About andrews

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far andrews has created 84 blog entries.

Glossary of Terms

This is a glossary of common terms in Traditional Chinese Medicine excerpted from the book, 7 Times a Woman. If you do not see a term you want defined, please see Appendix B in the book.

Acupuncture (针砭, zhēnbiān, or 针刺, zhēncì) – Refers to inserting tiny needles into specific points in the body called acupuncture points. Acupuncture points (also used for acupressure) are places where energy pools along energy pathways. The greater concentrations of Qi (energy) located at acupuncture points make them more powerful locations to move Qi through the entire channel.

Blood (血, xuè) – In Traditional Chinese Medicine contains the Qi and houses the Spirit. Blood is the physical manifestation of Qi and is inseparable from it. Qi gives life to the Blood, while Blood gives Qi physical form. Blood is moistening and lubricates the sinews and tendons and nourishes the skin and hair.

Jing (Essence) (精, jīng) – The product of what is inherited from the parents and what is taken in from the environment (through eating and breathing). It is stored in the Kidneys but also circulates throughout the body. It is influenced by diet, lifestyle, and herbs. It relates to the individual’s constitution which is possible, yet difficult to alter. Kidney Jing guides our maturation, development, and reproduction. It is the slow, fluid movement of the Kidney Jing that is described in the 7 year cycles women experience.

Meridians (经线, jīngxiàn) – The pathways or circuits of energy flow through the body, also called Channels.

Moxibustion (moxa) (艾炷灸, àizhùjiŭ) – A central therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine, often used with acupuncture during treatment. The leaves of Ai Ye (mugwort) are dried then formed into cones, sticks, or left loose, after which it is called “moxa.” Moxa can be burned directly or indirectly on acupuncture points to warm the meridians and stimulate the flow of Qi.

Qi (气, qì) – Literally translates as “life force energy” or “vital energy.” It is insubstantial. Qi can be felt (and seen by some), but it does not have form. It is what enlivens the body; like electricity that lights up a house. Qi has six functions within the body: transforming, transporting, holding, raising, protecting, and warming.

Shen (神, shén) – The spirit of the Heart and can also be translated as “consciousness.” In TCM, the Heart houses the Mind. It also refers to the overarching spirit of the person. The Heart Shen is the part of a person that is conscious of being and integrates the other spirits of the four other spirits: the Hun, Po, Yi, and Zhi. Imbalance in the Heart causes the Shen to scatter, leading to mental and emotional disturbances.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) (中医, zhōngyī) – Often used to describe the standardized traditional medicine of China created by post-revolutionary China. It is also used to describe the broader traditional medicine that evolved in China and Taiwan. Some propose using a broader term such as Traditional Asian Medicine to include Japanese, Korean, and other evolutions of the medicine. TCM relies on acupuncture, moxibustion, qigong, herbal medicine, cupping, gua sha, and massage. In Asian countries it also includes bonesetting and chiropractic adjustments.

Yang (阳, yáng) – Relates to the insubstantial, Qi, the sun, heat, movement, excess, rising, morning, back side of the body. Exists only in relation to Yin.

Yin (阴, yīn)– Relates to substantial, Blood and body fluids, the moon, cold, stillness, deficiency, sinking, evening, front side of the body. Exists only in relation to Yang.

The Basics of Postpartum Recovery

Postpartum Recovery is a set of practices and nutritional guidelines for the first month after giving birth. It is based on the ancient Chinese practice of Zuo Yue Zi (or “sitting the month”) in which postpartum women and newborns were recovered for 30-40 days after birth with the love and support of extended family. Zuo Yue Zi turned a potentially draining experience into a ritual of rejuvenation. Postpartum traditions such as Zuo Yue Zi existed cross-culturally to protect the health of mother and child. Times have changed and most modern mothers do not have the network of support our ancestors had. Postpartum Recovery is the modern evolution of this tradition, modified to support women now.

