Paphiopedilum philippinenseThis is a fairly large, warm growing species from the exciting multi-floral Paphiopedilum Subgenus Polyantha. It is found at sea level up to 500 meters primarely in the Philippines, hence the name, but also down through north eastern Borneo. The leaves are thick and uniformly green and can grow to be 20-50 cm long, mine measuring about 30 cm. The size of the flowers can wary widely and get as tall as 22 cm, mine is measuring 18 cm. It blooms with 2-5 flowers simultaneously per inflorescence and it can be an impressive display with the long corkscrew sepals and purple/white striped sail and I adore it! They look both elegant and regal, yet whimsical and sweet, a lovely combination.

I actually grow mine intermediate which is slightly cooler than perhaps is optimal, medium bright with plenty of water most of the year with a slightly drier rest period in January through March. This species is usually found growing on limestone cliffs, therefore it prefers a slightly calcareous medium to grow and bloom properly. I grow mine potted in a mixture of medium bark and lava rocks with a top dress dolomitic limestone pellets (a mineral composed of calcium and magnesium carbonate). I prefer not to mix the limestone into the medium because the pellets can potentially absorb toxins before they are completely broken down and watered through, and this can burn the roots. Besides when you keep it on top it is much easier to see when it is time to reapply. I do the same for all my calcicolous Phaphiopedilum species.

Paphiopedilum philippinense (Rchb.f.) Stein, Orchid.-Buch: 480 (1892).

Paphiopedilum philippinensePaphiopedilum philippinense