Paphiopedilum (group)
Common Name: Venus' slipper
Type: Orchid
Family: Orchidaceae
Zone: 9 to 12
Height: 0.25 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Yellow, white, pink, orange, brown, green, purple; many with spots, stripes and veins
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful

Culture

Paphiopedilum orchids are best grown in pots in a bark-based medium with excellent drainage. They require a moist medium that is never dry and never soggy. Humidity should be 50%. In the home an east or west window is best, or near a shaded south window. The mottled-leaved types are warm-growing, preferring to be kept at 60 to 65 degrees F at night and 75 to 85 degrees F during the day. The cool-growing, green-leaved types prefer temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees F at night and 75 to 80 degrees F during the day. Air movement is important. Feed the plants weekly with a balanced fertilizer at quarter to half strength following a thorough watering with tepid water. It is best to repot the plants yearly in the spring after flowers have faded. Paphiopedilum orchids like to be “tight” in their pots; do not overpot. An average plant should have a four to six inch pot.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Paphiopedilum orchids have very distinctive flowers. The lower petal (lip) is a pouch resembling a slipper; thus the common name. Many species produce a single bloom per stem; however, others flower sequentially from the same stem, and some have many flowers at one time. Their blooms will often last for one to several months. They are primarily terrestrial, growing in leaf litter on the tropical rainforest floor; however, some grow on rocky cliffs (lithophytic) and occasionally in trees (epiphytic). Their attractive foliage is green and strap-like or distinctively mottled in shades of light and dark green. The fleshy leaves serve as reservoirs of moisture. They have thick, hairy roots, which also store moisture.

Genus name comes from the Greek words paphia an epithet of Aphrodite (Venus) whose chief seat of worship was at Paphos on the island of Cyprus and pedilon meaning sandal.

Problems

Relatively trouble free.

Garden Uses

Paphiodelum orchids are easy to grow and make attractive plants in the home.