While I find some orchid names are rather curious, this Paphiopedilum most certainly deserves the title of Crowning Glory. When the flowers opened, both my husband and I felt humbled by the majesty of the orchid. As always with a first bloom seedling, you do not know quite what to expect. While we are not inclined towards formal orchid judging, and I cannot say how this particular cultivar would be esteemed by AOS or CSA criteria, by our perspective, this orchid raises the bar on our aspirations for Paphiopedilum.
Paphiopedilum Crowning Glory is a relatively recently registered grex (April 2018). The parents are Paphiopedilum sanderianum and Paphiopedilum Johanna Burkhardt. Paphiopedilum Johanna Burkhardt is the primary hybrid of Paph. rothchildianum and Paph. adductum. Thus, three species contribute to Paphiopedilum Crowning Glory: 50% Paph. sanderianum, 25% Paph. rothchildianum, and 25% Paph. adductum.
A few comments on our culture, for those interested …
We grow our blooming size and near blooming size (4″/10cm pot size and larger) multi-floral species and hybrids in somewhat drier conditions than our other Paphiopedilum. Currently, our media of choice is Orchiata Power (medium-size), with some hydroton on the bottom of the pot for drainage. I also make the effort to fill center of the pot with an inorganic media, to reduce core wetness in the larger pots. We had used large Growstones with excellent success, but this product has been discontinued. Going forward, I’ll probably use extra large hydroton and/or an overturned plastic pot (for larger pots) to take up space. I have also used various sized, egg-shaped river rocks with good results, though it makes the pot a bit oddly heavy for a Paphiopedilum. Styrofoam is a ubiquitous alternative, but we not so fond of this orchid media.
A note on our widespread use of hydroton: we use RO water exclusively for our Paphiopedilum (and most of our orchids) so there are no issues with mineral/salt build-up on the clay. The combination of Orchiata and hydroton results in like-new media after a year. Particularly for larger Paphiopedilum, we repot every 18 months to 2 years, on the longer side if the orchid is large and well-established. Though the Orchiata still appears excellent (hard, un-degraded) after two years, and appears like it can be left longer, we find that Paphiopedilum do seem to appreciate a change of media, and respond with new roots and growth after repotting.
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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 …