The shape and appearance of the orchid is where the name Lady’s Slipper comes from. These orchids vary in color and some species have a hairy texture. Others are striped or spotted with various colors. They are found from China in the north down to New Guinea in sub-tropical and tropical areas.
The orchid stem is about 1 1/2 feet tall from ground level to top of orchid. The leaves of the orchids are six inches in length and about four inches in width. They usually have only three leaves to each stem. In late spring, each stem will grow only one or two orchids. The orchids will last for three to six weeks on the stem if taken care of, then the orchids will go to seed and die off.
Temperature and light
These orchids need a temperature that ranges from 55 to 85 degrees. Orchids require sunlight just like any other plant would need. They can be placed in a window as long as it is not in direct sunlight. Place a sunscreen over the window to give the orchids about 50 percent filtration of light. They also will do very well in the light of a greenhouse environment.
Lady’s Slippers like lots of water as long as the soil they are in has good drainage. The soil needs to have good drainage for the roots to dry off after each watering. In their natural environment, the orchids get drenched with regular monsoon rains. After the rain, the soil has time to dry out before the next rain begins. If the orchids are left in wet soil, the roots will get too soggy causing the roots to rot. In warm temperatures, perspiration, or transpiration , is an issue for orchids. A fan to help move the moisture off of the plants will help them stay dry.
Lady’s Slippers are good for potting if the soil is prepared properly. There are different types of potting soils to use for them to grow in. Bark, sphagnum moss, clay balls and coarse perlite are good choices for them. A mixture of bark and perlite will keep the roots moist with the ability to dry out fast. It’s a good idea also to change the soil in the pots at least once a year, but twice a year would be preferable.
They do not have a bulb like some plants do for storing extra food when they need it. Therefore, these orchids need to have a food supply given to them on a regular basis. A light fertilizer should be applied daily so the orchids have a continual food supply to draw nutrients from.
These are one of the more common orchids that are raised in the home garden and greenhouse. They are more difficult then the average flower to grow and require a lot more patience and care. But this would be a good choice for someone that is trying to expand on their gardening abilities.