Paphiopedilum Orchid Species and Hybrids
How to Care for Lady Slipper Orchids
Paphiopedilum orchid species, also known as “Paphs” or
lady slipper orchids due to their slipper-shaped pouch, originate in
the jungles of the Far East.
They grow in humus and other material
located on the forest floor, on cliffs in pockets of humus, and some
species grow in trees.
Blooms can last for eight weeks or
longer, and are comprised top and side petals that frame a pouch, or
They are easy to grow in the home, under lights,
orchids are referred to as Lady Slipper orchids
because their lip is
shaped like the toe of a slipper.
The unique flowers are available in
variety of colors, shapes and sizes.
Due to their wax-like
appearance, they often appear more artificial than real.
Flowers may be
solitary or in small clusters in many colors. Most bloom in fall and
The blooms can last for up to eight weeks or longer.
Paphiopedilum Orchid Care
year-round. Paphiopedilum species require shady conditions.
the home, place this orchid in a shaded window. Fluorescent lighting is
acceptable in the home. In the greenhouse, shade should be
Intermediate (65 - 70° F / 18 - 21° C nights and 80 - 85° F / 27 - 29°
C days) Year Round.
to fifty percent humidity is ideal for paphiopedilum orchids. This can
be provided by placing the orchid pot on a tray of gravel filled with a
small amount of water or by placing a humidifier in the room. A
greenhouse should also provide sufficient humidity.
every third watering during spring and summer - fertilizer should be
mixed at ½ the strength. Feed every three weeks in fall and winter –
dilute fertilizer to ¼ the strength.
prevent and remove excess salts from potting soil, thoroughly flush
with clear water every month.
medium evenly moist at all times (not soggy). Be sure water reaches the
roots since this orchid does not have pseudobulbs. Watering schedule is
typically once or twice a week.
Orchid Potting Mix
plant matures, small offsets will appear at the base of the
orchid. These offsets can be removed and repotted. You can
wait for the plant to form large clumps, and separate by division –
typically every four to five years.
a flat work space with butcher paper or newspaper. To loosen
orchid, tap the pot gently or slide a knife between the soil and the
- Tilt the orchid pot sideways and gently remove the plant
from the pot and lay it on the work surface.
remove as much of the potting mix from the orchid roots as
possible. Check the root system for sick or damaged roots.
Unhealthy roots need to be trimmed off.
best pot will be slightly larger than the current one, one large enough
to allow the orchid to continue to grow, as well as allow for air
circulation around the root system.
It should comfortably accommodate the roots without crowding. An orchid
pot that is too large allows moisture to remain in the soil mix and
will cause root rot.
- Potting medium for
paphiopedilum orchids use a combination of bark and soil. Choose a fine
bark - avoid medium or large chunks. Four parts fir bark to one part
perlite is recommended.
- Position the
orchid in the pot so its base aligns with the edge of the pot. Position
older growth closer to the edge of the pot - new growth should be
positioned towards the center.
- Water the
plant when new growth is established. Ensure plant is adequately
hydrated; spray the leaves to maintain humidity. As new growth occurs,
keep the plant shaded. When the new growth appears to be established,
move the orchid into bright, indirect light.
Paphiopedilum orchids can last many years when propagated from
Hybrids grow slightly faster than many species, as well as flower
Uses and Display Tips
orchids are elegant when planted in a simple flower pot, which can be
displayed in a location that receives bright, indirect light.
Other Types of Orhcids