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Paphiopedilum 'Lord Derby', photo courtesy of MAP/Arnaud Descat/Garden World Images
Paphiopedilum 'Lord Derby', photo courtesy of MAP/Arnaud Descat/Garden World Images

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Zone
Zones 17, 20-24, H2
Partial Sun
Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Paphiopedilum

Lady's Slipper
Orchidaceae
Orchids and bromeliads, Flowers

Sometimes sold as Cypripedium,these terrestrial orchids arenative to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. They are usually grown in a greenhouse or as houseplants but can be brought outdoors in warm weather. Some green-leafed forms can stay outdoors all year in mildest parts of the West Coast (Zones 17, 20–24); more tender, mottled-leafed forms can be grown outdoors year-round in Zone H2.

Leaves are graceful and arching. Green-leafed types usually flower in winter, mottled-leafed kinds in summer. Most plantsobtained from orchid dealersare hybrids. Blooms are perky,usually one to a stem, occasionally two or more; each has a distinctive pouch. Many of them shine as if lacquered. Flowers may be white, yellow, green with white stripes, or pure green; or they may show a combination of background colors and markings in tan, mahogany, brown, maroon, green, and white.

A noteworthy species isP. insigne. Among the cold-hardiest of the green-leafed types, it can withstand brief exposure to 28°F (–2°C). It blooms at any time from earlyfall through winter, bearingpolished-looking flowers on stiff, hairy brown stems. Sepals and petals show a combination of green and white, with brownspots and stripes; pouch isreddish brown.

Lady’s slippers lack pseudobulbs in which to store moisture, so their roots must never be allowed to go completely dry (water freely in spring and summer, less in fall and winter). Use same potting mix as for cymbidiums. Feed with a half-strength solution of liquid fertilizer every week during spring and summer,then taper down to every otherweek during winter months.Don’t plant in oversize pot;plants thrive when crowded.They flourish with less light than most orchids require.

The least fussy types canbe grown in pots in the house.For indoor culture, green-leafedforms generally require temperatures of 50°F to 55°F (10°C to 13°C) at night, 60°F to 75°F (16°C to 24°C) during the day.Mottled-leafed forms do bestwith temperatures of about55°F to 60°F (13°C to 16°C)at night, 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C) during the day. Heat requirements are best met in a greenhouse.

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