Paphiopedilum lady slipper orchids are so popular
there are now more than 13,000 hybrids.
looks like it would gobble up an unsuspecting pollinator
but instead the pouch called a labellum is simply nature’s
method of getting a pollination program underway. The
pollinator flies into the pouch and most likely finds it
a little work to escape all the while either picking up
pollen or making a deposit before finding freedom. This
wonder of nature occurs in lady slipper orchids which is
a spectacle that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
slipper orchids are found in five genera. Cypripedium,
which are terrestrial have the ability to transform a
garden into one of rare beauty. They are cold hardy and
eleven species are native to the United States. One, the
showy lady slipper, is even the state flower of
Selenipedium, Phragmipedium, and Paphiopedilum are all
tropical in nature. It is the latter that I am touting
here as it is considered to be among the easiest orchids
to grow for the novice home gardener. They are so loved
that it is believed there are now 13,000 plus hybrids of
this genus alone.
the fact that the Deep South Orchid Society maintains
the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens orchid house and
it is mere steps from my office, it was the Savannah
Orchid Show that caused me to be forever mesmerized by
the lady slipper orchids. The one that first caught my
eye was Raisin Jack No. 5 x No. 7. I’ll be honest the
names, especially with the hybrids, are a little
mind-boggling and confusing, to say the least.
walk through our orchid house reveals orchids with
varying sizes of pseudobulbs which act as a water
storage reservoir. The Paphiopedilum lady slipper orchid
has no such device meaning they will need watering more
frequently. Those grown in bark will need water more
often than those grown in moss. Leaching of nutrients is
bound to occur so feeding regularly is recommended with
about a 1/4 strength water-soluble balanced fertilizer
is recommended weekly.
is no place like an orchid show to get the whole family
involved in one of America’s great past times. I
assure you your children and grandchildren will be
enthralled as they learn about lady slipper orchids and
the way pollinators fly into the pouch. A look at the
American Orchid Society calendar of events will help you
locate a show near you.
you are on the East Coast we invite you to the 31st
Annual Savannah Orchid Show, April 28-30 at the Coastal
Georgia Botanical Gardens. There are vendors from
several states that will not only be selling the best of
orchids but supplies as well. I was stunned to see so
many people carrying out bags, sacks and boxes or
orchids last year.
only will you have a chance to see the beauty of the
blooms up close, but you can learn the techniques of
growing them and even get assistance repotting your own
orchid. Though I have only been raving about lady
slipper orchids I assure you there will be more species
on display than you ever knew existed.