The unifloral paphs include a vast range of paph species from all over Asia. These include Paph hainanense, Paph fowliei, Paph sukhakulii, Paph argus, and many others. It also includes the very common paph hybrids found in nurseries and home improvement stores called the "Maudiae type" hybrids. Many of the hybrids are not true to their names and will carry two open blooms per spike for a short time, just as a sequential bloomer might.

These orchids are popular not only for their long lasting blooms, but also for their foliage. The leaves of many of these species, and the vast majority of the hybrids, are "mottled" in color; they are spotted with light or dark green, sometimes creating beautiful patterns. Among the most beautiful paph species in this regard are Paph malipoense, Paph micranthum, Paph delenatii, and Paph vietnamense.

Not all unifloral paphs sport mottled leaves, however. Indeed, many of the most beautiful and sought after species have strap leaves. One of the rarest (or at least, most expensive) orchids on the market today is a Chinese unifloral species called Paph tigrinum, which has strap leaves. Others include (but are not limited to) Paph insigne, Paph barbigerum, Paph gratrixiannum, Paph villosum, and Paph exul.


The unifloral paphs generally require lower light levels than do the multifloral. They may be healthily grown and bloomed at 1500 candle feet; some species will bloom with as little as 500.

As a general rule, unifloral Paphs with darker, mottled leaves will require less light than those with strap leaves. If you notice that the leaves of your paphs are getting very dark or soft, they are probably not getting enough light. Dark leaves with a blue tint is a sure sign of light defficiency.

Even the strap-leaved Paphs may be sensitive to light, though. I discovered this with my Paph insigne specimen plant; it's leaves quickly burned and became spotted with ugly brown regions after a short car ride on a sunny day.

TEMPERATURE, Moisture and Mix

Like the multiflorals, most of the uniflorals prefer moderate temperatures and good moisture and humidity (50-70%). Potting mixes can be very similar to those of the multiflorals: open and well-draining. Good air movement is always a good idea.

Many of the non-lithophytic terrestrial Paphs grow best in a potting mix that is slightly acidic. This can be acheived by using a mix with an organic component (most are) and indeed, most fertilizers are slightly acidic, which will help. If you have a species plant, be sure to check on its specific pH requirements. Grow most hybrids in a neutral mix.

The sequential-blooming Paphs include such species as Paph moquettianum, Paph liemianum, Paph glaucophylum, Paph primulinum, and Paph victoria-regina.

In general, these paphs can be grown like other mottled-leaf paphs. Some prefer a medium that is quite alkaline (pH 8), so be sure to check for species specific information.

Unlike other paphs, the sequential bloomers will continue blooming until they are pollinated or exhausted. Unless you plan on pollinating your orchids, you can expect to enjoy at least six months of blooms on a sequential bloomer. However, if the plant is allowed to continue blooming, especially if it has less than ideal growing conditions, the plant will expend all of its stored energy on blooms rather than new growth in the roots and foliage.

If you have a single-growth sequential bloomer, then, it is reccomended that you clip its spike after 6-8 months in order to give the plant a rest period and allow for development of new growths. For larger plants with 2 or 3 growths, the blooming may be continued for a year or longer. Well rested plants produce larger, more colorful blooms.

The "mottled" leaf pattern is nicely portrayed in the botanical print of Paph godefroye, shown above. As you can see, the Paphs were all formerly referred to as "Cypripedium", a term now reserved for their temperate growing cousins, mostly in North America and Europe.
This Paph fowliei (right) displays the typical flowering habit of a unifloral paph. The fowliei also has nicely mottled leaves, not visible in this instance.
This paph hybrid is a typical mottled-leaf, Maudiae-type hybrid. Orchids such as these are generally inexpensive and easy to grow.

This one carries two blooms briefly - the lower bloom wilted and dropped of a few days after the photo was taken.

The paph below is a sequential blooming species, a Paph liemianum. Photo displays the typical blooming pattern of a sequential bloomer very nicely.

The lone, current bloom projects out past the end of the spike. As it grows old, the smaller bud (below and to the right) will grow past the bloom and open as the old bloom withers and drops off. This process will repeat for months.

Paph liemianum