What Postpartum Recovery Promises

  • Full Recovery of the Body. Postpartum Recovery brings the waist down to pre-pregnancy shape, prevents organ prolapse (which can cause urinary incontinence), and restores the breasts.
  • Hormonal Balance. By nourishing Qi and Blood and providing adequate rest, a woman’s body is able to fully recover a normal menstrual cycle and healthy hormone production.
  • Boost Health of the Baby. Proper diet and herbs promote top quality breast milk as well as a relaxed, restored mother (two things that will make any baby thrive).
  • Minimal Postpartum Symptoms. Avoid or quickly treat postpartum depression, uterine prolapse, joint pain, mastitis, inadequate milk production, fatigue, and low libido.
  • Increased Fertility. Women are increasingly not recovering hormonal balance after giving birth, reducing their chances to have more children. Postpartum Recovery brings your body back to a pre-pregnancy state, or better.
  • Vitality and Youthfulness. Postpartum Recovery will leave you strong, revitalized, and with plump, glowing skin (no more dark spots).

What Postpartum Recovery Includes

Each woman will want to adapt Postpartum Recovery to meet her needs, however all women need the following for 30-40 days after giving birth:

  • Rest.
  • Nutrition and herbs to properly cleanse and repair the body and promote optimum breast milk production.
  • Connection and support.
  • Abdominal binding.
  • Keeping warm.
  • Avoiding excessive stimulation, stress, or change.

The Stages of Postpartum Recovery

Postpartum Recovery is divided up into three stages.

The first week is Stage 1. During this phase the new mother’s body is at its weakest and most toxic and congested. She has just suffered loss of Qi from delivery as well as Blood and fluid loss. Her body is also trying to expel the lochia (a combination of blood, mucous, and placental tissue discharged through the vagina for 2-4 weeks after birth). Additionally, if she has had a hospital birth, or especially a C-section, her body will also need to clear out medications and anesthesia. Thus Stage 1 has the strictest prohibitions, the greatest rest requirements, and food and herbs that are both nourishing and gently detoxifying.

The second week is Stage 2. The focus shifts to tonifying the Kidneys and contracting the uterus and waist back to pre-pregnancy size. Moving and detoxifying herbs and foods are still used.

The third, fourth, and sometimes fifth week comprise Stage 3. The new mother’s body is cleared enough and strong enough to absorb more intense tonification. She can also enjoy more leniency in her restrictions. This is the time to really build up the vitality of the new mother, and thus her newborn.


For specific Postpartum Recovery practices please see 7 Times a Woman, and the Postpartum Recovery Manual, coming out Summer 2014. The books are based on my own clinical application on what I learned from the works of Dr. Shuqi Zhuang (庄淑旗) and Dr. Fuqing Zhu, and mentorship from Dr. Shaoting Jing and Dr. Jiang Zheng.

Andrews, Lia. “Partial Translation of ‘Postpartum Recovery Program; a Manual of Rules and Recipes for the Postpartum Woman.’” (DAOM capstone, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, 2013).

Andrews, Lia. “The ‘Three Golden Opportunities’: Key Times Women Can Improve or Damage their Health.” (The Journal of Chinese Medicine, October 2013, Number 103).

Andrews, Lia. “7 Times a Woman; Ancient Wisdom on Health & Beauty for Every Stage of Your Life.” (Alcyone Press: San Diego, 2013).

Those who can read traditional Chinese characters may want to check out a foundational source of my information. Zhuang, Shuqi. “Postpartum Recovery Program; a Manual of Rules and Recipes for the Postpartum Woman.” (Taiwan: Guang He Chu Ban She, 2005). ISBN 9578807015. Note: you will need to modify this traditional Taiwanese plan for a Western audience.

By | 2017-12-30T00:03:06+00:00 December 30th, 2017|Postpartum Care|0 Comments

Understand Your Period and Period Care


Menstrual Cycle Overview

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) excels at diagnosing hormonal irregularities and balancing them. Acupuncture and herbs are used to resolve menstrual problems (cramps, PMS, irregularity), infertility, IVF support, and menopausal symptoms. The period cycle itself offers an excellent opportunity to diagnose and address hormonal imbalances.

This basic Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Chart shows an idealized cycle. BBT charts can also be read in TCM terms to assess the health of your cycles. You can make your own BBT chart on paper, using an app like Woman Log, or on a website like Fertility Friend.

