Native to the Philippines, Paphiopedilum argus is an uncommonly seen slipper orchid that certainly deserves to command more attention. With a flower spike over 24″ (60cm) in height, Paphiopedilum argus towers over most of our shelf of mottled leave Paphs. Perhaps this stately gaze is why it was named for a Greek myth, alluding to a multi-eyed creature named Argus (or Argos); supposedly, the many spots on the petals are reminiscent of eyes. The flowers last at least two months.
Found over a range of elevation from 600m-2000m, Paphiopedilum argus is known as a warm to cool grower. We grow ours in the warm room with most of our Paphs, with overnight low minimum of 62F (16C) in winter, and days into the low 80s (27C). Humidity is 50-70% year-round. Like our other Paphs, we pot this species in a mix of medium Orchiata bark, New Zealand tree fern, and small growstones, with weekly to bi-weekly watering. It is an easy and vigorous species for us.
We have two siblings in our collection, and one has bloomed with notably horizontal petals, and the other with petals at 45 degree angles (see photographs below). The flower bud is leisurely in its maturation time — the time between the two photographs of the buds below was exactly one month. Overall, it was three months from the initiation of the spike to the flower opening. For these images, the flower spike was initiated around New Year’s Day, and the orchid was still in bloom for Memorial Day (May 25th)!
Interested in more unique and beautiful orchid images?
My vision to create orchid portraits emerged from my appreciation for the “whole orchid.” So many photographs of orchids focus only on the flower. But orchids are not flowers: they are entire plants and living beings. Connect more deeply with the many dimensions of orchids …