It Had to Start Somewhere- Paphiopedilum Species:
The Checkerboard Group
This is the last of the three major groups in this genus to write about, and for lack of a better term, we'll call it the checkerboard group. This is a rare instance in which some of these species are gorgeous foliage plants, and the flowers are an added bonus. It is this group of species which produced the famous "Maudiae" line of breeding which so many people have grown over the last century or so.
( callosum x lawrenceanum)
using the alba forms of both species
A great many of the species in this group are shade-and heat-loving plants, and tend to be less well suited for outdoor culture. The plants are fairly petite, rarely growing over eight inches tall, with flower stems 12-18 inches tall. There are, as with much of this genus, inter-section hybrids which have excellent qualities of long lasting flowers, repeat flowering on one stem, and dazzling colors. They can be grown very successfully under lights or in windowsills even in cold climates.
|foliage of P. lawrenceanum|
I recall growing these plants on a windowsill in Milwaukee with a fluorescent light over the plants, and they grew beautifully. I know there are indoor-gardening clubs and websites, refining the finer aspects of limited space gardening. This group tends to grow faster than the big 'Roth" group. They can be seen at local garden centers and orchid sales for $20-$30 each. These species like the same growing conditions as ferns or African Violets do, and in some cases, the same soil-less potting media can be used, often mixed with orchid fir bark and coarse perlite to aid drainage.
The plants forgive some neglect too.
|a vinicolor hybrid|
P. 'Alma Gavaert'
one of the best 'Maudiae' hybrids
This group of species and hybrids makes a good choice for beginners to work with, and there is plenty of good advice to get about how to succeed with them. Most local orchid societies anywhere in the country have some growers who grow this group of plants, and the members are readily willing to offer counsel to novice and experienced growers alike.