It is important for women to be intune with their cycle and modify their lifestyle accordingly. If you are healthy it will help keep you that way. If you have an issue, it will help balance it.


Just before the period, your body temperature drops, indicating the beginning of the Yin phase of your cycle. Menstruation is a time for physical and emotional housecleaning. Old thoughts and hurts are sloughed off with the blood. This is a time to rest and stay warm. Avoid swimming in cold water, cold foods, and exposure to cold drafts. Avoid strenuous exercise or work. This is a time for introspection. Clinically this is the time to move Qi and Blood. Problems during the beginning of this phase indicate Qi and Blood stagnation, while problems at the end of the period indicate Qi and Blood deficiency.


This is Yin and Blood building period where the new tissue grows in preparation for a potential baby. Activity increases. Make sure to get plenty of nutrients. Clinically this is the time to Nourish Blood and Yin. Symptoms aggravated during this phase often indicate Blood and/or Yin deficiency.


Your body temperature spikes and the body moves into Yang phase. This tends to be the time when you are physically at your strongest. Clinically this is the time to move Qi and Blood and warm the Yang. Problems with ovulation can have numerous causes.


This is the Qi and Yang building period. Clinically this is the time to boost Qi and Yang. Problems during this time can indicate either Qi and/or Yang deficiency, or Liver Qi stagnation.


Menstrual Renewal is a set of practices and nutritional guidelines performed during menses and the days after bleeding has ceased. Practicing Menstrual Renewal will:

  • regulate your menstrual cycle
  • plump up your skin, increase moisture, generate an inner glow, and other signs of high female hormone levels
  • eliminate common PMS symptoms such as cramps, bloating, fatigue, migraines, and moodiness.
  • increase fertility (if desired).
  • reduce chances of gynecological diseases.
  • increase work and athletic performance.
  • regulate weight.
  • keep you looking and feeling young longer.

Every menstruating woman should practice Menstrual Renewal. For details on this practice please see the book 7 Times a Woman.

Andrews, Lia. “The ‘Three Golden Opportunities’: Key Times Women Can Improve or Damage their Health.” (The Journal of Chinese Medicine, October 2013, Number 103).

Andrews, Lia. “7 Times a Woman; Ancient Wisdom on Health & Beauty for Every Stage of Your Life.” (Alcyone Press: San Diego, 2013).

By | 2017-12-30T00:20:24+00:00 December 29th, 2017|Period Care, Traditional Chinese Medicine|0 Comments

What Does Your Tongue Say About Your Health? Chinese Medical Tongue Diagnosis

Tongue diagnosis is one of many tools acupuncturists use to access the health of patients. Many people have a combination of patterns occurring at the same time, making diagnosis more complicated. First we will look at the tongue body then the tongue coating.

tongue-normalNormal Tongue
A normal tongue is pink, not too big and not too small, with a very thin white coating.

Tongue Body

tongue-juttingJutting Tongue
This tongue to “v” shaped and juts out forcefully. The tension in the tongue is indicative of the tension held in the body. It is a sign of Liver excess (Liver Qi Stagnation or Fire). Possible symptoms include muscle tension, stress, irritability, depression, and PMS. If the tongue veers to one side this indicates Liver Wind and potentially stroke or convulsions.

tongue-puffyPuffy Tongue
Also known as a enlarged or fat tongue. This indicates Phlegm and is a sign of congestion of body fluids. Phlegm is implicated in many modern diseases including sinus or lung congestion, excess weight, irrational thinking, obsessive thoughts, fatigue, foggy thinking, chronic joint pain, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and channel blockages.

tongue-smallSmall Tongue
A tongue that is smaller than normal indicates a deficiency of substance in the body, namely Blood Deficiency or Yin Deficiency. Common symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, tinnitis, insomnia, night sweats, and female hormone deficiency.

tongue-scallopedScalloped Tongue
Teeth marks on the sides of the tongue indicates Spleen Qi Deficiency. This can present as weak digestion, food allergies, fatigue, poor muscle tone, a tendency to bruise, low immunity, and organ prolapse.

