Pafinia - a miniature orchid with huge flowers


A lover of humid air and one of the most compact and rare papinia orchids for most orchid growers is a real star. Its flowering rarely lasts longer than a week, but it is an unforgettable sight. Unusual striped patterns on the huge flowers of a modest orchid I want to consider endlessly. In room culture, papinia is rightly included in the ranks of species that are difficult to grow. It has become fashionable only with the spread of original interior terrariums and florariums, looks amazing on snags and imitations, and can become the pride of collections.

Pafinia is a miniature orchid with huge flowers.

Pafinia - Latin American baby with unique flowers

One of the most beautiful and rare orchids, papinia conquers with the beauty of striped colors on huge flowers and always gives the impression of an unprecedented original. In fact, this orchid is far from as unique as its reputation. And capriciousness concerns only some of the features of care and conditions of detention.

This representative of the Orchidaceae family got its name in honor of one of the names of Aphrodite - in Cyprus this ancient Greek goddess was also called Paphia.

Pafinia (Paphinia, the symbol in the catalogs is Pna) - not quite typical Latin American orchids. Most plants were described only at the end of the 20th century. The range of their distribution is amazingly huge, but the plants themselves are considered rare in nature.

Pafinia came to us from the expanses of Latin America - Bolivia, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica. This is an amazing orchid, which chooses the conditions by humidity, but not by temperature: papinia settle in very humid forests and near water bodies, where the air humidity does not fall below 80%. And in a hot climate, and in the gracious coolness of the highlands, they feel equally good.

Pafinias are considered to be medium-sized orchids, although in room culture they should still be attributed closer to miniature ones. In this beauty, everything is neat - and pseudobulbs, and leaves. Over time, papinia create neat bushes that appear crumbs against the background of ordinary indoor orchids. Papinia bulbs do not exceed 2.5 cm in height, are easily recognizable by their ovoid-cylindrical shape, flattening on the sides and an elongated tip in addition to a rich green color.

The roots are white, with proper moisture, do not turn green, which somewhat complicates watering. Pafinia never grow alone: ​​they are not always planted immediately in groups, but they themselves eventually grow larger families.

Unlike many other orchids, puffinias sit in groups rather densely, releasing children and filling all the free space. Plants bloom not only on mature bulbs and not only in large families - and small groups of young shoots can please with flowers.

The papinia foliage seems small, but only when compared with phalaenopsis and other large orchids. The maximum length of the leaves is about 15-18 cm, most often they are even smaller. The leaves are oval-lapid, folded (this is especially pronounced in dry air, when the leaves are literally folded accordion), up to 4 cm wide, shiny and smooth. One pseudobulb produces only a couple of leaves, but in a group of foliage it looks impressive and elegant. Leaves fall off when new ones begin to grow, on average they last 2 or 3 years.

A favorite feature of papinia is strips and strokes on a wine-dark-red or pink-fawn background.

Puffinia flowering

Papinia flower stalks are curved and bizarre. They develop almost at the base of pseudobulbs, most often arcuate and rarely pleasing with straight lines. Due to the low location of the peduncle during flowering, it seems as if the flowers only slightly rise or hang under the bushes.

Flowers with a diameter of about 9 cm look huge for this neat orchid, but in some species they are even able to grow up to 15-20 cm in diameter. Despite its exotic nature, the structure of the flowers is not at all outlandish. Ovoid, with a very pointed tip, the petals and sepals create a beautiful, inverted and quite symmetrical flower.

The central sepal is located under the lateral, the two upper petals and the central sepal are colored similarly (identically), with bright white stripes. The two lateral sepals are only slightly smaller and with less bright patterns. The lip is densely pubescent, yellow. A favorite feature of paffinia is strips and strokes on a wine-dark-red or pink-fawn background, which create the effect of bright white stripes.

The main drawback of papinii is a short flowering period. On average, huge flowers stay on the peduncle for only three days, at best - 5-7 days. But it is very difficult to break away from contemplating an orchid. Pafinia are very unpredictable orchids. From the growth of the peduncle to the actual blooming of the flower, several weeks and 3-4 months can pass, in different conditions they bloom differently.

How to help an orchid to bloom, read the article How to make an orchid bloom? 6 useful tips.

Despite the fact that the natural cycle of development of papinias suggests autumn-winter flowering, sometimes it blooms in our country only in the calendar Latin American winter - from May to the end of summer. If the plant is in optimal conditions, papinia can produce flowers in atypical times and please more than 1 time per year. But for this, you will have to take care of the key content parameter for it - high air humidity.

