Grow This: Paphiopedilum Orchid


Living room gardeners needn’t be limited to corner-store variety orchids. Paphiopedilum, aka ‘slipper’ orchids (not to be confused with the cold hardy North American Lady’s Slipper) are an exotic tropical that produce a stunning, solo blossom sometime between late fall and spring. Each bloom lasts as long as 2-3 months and many varieties have dramatic, mottled foliage providing interest in between blooms.

Grow It: In the wild, Paphiopedilums (Paphs for short) grow underneath trees where they received indirect, filtered light, making them the perfect match for those of us cursed with small windowed apartments. Look for yellowing leaves as a sign of too much light. Repot your paph every two years with light and airy orchid bark. Give your plant a quick soak, pot and all, in room-temperature water. The bark mix should never dry out but should not be constantly soggy either. Choose a hardy hybrid variety like ‘Maudiae’, or ‘Gold Dollar’.

Check out The Orchid Mall to find a local vendor or The American Orchid Society for more information.

See more photos of my favourite paph: Paphiopedilum Maudiae ‘Claire de Lune’ x Minnie May – How’s that for a race horse name!

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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3 thoughts on “Grow This: Paphiopedilum Orchid

  1. Beware. I am an orchid lover but have the hardest time getting them to rebloom. Currently I have 7 orchids with no blooms. Being a mother to these beautiful plants aren’t as easy as “they” say. My husband says I am banned from bringing anymore home.

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