Paphiopedilum is a genus of orchids of more than 80 species from tropical Asia.
Like Cypripedium, they are known as lady’s slippers because of the pouch-shaped lip.
They are quite easy to grow but propagation by seed is very difficult.
Paphiopedilum are sympodial orchids without pseudobulb. Most are terrestrial, some are epiphytic or lythophytic. The roots are thick and fleshy, each plant sends a rhizome out from which a new plant grows.
The leaves can be short and rounded or long and narrow. They are often spotted and grow in fan shape.
Each stem blooms only once and then dies while a new stem appears. The flowers are solitary or in a raceme.
The lateral sepals are fused and usually small and more or less hidden behind the pouch-shaped lip. The dorsal sepal is large and showy. The petals can be round and resemble the dorsal sepal or elongated and twisted, bent or wavy; they are usually showy. The lip is pouch-shaped and usually strikingly colored. The flower has a column with 2 fertile stamens and a striking shielded staminode.
Some species have warts or hairs on the petals.
Lady’s slipper, slipper orchid
Cordula, Menephora, Stimegas
Paphiopedilum: from the Greek paphia (attribute of Aphrodite) and pédilon (sandal)
From southern India to New Guinea and the Philippines
Forest floor, trees, rocks
Well draining but water retaining substrate: fine bark with 1/5 perlite, clay pellets or sphagnum
Diffused light, partial shade
Day: 18-25 °C
Night: 12-15 °C
Species with mottled leaves generally need more warmth than those with plain leaves.
Paphiopedilum does not have a pseudobulb to store water and must be watered regularly. Never let the roots completely dry out.
4 x diluted orchid fertilizer when watering during the growing season but always skip a watering in winter.
By division. Be aware that if you divide mature plants, they will take 2-4 years before blooming again.