Types of indoor paffinias

Despite a rather large representation in nature (today the classification of 18 species of papinia is being revised), in the greenhouse and indoor culture, papinia is represented by only a few species, in most cases - varieties of one single species.

Pafinia comb (Paphinia cristata) is a compact epiphytic sympodial orchid that has long become a symbol of the whole genus. Ovoid densely located pseudobulbs up to 2.5 cm long with just a pair of oval-lanceolate leaves that have a pointed tip, create surprisingly neat bushes. And short creeping peduncles growing from under the bottom of the bulb (just up to 15 cm in length) with huge flowers up to 10 cm in diameter seem pretty neat.

This papinia is characterized by the legendary dark cherry color with white stripes, more intense along the edge. Each pseudobulb is capable of producing several peduncles. And on one peduncle, 1, 2 or 3 flowers can bloom.

In addition to the base plant, there are several forms and varieties, in particular, white-flowered, which produces more leaves and has magnolia-like flowers.

Pafinia Herrera (Paphinia herrerae) - a beautiful epiphytic species with slightly lighter, light greenish-yellowish leaves and pink-creamy flowers with very elongated ends of the petals. Huge flowers seem fancy pastel stars, wilted, usually grow several in number on one peduncle.

Pafinia majestic (Paphinia x majestic) is a hybrid of the previous species with pale red flowers, on which white stripes and spots occupy a much larger area. Outwardly, the plant resembles Herrera papinia, more hardy to medium air humidity, but also more photophilous.

Papinia comb (Paphinia cristata). Paphinia Herrera (Paphinia herrerae). Paphinia Majestic (Paphinia x majestic).

Growing conditions for puffinia in rooms

Pafinia is ranked among the most capricious orchids also because it imposes rather special requirements on temperatures. If the lighting for it can be moderate, then the comfortable temperature difference between day and night is huge and is not always recreated in living rooms. This is a heat-loving, specific orchid, which requires a careful analysis of the conditions of detention.

Lighting and placement

This orchid grows equally well in both natural and artificial lighting. Pafinia can be grown completely on artificial illumination or with partial illumination.

For papinias comfortable not diffused bright lighting, which prefers the majority of indoor orchids, and semi-shaded places and even a slight shadow. She does not like southern locations and direct rays; she develops best in light partial shade. The orchid itself signals the comfort of lighting: when too intense, the leaves brighten, when scarce, there are problems with growth and lack of peduncles.

For papinias, windows of eastern and northern orientation or similar places in the interior similar to window sills are best suited.

Temperature and ventilation

These orchids are thermophilic, not requiring a cool period of maintenance, even to stimulate flowering. In indoor conditions and greenhouses it is undesirable to allow temperature drops below 12 degrees.

Pafinia loves the differences between night and day temperatures. The optimal mode is to lower the temperature from 5-6 to 10-12 degrees at night. In the daytime, the orchid is comfortable in a stable warmth. Standard room temperatures from 20 to 25 degrees in the afternoon are quite suitable for her, but it is better to contain papinia in the range of daily temperatures from 25 to 29 degrees.

The optimal night mode is from 15 to 20 degrees. In this case, to hot temperatures, provided comfortable air humidity, and even to temperature fluctuations, papini are insensitive.

Pafinia do not tolerate drafts, but are not afraid of temperature differences. Plants suffer significantly in the absence of airing; their greens adore fresh air. In the summer they can be taken out into the open air, choosing protected places.

Pafinia is ranked among the most capricious orchids.

Home care for paffinia

Pafinia is not accidentally considered one of the most complex orchids. It is suitable only for experienced gardeners. Fortunately, the orchid reacts brightly and quite obviously to any deviations in care, which allows you to adjust watering and humidity on time. Maintaining optimal moisture is the most difficult moment in the cultivation of this orchid.

Watering and humidity

Pafinia love neither waterlogging nor prolonged drought. These orchids are watered by the usual method of immersion or neat classic watering, choosing the method depending on the method of cultivation.

This orchid loves the hot shower method using water with a temperature of 30 to 35 degrees. Active watering is needed for papinia during the growing season, growth of leaves and peduncles. During flowering, watering is reduced (waterlogging at the bud stage is especially dangerous).

For the dormant period (it is very short for this orchid, it begins only when new shoots are fully formed and ends with the appearance of the first new shoots) watering is minimized, not allowing the substrate to dry completely. On average, during active vegetative growth, papinia is watered up to 2 times a week. Any stagnation of water for papinia is categorically unacceptable.