Assessing Tongue Color

tongue-redRed indicates Heat.

tongue-palePallor indicates Cold or Deficiency (Qi, Blood, and/or Yang).

tongue-purplePurple or bluish indicates Blood Stagnation.

tongue-redtipRed Tip The very tip of the tongue corresponds to the Heart. A red tip indicates Heart Heat, or emotional unrest. This can manifest as stress, anxiety, or insomnia. If the tip has a cleft it indicates longstanding or constitutional tendency towards emotional issues.

Tongue Coating

tongue-white-coatThick White Coat
A thick tongue coating indicates Dampness. This is a pathological accumulation of fluids associated with digestive impairment. Common signs include weight gain, abdominal bloating, cloudy urination, mucous in the stools, edema, excessive vaginal discharge, poor digestion, and loose stools.

Thin Yellow Coat
The coating is thin, but distinctly yellow. This indicates Heat, either internal or Wind Heat (pathogenic invasion).

tongue-yellow-coatThick Yellow Coat
The tongue appears heavily coated and yellow. This indicates Damp Heat, the combination of Dampness and Heat (fluid accumulation mixed with inflammation). Commons symptoms include excess weight, feeling hot, anger, Liver/Gallbladder issues, and red weepy skin conditions.

tongue-mirroredScanty or Mirrored Coat
The tongue looks shiny, like liver. This indicates Yin Deficiency and the patient may present with insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, thirst, low back pain, tinnitis, hot flashes, and night sweats.

Common Combination Patterns

tongue-various bigger-words

Enhanced by Zemanta

How to Heal/Avoid Spiritual Abuse

“Widows, bulls, slippery steps, and holy men. Avoid these, and liberation awaits.”
Quote from the movie “Water”

My mom, Dr. Judith Andrews, is always saying “you don’t need a guru.” She inherited my grandfather’s skepticism of holy men as swindlers. My years in southern California, a seeming epicenter for gurus, has only affirmed this for me.

As the quote above alludes, people who set themselves up as God’s middlemen have always been an issue. The stories are the same across time, cultures, and religious/spiritual orders. Sexual abuse of minors or adults. Taking money from the hands of the desperate. Narcissistic outbursts. Catholic priests, Megastar pastors, Tibetan monks, your local yoga instructor…. there is no safe place for you to hand over your spiritual power.

Most of us have been cut off from our personal connection to the divine within us at an early age. It can happen even before we are born out of the womb if the environment we incarnate into is too dense. The veil drops and we forget who we really are and our connection to the mystery around us.

This works in society’s favor, or at least societies built on hierarchical control. Having a bunch of self-aware, happy, empowered people around would be worse than trying to herd butterflies.

But one day we catch a glimpse. A hardship or abrupt change breaks through the illusion and we can no longer do things as we did before. We are scared. Like standing at the edge of a high cliff…. and there appears this person so full of confidence.

This person is also so confident in us and our greatness. This is all fine and good. We all need teachers and friends after all. There is one caveat, however, we must depend on this confidence man. We only retain this safe, special place as long as we are with him/her. We may not stray on our own.

This is where the grooming and usual mind control come into play to undermine individual identity and create dependency.

I want to add a less talked about aspect, because it holds the key to your empowerment and freedom from these wayward parasites. Something even more sinister may be happening. In many Eastern, African, and Western occult traditions the spiritual expert actually harnesses spiritual powers and gifts from their followers. The imagery and terms vary from tradition to tradition, but the gist is the same.

We all have a connection to the divine through the heart up to the crown and third eye chakras. The spiritual conman will hijack the inner sight and divert that crown connection to themselves. All the divine gifts and power go to the conman. The follower’s psyche has been rewired. It now makes a B-line to the conman when it tries to access spiritual connection. This is how some spiritual conmen are able to attain special powers. They often make great use of magic tricks.

In traditions across Eurasia that understand the power of sexual energy, conmen (and women) emerged who found it much faster to steal sexual energy from others rather than cultivate it themselves. This is known as sexual vampirism. This misuse and hijacking of the sexual-spiritual axis occurs in dark corners of Daoist, Tantric, and Tibetan Tantric traditions. It was smuggled into secret societies in the U.S. by Aleister Crawley. Rasputin was initiated into a sexual cult in Russia…if you dig a little you will find that some of the darkest aspects of our humanity are tied to this inversion of sexual-spiritual connection. These conmen will be the most hypnotic and powerful.

