Paphiopedilums are often called Lady Slippers because their unique lip is shaped like a pouch. The interesting flowers are available in wide range of colors, shapes and sizes. Due to their waxy textured flowers, they often appear more artificial than real. The blooms can last up to for 4-8 weeks. Paphiopedilums are a great orchid for the home environment or patio. They are among the easiest and most rewarding orchids to grow.
Lighting- Paphiopedilums are usually found growing in shady conditions in the wild. This characteristic makes them low light requiring and makes it ideal as a house plant. Only moderate lighting is required for healthy growth and flower production. Paphiopedilums prefer either an east or a shaded south-facing window. Never give your plants direct afternoon sun, this will severely burn the foliage.
Temperature- Paphs generally like the same temperatures that we do in the home; ideally, 60-65º F at night and 75-85º F during the day. Keep in mind that temperatures close to the window on a windowsill will be colder or hotter than your general house temperature. Paphs can be grown outside in mild climates. The plants can stand temperatures from 90° to the high 40s. Protect plants during cold temperatures by avoiding moisture on leaves or in the crowns and in summer from burning from the sun.
Watering- Paphiopedilums do not like to dry out in between watering. Depending upon the temperature, Paphiopedilums should be watered about once or twice a week. During the summer, the plants may need to be watered more. Paphiopedilums prefer to be kept on the moist side but not soggy. We suggest watering the plants early in the day, so that the foliage will be dry by nightfall.
Humidity- Paphiopedilums require about 50 to 60% humidity. Often a kitchen or bathroom will provide sufficient humidity. Humidity Trays or daily misting may be needed for other locations in the house. Give the plant ample air circulation.
Fertilizer- Any balanced orchid fertilizer (look at the numbers on the container, 20-20-20 or 15-15-15 etc.) can be used to fertilize your orchid. Weakly (¼ strength), weekly works well. Once a month use clear water to flush any accumulated salts from the potting mix.
Potting- Paphiopedilums should be grown in Fine Bark or sphagnum moss. Paphiopedilums must be repotted once a year. We recommend repotting after the plant has finished blooming. They prefer to be potted in as small a pot as possible (Like to be tight in the pot).