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Caring for Paphiopedilum Orchids

Caring for Paphiopedilum Orchids

The Paphiopedilum or Lady's Slipper is by far one of the most unique and intriguing of all orchids. Its exotic, wax-like, richly colored blooms last for weeks and sometimes months. Lady's Slippers have no pseudobulbsbut feature attractive, glossy leaves. After leaves are fully formed, the flower stem rises from the centre of the new growth to form one of the most unusual flowers in the world. Best of all, they are ideal for home growing.

Caring for your Paphiopedilum Orchid

Temperature: Paphiopedilum are divided into two temperature groups; warm and cool growers. The attractive mottled-leaf types come from the temperate zones and do best with a night temperature not below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (preferably 65 degrees Fahrenheit) and a day temperature of 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. The solid green-leafed types come from the higher, cooler temperature altitudes. They require a night temperature of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit and a day temperature of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water: Paphiopedilum must be kept constantly moist or damp, but not soggy. Check frequently below the surface to determine the need for water. Normal watering intervals are between seven and ten days.

Light: Place in any bright window but protect from mid-day sun. Leaves should be a medium-green colour. If they are too pale or yellowish, the plant could be getting too much light (Approximately the same light intensity as African Violets is preferred).

Feeding: Good results may be obtained by using a high nitrogen fertilizer (25-9-9) all year round. Feed once a month at one-third of a teaspoon or less to a gallon of water. Paphiopedilum are sensitive to fertiliser burn.

Repot: Paphiopedilum should be repotted every two years with a fresh, well draining potting medium, such as fine-grade orchid bark or Orchid Mix. It is important that the base of the growth be potted no deeper than half an inch in the medium.