The conclusion
I think it's quite safe to say that I AM a pretty crappy Paph owner/grower, but hopefully I've learned something from all of this, and those that managed to read my wall of text without falling asleep, might have learned something too.




TL;DR
I've killed a lot of Paphs and will keep doing it, because I apparently learn by killing. Don't repeat my mistakes, please.
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2014, 12:15 PM
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billc billc is offline
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I feel your pain having killed my own fair share of paphs. Getting the mix right for your conditions is tough but is the key to growing them well.
Lessons learned and now onto the next trial.

Bill
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:30 PM
bellini girl bellini girl is offline
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I feel your pain. It happens to the best of us. Don't give up. When you know better, you do better.
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:39 PM
court_b court_b is offline
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Just got one for Christmas. I has done research on it, as I do with all my orchid but now I feel like I should do a little more! Thanks for the advice! Don't give up!
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:45 PM
The Mutant The Mutant is offline
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Thank you for your encouragement, nice people.

I have not given up, far from it. I have 47 Paphs left. They are a bit ragged from the harsh treatment, and it'll take them a couple of years to return to their former glory, but they seem to have made it through the worst. Some of them are even of the same species I've already killed, and this time around, they are alive and growing, so I DO learn. It just takes a while for me.

I just hope that my post can save some other Paph newbies from the worst pitfalls. I think if you have experience with other orchid genera that require the plant to stay moist, not wet, and never dry out, then you'll most likely avoid the "overwatering" trap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by court_b View Post
Just got one for Christmas. I has done research on it, as I do with all my orchid but now I feel like I should do a little more! Thanks for the advice! Don't give up!
You can never have too much knowledge I think, so it's always good to do research. If you have any questions about how NOT to do, then I'm your go-to person.
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:16 AM
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I grew three paphs for a while. I potted them in red lava rock (with eggshell mixed in) and basket pots and watered them very well once a day. They seemed very happy. Unfortunately, I just could not convince myself that I liked the blooms (they were supposed to be fragrant and weren't!) although I really tried for the sake of those adorable fuzzy roots. When someone expressed admiration for them, the admirer went home with the three Paphs.
I do really like the roots, though. If I find a fragrant one at the spring show, I will try again. I think I would put it in my new favorite medium, though, LECA. Basket pot again, too.
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:31 AM
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MrHappyRotter MrHappyRotter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafmite View Post
I grew three paphs for a while. I potted them in red lava rock (with eggshell mixed in) and basket pots and watered them very well once a day. They seemed very happy. Unfortunately, I just could not convince myself that I liked the blooms (they were supposed to be fragrant and weren't!) although I really tried for the sake of those adorable fuzzy roots. When someone expressed admiration for them, the admirer went home with the three Paphs.
I do really like the roots, though. If I find a fragrant one at the spring show, I will try again. I think I would put it in my new favorite medium, though, LECA. Basket pot again, too.
When it comes to fragrant paphs, there are always clonal differences in terms of how powerful the scent is. There are delenatiis out there with no scent, others that you don't even have to stick your nose up to them to smell. Same goes for many of the other fragrant paphs. So, if the fragrance is definitely important, you may be better off buying one in bloom so you know ahead of time.

I find Paph. Lynnleigh Koopowitz to be a fairly sure bet for some fragrance, though it may still be pretty faint. Paph. primulinum is somewhat consistent from what I gather, in that if you get a primulinum and it's not fragrant, you might suspect it of being a hybrid.

Another thing to consider is that not every human nose can smell the kinds of fragrances that a lot of the slippers produce. I know people who cannot detect the kind of sweet, berry or rose fragrances such as Paph. delenatii or Phrag. schlimii. Other people might have a hard time with the fainter, less floral scent of a flower like primulinum.
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:44 AM
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I had a Paph. Lynnleigh Koopowitz and a delenatii and neither were fragrant in the slightest. Yes, it is very dependent on which clone. I just happened, in my ignorance, to pick two clones that were not fragrant. I am definitely going to sniff before I buy one again. :|
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Old 12-30-2014, 07:43 AM
katrina katrina is offline
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leaf -- Paph malipoense is fragrant. Smells like raspberries! Mine is in spike right now!

I think micranthum is fragrant too but I can't remember for sure and mine is years away from blooming.

I don't grow too many paphs these days (just 3) but I love these ginormous pouch paphs.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:37 AM
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Fortunately for me, I'm not a big paph or phrag fan as I have killed all the ones I have ever tried. There are a few I like enough to wish to own, but with my track record I prefer just to admire those of others.
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