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


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 60-65°F at night and 75-85°F during the day. The cool-growing, green-leaved types prefer temperatures of 50-60°F at night and 75-80°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 is a genus of around 80 species of mainly terrestrial orchids native to India, southern China, and Southeast Asia. Some species will also grow on the branches of trees (epiphytic) or rocky cliffs (lithophytic). The lower petal (lip or labellum) of the flower is a pouch resembling a slipper. Many species produce a single bloom per stem; however, others flower sequentially from the same stem, and some have many flowers at one time. The blooms will often last for one to several months. The foliage is green and strap-like or distinctively mottled in shades of light and dark green. The fleshy leaves serve as reservoirs of moisture. The thick, hairy roots are also able to 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.


Watch for mealy bugs and leaf spot diseases. Otherwise relatively trouble free.


Paphiodelum orchids are attractive plants for the home or greenhouse.