These most serious cases of spiritual abuse require even more intervention than leaving a cult. Victims need help reclaiming their energy and their gifts. The damage to their personal identity will have been even more profound. All these cases have and can be healed, but it is far easier to get the lesson through someone else’s story and avoid all that time and energy it takes to heal.

The Lesson:
There are no certainties in life. There is no one way. It is best to go ahead and make friends with fear now because it will be there every time you are about to grow in some big and magical way. It means you are on to something. I t means you are about to stretch beyond the familiar.

Make sure your spiritual practice includes learning who you are and loving yourself and others. Illusion cannot stand up to Truth and Love.

If you have been conned, forgive yourself. We all go through vulnerable times and all it takes is for a vulture to swoop in at the right moment. It does not mean you are weak, or stupid, or should feel ashamed. That only keeps you from seeking the support that will heal you.

Spiritual conmen are everywhere, but I give an extra caution to associating with Neo-Tantric groups. This is one of the reasons I felt called to share information on sexuality in a spiritual and health context. We need more people bringing this information out in an empowering way.

The purpose of the guru is to teach you that you don’t need one. You are meant to discover your own divinity and power.

By | 2017-12-29T22:11:27+00:00 December 29th, 2017|Sexual Cultivation, Spirituality|0 Comments

Podcast 10; Interview with child Holocaust survivor Fani Weinstein

In this episode of The Lia Andrews Show I interview child Holocaust survivor and success business woman Fani Weinstein. You can download her autobiography free here.


By | 2017-10-17T22:09:59+00:00 October 17th, 2017|Podcasts|Comments Off on Podcast 10; Interview with child Holocaust survivor Fani Weinstein

Basic Grounding Meditation

Daoist tradition plays great emphasis on grounding before embarking on any type of spiritual development such as a meditation practice. This helps avoid two of the primary pitfalls of spiritual development:

  1. Getting spacy, ungrounded, unbalanced, and otherwise incapable of functioning in this world.
  2. Entity attack or influence.

This basic meditation grounds you in your space and connects you to the earth in preparation for deeper practices.

You can also listen to the audio on my podcast below:

By | 2017-10-17T22:26:10+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Daoism, Nurturing Life Project, Podcasts, Weekly Show|Comments Off on Basic Grounding Meditation

Mickey Carnell on Lady Slipper Orchid Culture 2017

By Lia Andrews. I have had beginner’s luck with many orchids: dendrobiums, cattleyas, phalaenopsis, and even vandaceous orchids, but my two paphiopedilums are barely hanging on. They’re alive but they are not happy, and they certainly have not bloomed. I thought maybe these orchids were not for me. I was surprised to hear Mickey say that when he first started growing orchids, he had immediate success with slipper orchids. He believes that slipper orchids are actually the easiest orchids for those who already have a green thumb with houseplants to start with because their care is not so different.

Slipper orchids are not epiphytes or lithophytes, like most orchids grown in collections like cattleyas and dendrobiums. (Epiphytes get their moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, and occasional debris. Lithophytes grow on rock faces, again without soil.) Slipper orchids are terrestrial and semi-terrestrial plants often found by streams and lakes in most parts of the world.  They are in the subfamily Cypripedioideae of orchids. The genera include cypripediums, mexipediums, selenipediums, phragmipediums and paphiopedilums. Most species in this subfamily are endangered in the wild due to habitat loss.

They share some common characteristics. They tend to like their roots wet, but not soggy. They cannot be mericloned, only divided. Seed crosses can vary widely (similar to the variety of genetic variations that can occur when you cross two humans). Their flowers are long lasting.

Water – The biggest take away I got from the presentation was the idea of “hydration” rather than watering. This is a key concept with this group. They need time to soak and fill up. Slippers do not like to fully dry out.

How to Hydrate a Slipper Orchid:

  1. Get a larger pot with no drainage hole.
  2. Fill with water and a little food.
  3. Place your potted slipper inside to soak for at least 15 min – 2 hours.

Water every other day or every 4th day depending on the time of year.

