Paphiopedilum cultivars


Slipper Orchid

Terrestrial or epiphytic plants from tropical Asia. They have leathery leaves folded along their length, which emerge from the base of the plant. The leaves can sometimes have a mottled colouration. Flowers can be solitary or in a raceme. The dorsal sepal is usually larger, lateral ones are always united. The lip is slipper or pouch-shaped. Some species do not flower readily, others flower more easily.


Container plants sometimes grown outside in tropics or subtropics, but an indoor or greenhouse plant is any cooler places


Over winter reduce watering, only water when the top of the pot is becoming dry, but increase watering during warmer months. Protect from strong drying winds and repot annually in spring. Aeration is particularly important; shallow pots are normally preferred and pots are best placed on a wire mesh bench, or something off the ground to allow air movement around the base of the pot.
Well developed plants can be divided just before active growth begins.

Over summer undertake regular watering and regular application of soluble fertilizer. Avoid high temperatures (over 30 degrees C) by shading, misting and/or ventilation; and never allow temperatures below 12 to 14 degrees C.

One of the easiest slippers to grow is P. insigne, which flowers in autumn and has been grown even on an indoor windowsill in a mild climate such as Sydney.

A good Paphiopedilum potting mix is a little richer and heavier than most other tropical orchid mixes. (e.g. 80% of 5 10mm diameter pine bark, 18% of 5 10mm diameter charcoal, 2% shell grit, and a pinch of blood and bone per pot). Always wet the potting mix thoroughly before using it.

They flower mainly over winter. Flower quality is affected by several things including watering, feeding, staking and light.

Reduce shading considerably from mid-autumn to mid-spring. Do not water at this time unless reasonably dry and only water early morning on a sunny day.


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There are 2 broad types of Paphiopedilums:

1. Species that occur naturally at high altitudes in cool moist conditions.
   These tend to have green, grass-like leaves, and tend to flower in winter. They prefer 10-13oC at
   night, and around 21oC maximum. Without low night temperatures for a few months at least, they
   will not flower. It is important to keep summer maximums low for these species.

2. Species that occur in warm forests, close to the ground.
   These tend to have mottled foliage; usually flower in summer -some can flower at any time of the
   year though. These need night minimums of around 15-20oC and day maximums of 21-30oC
   These will tolerate more heat than species from the other group.

Hybrids derived from crosses of these two types commonly prefer conditions between the two. Hybrids are often relatively easy to much so that they are sometimes called a "beginners orchid".

Plant Health

Scale and mealy bug are often a problem over summer.

More info

Paphiopedilums belong to a relatively primitive group of orchids that also includes the genera Phragmipedium and Cypripedium. All of these genera have the lip shaped like the toe of a slipper or a pouch: hence they are commonly known as Lady's Slippers.

There are approximately 60 species of Paphiopedilum.

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