Growing Paphiopedilum Orchids

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Growing Paphiopedilum Orchids

Paphiopedilum - slipper orchids

Intermediate Growing Types
12 - 28 C (53 - 82F) 

Paphiopedilum philippinense X Paphiopedilum chamberlainianum Paphiopedilums are known as slipper orchids due to their modified lip which is pouch shaped and does look like a slipper. Some of these species and hybrids have beautifully marbled foliage which is usually evergreen and sets off the blooms a treat, some are so pretty that they are worthy plants just for the foliage and the blooms are an added bonus. 

Slipper orchids come in 2 varieties, those which tolerate intermediate conditions and those which need warm conditions, all have the same requirements other than temperature. The marbled leaved varieties usually will tolerate intermediate conditions and the plain leaved varieties need warmer conditions.

Left: This Paphiopedilum is a hybrid which includes P. philippinense in it's parentage, this has given it twisting petals.

They flowers vary in size from tiny 2 inch blooms on very short stems to monster blooms over 10 inches high from tip to tip! on tall thick stems - ideal for cutting. These, like Phalaenopsis make excellent house plants and will reward you year after year with an ever increasing number of beautiful blooms. This type of orchid can tolerate high temperatures and high humidity and so should be misted at least once a day during the summer but NOT allowing water to rest in the centre of the plant overnight or rot may occur with lighting speed! - and we are talking OVERNIGHT in some cases if it's cold too.

Light requirements

Paphiopedilums like good light but will also tolerate light shade during the growing season, they should not be kept in full sun or they will scorch. Keep them in a well lit position during the winter months.

Watering requirements

Slipper orchids like to be kept evenly moist at all times but will not tolerate being waterlogged at any time. Water every 7 to 10 days during the summer, more if it's warm and the plants look like they may be drying out. It is always a good idea to water the plants in the morning as this will allow any that is spilt on to the leaves or crown to evaporate during the heat of the day

Paphiopedilum St. Swithin

Feeding requirements

Paphiopedilums do not have a high requirement for food and should be fed once every 4 - 6 weeks during the winter months and once every two weeks during the summer. A general mixture is required and this should be diluted to 1/8th of what the pack recommends.

Re-potting schedule

Repotting and dividing should be undertaken in the spring annually using an open bark mix to which has been added some extra humus material such as sphagnum moss trimmings or rough peat. This will ensure a swift drainage whilst the moss or peat will retain the correct amount of water for the plant.


Most Paphiopedilums flower in either the winter or in spring, they can flower as single blooms on elegant stems or more usually several to a stem which open within a few days of each other. There are some Paphiopedilums which are known as sequential flowering, this type of flowering pattern means that one flower opens followed a few weeks later with another bloom, this can continue for months on end.

Right: This orchid is a sequential flowering type and the second flower (on the right) is opening almost two weeks after the first, the small buds can be seen sitting between the two larger flowers.

Sequential flowering slipper orchids

Here's some useful equipment you may need with summer on the horizon
Thermometers | Thermostats | Humidity Gauges

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