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Genus that includes many species of orchids of fairly easy cultivation, originating in central and southern America. They have ribbon leaves, light green in color; from the center of the leaves at the end of winter and in late summer a long stem grows, which bears numerous large flowers, with scarlet lip, like in the genera paphiopedilum and cypripedium, of red, rosé or green color; the flowers bloom simultaneously or one at a time, depending on the species. Most of the Phragmipedium they are terrestrial, although there are epiphytes and lithophytes; these orchids can be divided into two large groups, those with elongated petals and those with shorter petals, the first group needs slightly more abundant watering than the second group and can withstand a few hours of direct light. Often the flowers of Phragmipedium they detach from the stem without wilting. A particular note to be made about these orchids is that, although in the past they have not been much considered and we have not had great success, starting from the last few years the situation has changed completely. This thanks to the discovery in 1981 in Perщ of the Phragmipedium besseae that literally struck the attention of orchid lovers.
Generally the phragmipedium love very bright places, but in the warm months they cannot stand the direct sunlight; in the remaining months of the year they can withstand a few hours of direct light, in the less hot hours of the day. They fear the cold, so in winter they should be sheltered in a temperate greenhouse or at home, in places where temperatures are not below 8-10 ° C.
These orchids need abundant and regular watering, they can also be left in a saucer containing water, which should be filled every 10-15 days, remembering to vaporize the leaves every week; for both operations it is good to use demineralized water. Every 10-15 days, provide specific fertilizer for orchids mixed with the water used for watering.
As with all plants, even for this variety of orchid, the choice of terrain is fundamental. This is because it is precisely from the soil that the plant can acquire the main sources of livelihood to develop and grow at its best. It is therefore important to choose a soil made of pine bark, size charcoal, fern or peat and finally, perlite or sponge. In this way the orchid will be guaranteed an ideal substrate for its needs and requirements. Administer specific liquid fertilizer for orchids to be administered to the irrigation water. As far as repotting is concerned, it is better to do it after the flowering period. A suggestion is to wet the orchid's roots before repotting so as to make them more elastic and to limit the possibility of them breaking during the operation.
The multiplication of this beautiful orchid occurs by division of the tufts.
Phragmipedium: Pests and diseases
These particular orchids may have problems concerning the development of diseases or pests when they are grown in poorly ventilated environments. In these cases it is probable the attack by the cochineal, a tiny insect that feeds on the sap contained in the leaves of the plants. The problem can be solved by using specific pesticide products.