Psychopsis papilio


We have a beautiful Psychopsis papilio that we have owned for more than four years. It has six beautiful spikes and some are in bloom. I am concerned that it needs repotting but I am afraid I could damage or kill the plant. When would it be best to repot and what are the signs that Pyp. papilio needs repotting? —Celine Migyanka

Psychopsis papilio, the "butterfly orchid"; photo © G.Allikas.


I am not sure that there is one good answer for this particular plant. It is not the easiest to grow for most, but those who do well with it seem to do very well indeed, so you may be one of the lucky ones. The plants of this species that I see do best are disturbed least. Smallish pots with a long-lasting medium is the answer. Nor do you want to cut the old spikes, as they will continue to bloom. I would pot in the spring, through June, taking care not to damage the roots any more than is necessary. Keep on the dry side in a humid atmosphere for a week or two, or until new root growth is seen, then simply treat as you have been doing. Clearly, if you have been successful to this point, you have the right conditions for this plant. —Ned Nash