Botanists know more than 100 species of various orchids of the genus Paphiopedilum, although some are only described. But over the past 150 years, breeders around the world have been able to breed about 400 hybrids of amazing beauty, different colors, and shapes. In all this multifaceted splendor, the Rothschild orchid, or “Gold of Kinabalu”, occupies a special place, being one of the most expensive and desirable flowers for collectors.
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum Orchid Description of the variety
Botanists often call all orchids belonging to the genus Paphiopedilum, Lady’s slipper. Literally, paphiopedilum translates as a slipper from Paphos.
The loud “surname” of Rothschild, the plant received in honor of Baron Ferdinand of the European Rothschild dynasty, who was a great lover of orchids and patronized the development of gardening in the homeland of this beauty.
The place where she comes from is the island of Borneo, but today only domesticated hybrids are found in the collections of orchid growers.
Leaves are dense, leathery (length – 40-60 cm, width – 4-6 cm). Usually, glossy leaf blades are bright green but can be yellowish with a reddish base. Each leaf has a central vein.
The length of the thin vertical peduncle is about 50 cm. There are tall specimens up to 75 cm in need of support.
The number of buds on each peduncle is from 2 to 4. The flowers are large, bloom almost simultaneously, and continue to bloom for a long time. The size is from 10 to 15 cm, but there are cases when they reached 45 cm in diameter.
The petals are delicate cream or ivory, completely lined with purple stripes.
The upper and lower ones are pointed. The lateral ones are long, thin, covered with dark spots at the base, and the wavy edges are covered with thick cilia.
The inner sepal is fused and looks like a slipper. Usually, it is monochromatic – brownish or burgundy.
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum Bloom
You should not expect a rapid flowering from a young orchid. It will take 10-12 years from the seedling to maturity, and sometimes the Rothschild is ready to bloom only by 15 years. It is this fact that makes the variety one of the most expensive in the world.
Having celebrated the “coming of age”, the adult plant will give growth every 2 years. Peduncles will appear on them over time, but they grow very slowly.
The lady’s slipper will bloom, most likely in spring, but this is not necessary. Having moved from the tropics to apartments, the orchid does not follow strict schedules: it blooms for about 6 weeks with constantly open flowers.
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum Orchid Growing Conditions
In its natural environment, the Rothschild orchid, accustomed to significant temperature fluctuations (from + 12 ° to + 30 ° C). It grows in warm climates but is close to mountain streams.
Focusing on these indicators, orchidists recommend observing agrotechnical conditions that can ensure the maximum flowering frequency.
Pot selection for Paphiopedilum Rothschildianum
The best pot is clear and plastic, with a wide bottom and a drainage hole. The transparency will allow you to control the roots.
It is important that the top of the orchid does not outweigh the bottom, otherwise it could tip the pot.
The size of the container largely depends on the age of the plant:
- for the young, a volume of 1.5 liters is suitable;
- an adult has a large outlet, he will need about 3 liters.
It is a breeding ground where all the elements are balanced for a certain type of plant.
The substrate must retain moisture, while not getting wet itself. The substrate can be bought ready-made or made by yourself. Florists recommend using pine bark as a basis.
- pine bark (size 0.6-1.5 mm) – 5 parts;
- perlite – 1 part;
- charcoal – 1 part.
Many flower growers prefer to cover the bottom with expanded clay – this is also a good solution. Some, when planting, mix small and medium-sized foam glass with pine bark, assuring amazing results.
It is not easy to create a favorable temperature for a whimsical beauty at home. To do this, you need a greenhouse or winter garden, where you can set the daily difference from 25-28 ° C to 15-17 ° C.
It is much easier for an amateur flower grower to identify a plant for 2-3 months in a cool room.
For the normal development of an orchid, long daylight hours are needed – 12-14 hours. This can be achieved using an artificial light source.
The frequency of the procedure depends on the temperature. It is important that the substrate dries out and, in addition to moisture, there is free air access to the roots. But the soil should not dry out completely.
