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Growing Paphiopedilum Orchids in Your Home

Many Asian Ladyslipper orchids ‘Paphiopedilums’, can be successfully grown indoors on a sunny windowsill or in a sunroom. Some of the best types for these conditions are known as the Maudiae group, so named for a very early hybrid named in 1900. Plants are easily recognized by their mottled, two-tone foliage and compact size. The most common flower colors are shades of dark wine, russet with dark spots or bright green with white markings but new hybrids are breaking the boundaries and introducing yellows & pinks to the palette. Under normal conditions, you can expect each plant to produce a single flower per stem but that flower can stay perfect for months. Most plants of this type will make a great addition to any windowsill collection. (Though they would not turn their noses up at a shady spot in your greenhouse either.)

We recommend growing these in bright but diffused light, similar to Phalaenopsis, with good airflow to keep the foliage healthy and spot free. Ladyslippers appreciate dampness around their roots at all times, but should never be kept soggy or in saucers of water. You can normally expect to water 1-2 times per week depending on the season and overall humidity. We have also found that they like Cal-Mag 15-5-15 fertilizer more often then most other orchids. It can be applied as regularly as every 3rd-4th watering at half strength. Another alternate to use is 20-10-20 Urea Free.

Since Paphiopedilums require watering more frequently, the growing media is likely to decompose more quickly than with other orchids. Repotting can be done as often as every year and is best accomplished in the spring or fall when plants are actively growing and will re-establish easily. Many times Paphs only need a change of fresh media to make them happy again, not always a larger growing container. Never break or cut live roots on your Ladyslipper when repotting as they will not grow new roots easily if any are damaged. The best media is one that holds moisture but allows the water to drain freely and keeps air around the roots. We have found that our Cypress Blend works well in most conditions. Some growers prefer to add Tree Fern or Charcoal to this base mix for extra drainage.

 

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