Ladies’ Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium)
There’s simply something extraordinary about Ladies’ Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium). Despite many claims to the contrary, these stunning flowers no longer require long hikes through the woods to be enjoyed. Growing a Lady’s Slipper Orchid plant’s wildflower can be accomplished just as easily, with a little effort, in your own garden. In fact, they make interesting specimens in the woodland garden.
Cypripedium is a genus of about 50 species of perennial, terrestrial orchids. The herbaceous stems and leaves of the various species grow from a few centimeters to over 1 m in height and die back to a usually short and thick underground rhizome during the winter. Most species have three to several leaves borne along the stem that are ovate, elliptic, or lanceolate, and pleated longitudinally. The smaller species may produce a few leaves at ground level with a single flower on a simple stalk while the larger species often have several leafy stems with scapose, multi-flowered inflorescences borne at the stem ends. The inflorescences are racemose or almost spicate with from one to twelve flowers, with most species bearing 1-3 flowers. The flowers are showy with the color of the petals and sepals often contrasting with that of the inflated, sac-shaped lip—the colors ranging through white, yellow, green, pink, red, brown or purple. Flowers are produced during the warmer months: spring but especially in summer.The fruit are linear-ellipsoid capsules that, as is typical with orchids, produce enormous numbers of minute seeds lacking endosperm and needing particular conditions and fungal associates to germinate.
Common Name : slipper orchid, lady’s slipper, moccasin flower, camel’s foot, squirrel foot, steeple cap, Venus’ shoes, whippoorwill shoes, nerve root, American valerian
Scientific Name : Cypripedium
How to maintain Ladies’ Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium) :
Watering : The soil should be kept moist. If your water is chemically treated, allow it to sit for several days in an open container before using. Otherwise, you should only water the plant with distilled or rainwater.
Humidity: Requires moist air — preferably 50-60% relative humidity. Set pot on a tray of wet pebbles and mist leaves daily with room- temperature water.
Temperature: 60-65°F/16-18°C nights and 75-80°F/24-27°C days.
Fertilizer : Prepare the Lady’s Slipper orchid with a manure particularly made for orchids or with natural fixings. Follow the fertilizer label directions carefully. In general, fertilizer should be applied every two weeks throughout the growing season. Alternatively, work a time-release fertilizer directly into the soil once at the beginning of the growing season. In any case, do not over-fertilize, as it can damage the plant.
Propagation: Division. Pull or cut the fans of the leaves apart into clumps of at least 2-3 growths.