Phragmipedium GrandeI usually do not buy plants this big due to the limitations of my growing space, but I did not realize just how large it would get when I bought it – even though the name should have tipped me off… but it’s OK really, it is such an impressive hybrid and I just can’t help to love it. It is a primary cross between Phragmipedium caudatum x longifolium. The twisted petals basically keep growing until they reach the ground measuring up to 80 cm long, so it is important to let the flowers hang free.

I grow mine in the intermediate window, pretty bright at about Cattleya light levels. As far as watering a Phragmipedium expert friend of mine told me a basic rule of thumb for growing Phragmipedium: “the longer the petals the less water they need”. But you need to take this advice in context. Phragmipedium is a very thirsty genus and it is recommended they are grown standing in water at all times, so less water would still mean very wet and absolutely never, ever dry. I grow all of my Phragmipedium in semi-hydro culture using volcanic rocks, that way they always have access to plenty of water. I like using volcanic rocks as semi-hydro media since it has a great wicking capacity, does not float, and will not break down in the constant wet environment.

Phragmipedium GrandePhragmipedium Grande