Media  – Mickey has grown slippers in all types of media: moss, bark, and various mixes. Just pay attention to moisture and freshness of the media. You will have to adjust watering according to the media. Remember that the more food and water, the faster organic media breaks down. (This is why many growers favor using rocks, sponge rock, etc. in their media to prolong the time before they have to repot). When it does, it becomes acidic and inhospitable to the orchids. The same media can be used for all slippers, the difference is that phragmipediums typically prefer to remain moist, while paphopedilums require a slight drying out between waterings.

Potting – All orchids like a fresh mix. Repot slipper orchids any time you think the media has started to break down to keep the growing media fresh. Like most orchids, they like to be underpotted. Repotting just means replacing the media, it does not necessarily mean going with a larger pot. Like other orchids, slippers prefer to be underpotted. Also, be sure to open the roots a bit so that at least some of the roots are touching the edge of the pot. Slipper roots are a little more delicate than other orchids. Cut away where the roots have become papery. Note: If you have an ailing slipper, cut away dead roots and pot in a tight wad of high quality sphagnum moss. Let the moss dry thoroughly before fully hydrating again.

Note: The wetter the media, the more prone to heat and cold damage.

Food – Mickey prefers high nitrate fertilizer (no urea). A 3:1:2 ratio will grow any plant under the sun. Nitrogen queues the plant to grow. Bloom fertilizer lacks nitrogen and allows the plant to flower. But remember, blooms happen on mature plants.

Pests – Slippers are bothered by few pests aside from occasional mealy bugs.

Cypripedium reginae

Cypripedium reginae

From the Latin Cypris = “Kypris or Aphrodite (Venus)”, Greek Pedilon = “sandal”, thus “Aphrodite’s slipper”.
These are the lady slipper orchids I remember as a kid growing in the forests of upstate New York. They are cold weather orchids widespread in the northern U.S., Canada, Europe, Russia, and China. Mickey did not review their culture in detail as they do not tolerate the heat of the southern U.S. Species include: Cypripedium reginae, formosanum, and gutatum. More pictures of species and hybrids.

Mexipedium xerophyticum

Mexipedium xerophyticum

From Mexi = Mexico, Greek Pedilon = “sandal”, thus “Mexican slipper”.

The genera consists of a single species, Mexipedium xerophyticum, found in Oaxaca, Mexico. It grows in limestone crevices.

Selenipedium aequinoctiale

Selenipedium aequinoctiale

From the Greek Selen = “moon”, Greek Pedilon = “sandal”, thus “moon slipper”.

The natural habitat for the genera is concentrated in the Amazon and thus is at great risk due to deforestation. An attempt was made to use some species as a vanilla substitute, but their difficulty in cultivation made their use inefficient. Species include: Selenipedium aequinoctiale (mimicry orchid), vanillocarpum, and chica.

P. Court Jester

P. Court Jester

From the Greek Phragma = “division”, Greek Pedilon = “sandal”, thus “divided slipper”.

They are native to Latin America and many are endangered in the wild. Species include: Phragmipedium pearcei, besseae, and kovachii and popular hybrids like P. “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. More pictures of species.

Phragmipediums are known amongst orchid growers as “difficult” plants so I was surprised to hear Mickey say P. Court Jester was the first orchid he ever got to flower. In Mickey’s opinion, phrags are the easiest slipper orchid to bloom. They can bloom sequentially for 6 months to 1 ½ years.

Phrags are very different from paphiopedilums. Of all the slippers, phrags are the most terrestrial. All slippers like their roots “wet but not soggy”, but phrags have the highest tolerance for wetness. You can get away with growing most phrags in standing water. P. bessiae and its hybrids are sensitive to wet feet, but most phrags enjoy being moist all the time. Many growers keep their potted phrags in a saucer of water. Otherwise, you want to check the potting mixture for moisture like you would any potted plant. As soon as it begins to dry out, hydrate the phrag thoroughly; typically every other day or so.

They may not be sensitive to the quantity but they are picky on quality. Every successful phrag grower I have spoken to swears that rain water is the secret. Their famous sensitivity to water quality is likely due to their dependence on mycorrhizal fungi (which perish in the chemical-laden water supply most of us have access to). This is the opinion of expert phragmipedium grower, Gary Murza.