Watering with ordinary tap water is carried out. Fertilizers for orchids are periodically added to it.
In a city apartment, orchidists recommend placing the flower on the windowsill of the well-lit north side.
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum Propagation
The plant is difficult to propagate
Breeding a rare-flowering beauty at home is not easy.
- The methods – by cuttings and children – are suitable only for fast-growing regularly flowering plants.
- Collecting seeds on your own is also difficult. After all, this will require two orchids at once in the flowering stage.
You can try buying seeds and growing a plant from scratch. It’s a long journey, but a great experience for the orchid fan.
A relatively uncomplicated breeding method is dividing the bush. The shoots of Pafiopedilum are of the sympodial type, that is, after flowering, they die off, and new ones are formed at the base.
Botanists consider such a plant structure to be evolutionary, and ready for reproduction at any time, except for flowering. The main thing is that a new outlet is formed.
A big plus in breeding Rothschilds is a powerful, well-developed root system.
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum Propagation plan:
- Remove the adult flower from the pot.
- Shake off the substrate slightly.
- Soak the root system in warm water (+ 30-35 ° С) for 20-30 minutes.
- Separate stems with roots from each other. The root plexus can be carefully cut. It is advisable to sprinkle the cut points with charcoal and leave to dry for 2 hours.
- Each separated seedling receives its own pot of fresh substrate.
You do not need to water the flower right away. Let it stand for 2 days. And after getting used to the new conditions, watering resumes as usual.
Such reproduction gives healthy strong plants, but more than one year will pass before the capricious beauties will delight the owner with exquisite flowers.
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum Care
The flower requires constant attention from the owner.
After flowering, when all the flowers dry up, fall off and only the trunk remains, the peduncle is pruned – this will increase the chances of getting new growths.
The procedure does not require special skills: there is no need to look for dormant kidneys and nodal points. For re-flowering, the Rothschild will release a new peduncle – which means that the old one must be removed 1-1.5 cm from the place where it grows.
Pruning is carried out with a sharp knife – it does not squeeze the internal tissues, which minimizes the likelihood of infection. In order not to damage the orchid, it is better to cut from the plant. The resulting stump is treated with hydrogen peroxide. You can use a natural antiseptic – ground cinnamon.
It happens that sheet pruning is required. For example, if the edge of the sheet is dry. A sharp knife is also needed for this purpose. An ordinary kitchen cutting board is suitable as a substrate – it is substituted under the injured leaf and the excess is cut off in one motion. The edge of the leaf is treated with peroxide.
The substrate in which the domesticated orchid lives is the bark. There are almost no nutrients in it, so the flower has to be fed.
This is done during a period of rapid growth before the shoe begins to bloom. You can continue feeding when the plant has bloomed, reducing the dose by 2-3 times.
Many growers are experimenting by fertilizing the plant with improvised organic matter: garlic, banana peel, onion peel. This is their right. But feeding the orchid properly is balanced.
The best solution is to buy a ready-made fertilizer and strictly follow the instructions.
The main elements of fertilizers for successful growth are:
All nutrients are important for the plant, but during certain seasonal changes, some elements are required.
|Required element||Timing||Application rules||Action|
|Nitrogen||Spring, when leaves are actively growing||Once every 2 weeks||Builds up hardwood|
|Potassium||Summer, when the risks of pest damage increase||Once every 2 weeks||Provides a full-fledged metabolism, regulates photosynthesis|
|Phosphorus||Autumn-winter, when buds are formed, budding is in progress, a peduncle is thrown out||1 time per month||Influences the formation of peduncles and the duration of flowering|
It is good if the top dressing contains magnesium and succinic acid they start vital processes.
You need to feed the Paphiopedilum rothschildianum correctly:
- The day before feeding, you need to water. So, in case of an overdose, minimal damage to the roots will be done, otherwise they will simply die.
- Prepare the solution according to the instructions given by the fertilizer manufacturer. Tap water for this purpose needs to be defended for 3-4 days.