In room conditions, it is rather difficult to maintain the required high humidity for papinii. The optimal indicators for the content of this orchid - 80% - can be recreated only in flower showcases, florariums, orchidariums, terrariums or when installing humidifier devices. Drops below 60% should not be allowed.

Read about how to create optimal conditions for keeping orchids in the house in our article Orchidarium - a cozy "house" for orchids.

In the summer, you can raise the humidity to 90%, in winter - lower it to 75%. Puffinias themselves signal about insufficient air humidity by wrinkling the leaves. When spraying is introduced into the care, they are carried out so that water does not fall on the orchid itself in the form of even the smallest drops (spraying with "fog"). The bases of peduncles during watering should also be protected from getting wet.

For papinia, it is advisable to include regular dusting of the leaves in the care. Contamination for this orchid is unacceptable. With any procedures, it is worth very carefully handling peduncles.

Fertilizing and fertilizer composition

They feed the plant only during active vegetation. When the orchid grows new pseudobulbs, leaves and flower stalks, a half-reduced portion of fertilizers is added to the water (compared to the recommended for fertilizers). The optimal frequency of top dressing is once every 3 weeks. It is better to alternate root and foliar dressings or supplement conventional foliar dressings.

For papinia, you can use not only special fertilizers for orchids. During flowering and during the dormant period, feeding is not carried out, but the rest of the time it is possible to feed the orchid more specifically: nitrogen fertilizers from spring to July, and phosphorus or ordinary orchids from August to November.

Pappinia trimming and shaping

In this orchid, pruning is reduced to the careful removal of peduncles after flowering and drying leaves. For any pruning, it is advisable to slightly dry the sections with a substrate for wound healing.

Planting, containers and substrate

Transplanting these orchids is necessary only in case of emergency. They prefer a stable environment and do not like contacts. Therefore, it is better to transfer to new places and divide papinii when they really have no where to develop in the previous place.

But since papinias are afraid of spacious containers, the compact size of containers and baskets usually require more frequent transplantation than for other indoor orchids - once every 2-3 years.

Pafinia prefer landing on blocks - bark, driftwood, artificial bases, with sphagnum fixing according to the standard method. These are small orchids, they are quite stable and it is in the epiphytic state that they fully show the beauty of both bizarre peduncles and leaves. But you can grow puffinia and in pots.

When planting in containers, special “breathable” and transparent containers or special baskets for orchids are chosen. Their diameter should fully correspond to the size of the root system of orchids, they do not like puffinia with too spacious containers with an excess substrate.

Papainia is planted in a clean bark or a special substrate for epiphytic orchids, but the top layer must be created from sphagnum, which (like mulch) covers the soil. Orchids cannot be buried: pseudobulbs should practically lie on a substrate of moss.

When transplanting papini, you need to be very careful. This is one of the most fragile orchids, sensitive to contacts with the roots and poorly tolerating their injuries. Removing the orchid from the previous support and installing it on a new one, as when changing the container, you need to be extremely careful and protect the plant from any injuries. The old substrate is removed very carefully. After transplanting, orchids are not watered, only slightly sprayed for several days.

When planting papinias, it is worth paying attention to the position and protection of peduncles. During normal growing on blocks, it is necessary to monitor the developing shoots and put an insulating material (foam or similar materials) in time under the peduncle to prevent contact with constantly wet moss at the base.

When planting orchids, it is better to place them on an elevation, obliquely so that the flower stalks can hang from the support and the risk of contact with a wet substrate is minimized. It is best to plant these plants on a "hill" of moss.

Daffodils are propagated by dividing large bushes and seeds into small groups of 3-4 pseudobulbs in each.

Diseases, pests and problems in the cultivation of paraffin

Pafinia are extremely prone to decay, which is why these orchids rarely decide to grow not on blocks or in baskets, but even in special containers. Contacts of water and stems lead to rapid tissue damage, and constant dampness leads to rapid death. But no faster than complete drying of the substrate. Pests on this orchid are almost never found.

Pafinia tend to signal problems themselves. Puckering leaves with an accordion is a signal to the need to increase air humidity, dropping leaves and brightening the whole plant hints at too bright light, the growth of roots and bulbs without flowering - an excess of nitrogen and poor lighting, dropping buds - a combination of low humidity and heat.

Puffinia breeding

This orchid is propagated in only one way - by dividing large bushes and seeds into small groups of 3-4 pseudobulbs in each. The larger the dividers, the easier and faster the pappinia adapt.