Paph. (Via Victoria x Spring Free) x spicerianum grown by Barb Murza

Paph. (Via Victoria x Spring Free) x spicerianum grown by Barb Murza

From Paphos = a city in Cyprus, a place sacred to Aphrodite (Venus), Greek Pedilon = “sandal”, thus “Venus slipper”.

These are native to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Paphiopedilums are widely hybridized and common in orchid collections. Many adapt well to the southern U.S. The bulk of Mickey’s talk focused on this genera. He brought in examples of each subgenus for us to see and touch.

General Culture:

Media – 2 parts coconut or bark : 1 part charcoal : 1 part perlite. Mickey does not like lava rock because they accumulate salts. Paphs and phrags can be grown in the same media. Paphs really don’t like acid media. Be sure to repot when the media begins to break down.

Water – Never let them dry out completely. Use room temperature water. Do not use softened water. Potting media should stay moist but not wet. Most paphs like to be watered every other day. Paphs do not like water on their leaves (in South Florida. In California you would not need to worry about this). If you get water on their leaf axis it can easily cause fungus and rot. To remedy this you can grow in moss to limit the frequency of watering and/or hydrate them by soaking just the roots in water rather than spraying with a hose or watering from overhead.

Food – Paphs like to eat frequently. You can feed a dilute amount at every watering. Simply add a little food to the water and allow roots to soak. Flush with plain water every 4th watering. Alternately, feed weakly weekly, flushing with plain water 4-6 weeks.

Light – 800-1,000 foot candles. 70% shade (shadow east – too much light). Leaves should feel cool to the touch. Most paphs like early morning sun, though they thrive in all day filtered light. If they are in a place where the phalaenopsis have dark green leaves, it is too shady. As with all plants, the higher the light exposure, the more food and water required for the plant to keep up.

Humidity – 70% humidity is ideal. Use a humidity tray, fine mist several times a day, or use a humidifier.

Temperature range – 55°-85° is the ideal temperature range for most paphs.

Air Movement – moist, vigorous air movement reduces chance of disease.

New growth on a healthy plant will mature and bloom within 9 months.

At tonight’s meeting, the winning orchid was Paph. (Via Victoria x Spring Free) x spicerianum, expertly grown by Barb Murza. Barb says this Paph. spicerianum crosses are reliable bloomers and easy to grow.

Subgenus: Barbatum/Sigmatopetalum
Species include: Paph. venustum, wardii, purpuratum, argus, appletonianum,barbatum, callosum, lawrenceanum, mastersianum, sukhakulii, superbiens, venustum, viniferum and wolterianum.

Widespread through Southern China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Known as maudiae-type paphs due to their mottled leaves. Warm monsoon (monsoon summer/dry cool winter) growers ideally suited to South Florida. Prefer shade (500-1500 foot-candles).

Subgenus: Paphiopedilum/Insigne
Species include: Paph. coccineum, hirsutissimum, spicerianum, barbigerum. boxalii, charlesworthii, druryi, exul, fairrieanum, gratrixianum, helenae, henryanum, herman, insigne, and trigrinum.

Native to Southen China, Bhutan, Laos, Burma, and Thailand. Most are cool monsoon growers (require cooler autumn temperatures to bloom). Distinguished by green, strap-shaped leaves. Bloom in winter. Prefer bright light (high phalaenopsis, low cattleya light).

Subgenus: Brachypetalum
Species include: Paph. bellatulum, longipetalum, niveum, bellatulum, concolor, godefroyae, xgreyi, niveum and thaianum.

Native to tropical China, Vietnam, Burma, Laos, and Thailand. Distinguished by their tessellated and succulent, water-filled leaves. They do not need as much water as other paphs. According to Mickey they come to flower quickly. They like more food and particularly do not like water on their leaf axis. These slippers can tolerate temperatures into the 40’s.  They enjoy the monsoon summer/dry cool winter seasons of South Florida. Cool dry winter + calcium supplements for summer blooming. Shade. Good air movement.

Subgenus: Parvisepalum
Species include: Paph. armeniacum,  delenatii,  malipoense,  micranthum, vietnamense, emersonii, hangianum, jackii, and malipoense.

