Orchids as Kusamono - Paphiopedilum helenae

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Orchids as Kusamono - Paphiopedilum helenae

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:15 pm

Well actually this plant is not kusamono - yet, it is not even in a bonsai pot. I do have plans for it. I am using Kusamono in a very broad sense, or the way it gets used in the USA, whether it becomes a true kusamono, or shitakusa or any other category of herbaceous planting will be for a different, later discussion.

Paphiopedilum helenae is a relatively recent discovery, 1990's (by the world outside Vietnam, of course locals knew of it). In the USA it only recently has become available from seed propagated plants. It is one of the more dwarf growing species, the plant is in a 2.5 inch pot (roughly 6 cm pot) There are 8 mature fans of leaves, (growths in orchid parlance), most Paph species a pot this small would only accommodate one or two growths. I felt the urge to post this because I wanted to brag, it is a species normally listed as being a single flowered species, but apparently my plant is exceptionally happy, it has thrown 2 flowers on a stem. I have not seen a bi-floral habit documented yet. So I had to brag, (its an ego thing).  

Anyway, as Paphiopedilum go, it is a relatively easy species to grow, the only trick is getting a little seedling up to blooming size because they start out so tiny, but once it is blooming size it does not need anything different than the typical Paphiopedilum Maudiae type Slipper Orchid. Bright shade, open media (I use a pine bark, perlite and charcoal mix) and watering frequently enough that it does not get bone dry, usually every 5 days.

My plan is to take a division of this plant, and put it in a shallow bonsai pot, with other orchids, selected for small size and interesting, contrasting foliage textures. Then let the group planting mature. It could make an interesting component of this type of planting.

Enjoy - its a happy plant with autumnal color. The flowers open with a green background, in a few days it becomes yellow. Flowers last about 2 months. A cute little thing.




Leo Schordje
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Re: Orchids as Kusamono - Paphiopedilum helenae

Post  Chris Cochrane on Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:00 am

Hi Leo... Thanks for sharing your rare & lovely specimen. I look forward to your sharing other iterations of enjoying such plants as shitikusa &/or kusamono as you develop them.

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... visit the U.S. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, Washington DC USA-- http://www.bonsai-nbf.com

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Re: Orchids as Kusamono - Paphiopedilum helenae

Post  Bruce Winter on Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:22 am

Great stuff Leo! I would think a small shallow pot with just Paph's would work too. This is relatively uncharted water with enormous potential IMHO.

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Re: Orchids as Kusamono - Paphiopedilum helenae

Post  Andre Beaurain on Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:17 am

Very Nice Leo!

I dont know how you can say that.  Paphiopedilums is for me extremely difficult....  The only one I can get to flower is insignii, and Black Stallion... So pathetic!

You are doing a great job Leo.

Well I might not be able to grow Paphiopedilums, but I got the trick with Disas, ( But only form Tissue Culture) and I know you are drooling over them.  So  tongue hi hihih hi hi

Love Light and Awakening

Andre Beaurain
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Re: Orchids as Kusamono - Paphiopedilum helenae

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:46 pm

Andre Beaurain wrote:Very Nice Leo!

I dont know how you can say that.  Paphiopedilums is for me extremely difficult....  The only one I can get to flower is insignii, and Black Stallion... So pathetic!

You are doing a great job Leo.

Well I might not be able to grow Paphiopedilums, but I got the trick with Disas, ( But only form Tissue Culture)   and I know you are drooling over them.   So  tongue   hi hihih hi hi

Love Light and Awakening

You are right, just seeing the word Disa in print makes me drool. And a photo, well you don't want to know. Rolling Eyes

Likely it is episodes of low humidity and high heat that make Paphs a problem for you. Paph helenae is related to Paph insigne, but less than a tenth the size. Because of its small size it won't tolerate heat with low humidity the way insigne will. Otherwise culture is virtually identical to Paph insigne. So in theory, you could grow it if you could find it.

I have a lot of orchids, and often think about them as kusamono, but right now I only have 3 in bonsai pots. I really need to start a dozen or so more, with more than 1300 hundred orchids under lights I should be able to spare a few for kusamono. It is just a matter of making the time, and bench space. (the orchids are packed together cheek to jowl).

Leo Schordje
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