- Solution temperature in the range of 28-32 ° С.
- The flower pot is placed in a deeper container and completely filled with the prepared mixture.
- Leave for 15-20 minutes, then take out the pot and move it to its usual place.
If the grower is sure that the flower is healthy, then the rest of the solution can be used for other plants.
In addition to root feeding, there is foliar feeding. It consists in spraying. The solution is prepared 2 times weaker in concentration. In order not to leave burns on the leaves, this should not be done in direct sunlight.
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum Transplant rules
You can prepare the soil yourself
The indications for plant transplantation can be different:
- after the purchase;
- the flower became “cramped” in the pot;
- after flowering;
- if you suspect a disease of the root system;
- as a result of accidental damage, for example, the pot fell from the windowsill to the floor.
The purchased plant should not be transplanted immediately. Let it first get used to the microclimate for 4-5 days.
What to look for:
- When transplanting, it is important not to damage the leaves and roots. It is convenient to remove the pot by fixing the plant in your hand. The thumb is placed on the growth point, and the rest gently grab the bush at the base. It would be correct not to pull out the orchid, but to remove the pot.
- Obsolete roots or leaves must be cut off. Pieces of bark stuck to the roots can be left. Now start filling the pot.
If the plant is small, a pot of 1 liter is enough for the roots to be compact in it. Expanded clay is poured at the bottom. The orchid is lowered so that the rosette is in the middle, level with the pot, or 1 cm below.
It remains to fill the pot with prepared soil: usually, it is pine bark, charcoal, and perlite. But some growers suggest using additional components.
A table to help you find the correct proportion of filler.
|Components||No# of Parts|
|Lava (small pieces)||1||–||–||–|
To prevent the plant from collapsing, the soil must be compacted.
Re-transplanting will be needed after about 2 years because the substrate in which the flower lives will lose its properties over time. It’s not worth touching Venus’s slipper just like that.
Some orchid growers practice partial replacement of the substrate, doing this at intervals of 6-8 months.
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum Orchid diseases
The diseased plant looks pathetic and requires treatment. Consider the symptoms that can be diagnosed.
Grows poorly. Most likely, the orchid lacks nitrogen fertilizers and needs to be fed.
But maybe insects have started up in the ground. Then you have to treat the substrate with special preparation, such as Fitoverm or Kleschevit.
Leaves die off. When the leaves darken one by one, starting from the top to the edges, and become black-brown, the orchid was overfed. The substrate is oversaturated with salts, it will not work to wash them. The plant needs to be transplanted.
Withers. Many beginners make the mistake of watering. If the orchid begins to wilt, water it more often. From this, the roots rot. It is more correct to dry the plant, if you need to remove it, remove the bad roots and treat them with an antiseptic.
Dries up. Perhaps the flower has little light and needs additional lighting or migration to another, lighter window sill. In addition, you need to carefully inspect for the presence of pests.
A white bloom appeared on the leaves – this is a mealybug. Treatment with an insecticide or acaricide will help.
Vodka will speed up your recovery. With the help of a cotton swab, you need to treat the affected areas with it several times a day, until the worm is completely destroyed.
Other pests have appeared. It is good to use tar soap. It is effective against aphids, ticks, thrips. You need to know that favorable growing conditions increase the immunity of the orchid, and it protects itself by releasing a certain enzyme that repels insects.
Root damage. The disease can be caused by various fungi. The plant will have to be transplanted and treated with antifungal drugs.
Mold and rot. The flower has very poor keeping conditions: the substrate is always wet, there is not enough lighting, it is cold.
Many diseases are contagious to other indoor plants. A sick specimen must be isolated.
The Paphiopedilum Orchid is the dream of any orchid collector. Although the flower is not very whimsical and demanding, it takes years to “persuade” it to bloom. When this happens, the happy owner of a unique plant is left to take pictures with him and receive congratulations from colleagues.
A special joy for flower growers is that Rothschild is a long-liver. A collector can live his whole life with this beauty, and even pass it on by inheritance.