Native to tropical China and Vietnam. They are distinguished by tessellated thin leaves and flowers with large, inflated pouches. Cool dry winter + calcium supplements for summer blooming. Shade. Good air movement.

Strap-Leaf Multiflorals – Distinguished by their ability to sustain multiple blooms. They like good air flow. Must have a 6-8 week cool period (50-60°F) to bloom. Mickey considers them difficult to kill and they are fast growers. The leaves should be an apple green color for optimal flowering. This subgroup prefers more light; most tolerating cattleya-level light (2000-3000 ft-candles). They prefer to grow warmer and shouldn’t be exposed to temperatures below 50°-55°. They enjoy the monsoon summer/dry winter seasons of South Florida.

Subgenus: Cochlopetalum
Species include: Paph. glaucophyllum, liemianum, moquetteanum, primulinum, victoria-mariae and victoria-regina (syn. chamberlainianum).

Native to Indonesia. Sequential bloomer. Mickey states that cochlopetalums are great for growers in Southwest Florida. Again, they are warm weather monsoon growers.

Subgenus: Coryopetalum
Species include: Paph. adductum, gigantifolium, intaniae, kolopakingii, ooii, philippinense, platyphyllum, praestans (syn. glanduliferum), randsii, rothschildianum, sanderianum, stonei and supardii.

Simultaneous bloomer.

Subgenus: Pardalopetalum/Polyantha
Species include: Paph. parishii, stonei, lowii, dianthum, haynaldianum,  lynniae,  and richardianum.

Primarily found in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. Simultaneous bloomer. These enjoy cooler, drier weather.

For a mixed collection use: balanced fertilizer, 40ppm calcium, 20-30ppm magnesium, and pH 6.2-6.6.
For Calcareous Species add a top dressing of crushed oyster shell, pelletized limestone, or dolomitic limestone chunks.
Calcareous Species include: armeniacum, malipoense, microanthum, emersonii, bellatulum, concolor, godefroyae, niveum, philippinense, sanderianum, stonei, glanduliferum, wilhelminae, supardii, dianthum, glaucophyllum, liemianum, primulinium, Victoria-regime, hirsuitissmum, charlesworthii, insigne, barbigerum, exul, spicerianum, fairrieanum.


  • Oncidiums growing too dark in winter won’t bloom in Spring. This is why many growers can only get their oncidiums to bloom once a year in the Fall.
  • Ring stakes allow light to hit new growth and increase blooming in cattleyas.
  • Bare root orchids love to be watered daily, and by watered Mickey means fully hydrated of course, to mimic the nearly constant misting many of them receive in their natural habitats. Professional growers typically mist their bare root orchids for 45 min twice daily and feed twice a week. Hobbyists can set up a sprinkler on a timer for a similar effect. For those of us with other responsibilities Mickey recommends at least once a week fully hydrating your orchids, either soaking in water or watering them 3 times a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). This particularly applies to vandas. Palm tree vandas are food and water-deprived vandas.

Blue Pagoda

By | 2017-12-03T23:54:37+00:00 January 29th, 2017|Plants|Comments Off on Mickey Carnell on Lady Slipper Orchid Culture 2017

Happy Chinese New Year! Yin Fire Rooster 2017

Time for intense and positive changes and transformation. Time to take advantage of tons of energy coming our way, and get things done. This is a big year for love and romance.

If you want a quick and positive read on what the new year has in store for you, check out this post.

If you want details you will need to understand a little more. Each year provides a new matchup between the 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches, and it is the alchemy between those elements, and your own, that predicts how you will fare.

The 10 Heavenly Stems (天干,  tiāngān) are combinations between Yin and Yang and each of the 5 Elements:

Image result for 12 heavenly stems

The 12 Earthly Branches (地支, dìzhī) are the 12 animals that represent further Yin and Yang and 5 Element combinations:

Those combinations then interact with your personal birth chart, called the 4 pillars:


By | 2017-12-03T23:54:37+00:00 January 28th, 2017|Daoism, Feng Shui, Spirituality|Comments Off on Happy Chinese New Year! Yin Fire Rooster 2017