Better known as the Lady’s Slipper Orchid, the Paphiopedilum can seem to be a difficult orchid for the novice grower. However, the care is not complicated, and once the right location and requirements are provided, the Paphiopedilum’s blooms make it well worth the effort. The flowers will last generally about a month or more.
- Temperature: Paphiopedilums with mottled or striated leaves prefer a warmer environment. Nighttime temperature should be in the mid 60’s. Daytime in the 80’s. For the plain leaf type a cooler environment is best. Nighttime temp. can be in the 50’s, while daytime temp. should be in the high 70’s to low 80’s.
- Light: Paphiopedilums survive best in bright light. These plants are found in shaded forest areas, so should never be located in direct sunlight.
- Water: Paphiopedilums enjoy being evenly moist, and is one of the secrets to the success of having your plant begin to bloom. Do not use water that has been softened by addition of salts. Thoroughly flush with clear water once a month to prevent salt buildup.
- Humidity: Keep in a humid environment, misting leaves (not flowers) occasionally, particularly if atmosphere is dry.
- Fertilization: Use an orchid food such as Better-gro, a urea free food with nitrate nitrogen, feeding regularly, but with a more diluted formula than directions indicate. Cutting the food by 1/4 is a good rule.
- Growing Medium: Make sure plant has good drainage and is in a generally acceptable fine orchid bark medium. Paphiopedilum should be repotted every year, after flowering. They also prefer to be kept in a small pot.