Caring for, watering and fertilizing the lady’s slipper orchid

Lady’s slipper orchids come in a wide variety of colors. In addition to the popular indoor orchid, there are also species that feel at home in the garden. All species of the orchid genus have the characteristic flower shape that is reminiscent of women’s shoes, hence the English name «Ladyslipper». Depending on the species, the size and color of the flowers vary, and thanks to complex crossings, new hybrid varieties are created that delight with special flowers. Lady’s slipper orchids are known for their longevity, but caring for lady’s slippers requires a certain amount of finesse. The main flowering time for Paphiopedilum, as the lady’s slipper is called botanically, is spring or autumn. During the 1 to 2 month flowering period, you should make sure that the lady’s slipper is not exposed to temperature fluctuations or draughts.

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Interesting facts about lady’s slipper orchids

Botanical name: Paphiopedilum
Other names: lady’s slipper orchid, lady’s slipper, Venus’ slipper
Use: houseplant, potted plant
Origin: Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Philippines
Flower colors: red, orange, pink, green, yellow or multicolored
Flowering period: October to March, varies by species and Age of the plant
Special features: Lady’s slipper orchids have a rhizome from which new shoots are constantly formed. There are species with mottled foliage, with narrow leaves or with broad leaves and multi-flowered species. The downward-pointing petal is in the shape of a shoe, hence the name women’s shoe.

In which location does the lady’s slipper orchid feel most comfortable?

The unmistakable orchid species prefers a partially shaded place on the windowsill. It may be south facing in winter, however, with intense radiation from April, a location facing east or west is better to avoid unsightly burns. Species with green leaves prefer temperatures of 20 to 22 °C during the day and 15 to 18 °C at night. Species with mottled foliage should be a little warmer, 18 to 20 °C at night and 20 to 25 °C during the day are ideal.

Our gardening tip: Humidity of 50 to 70% is ideal for healthy growth. As with all orchid species, common potting soil is not suitable, but special orchid substrate. A pH value of 5 to 6.5 is ideal for lady’s slipper orchids.

How do I properly care for my lady’s slipper orchids?

After flowering, the completely dry flower stalk of the lady’s slipper orchid can be cut off. Unlike butterfly orchids, the lady’s slipper orchid does not flower again on the same stem. Withered leaves are only removed when they have dried up. Lady’s slipper orchids are lover’s plants and urgently need a period of rest after flowering, because if there is no rest, there may be no new flowers. During the vegetation break, it is important that less is poured and that there is no fertilization. Furthermore, the species with mottled leaves should experience a drop in temperature at night to 12 to 14 °C during the vegetation break.

How do I water my lady’s slipper orchids correctly?

Depending on the temperature and insolation, weekly watering for lady’s slipper orchids can be seen as a guideline. It is important that the rarities never dry out, but also that they do not stand in water. Therefore, pour off excess water 5 minutes after watering the Paphiopedilum. Low -lime water at room temperature is ideal for watering the lady’s slipper. After flowering, the growth of the Paphiopedilum is restricted, the need for water is lower and the peculiarity is watered little for 6 to 8 weeks. Make sure that the root ball does not dry out, but reduce the watering of the lady’s slipper.

Our gardening tip: only water the lady’s slipper when the top 1 to 2 cm of the orchid soil has dried and the pot feels light. Make sure you only wet the substrate with water. It should never be poured on the leaf or flower of lady’s slipper orchids.

How do I properly fertilize my lady’s slipper orchids?

Lady’s slipper orchids have a moderate need for fertilizer. The right nutrients are contained in orchid fertilizer. Add the liquid fertilizer to the irrigation water every third watering. Fertilizer sticks are a convenient solution, they supply the exotic plants for 3 months and release the necessary nutrients as needed.

Our gardening tip: Immediately after flowering, the lady’s slipper is only watered sparingly for 6 to 8 weeks and is not fertilized during this time.

How do I repot my lady’s slipper orchids?

As soon as the leaves of the orchid have taken up the entire pot surface, the lady’s slipper is repotted. Repotting is done every two to three years after flowering. The roots of the lady’s slipper are sensitive, so do not remove or even cut off any roots when repotting. It is important that the leaves are not too deep in the pot after repotting. The basic rule is that the base is at the same level as the orchid substrate, this prevents rot. Only use special orchid soil for repotting. The structure is ideal for repotting. Lady’s slipper orchids do not tolerate potting soil because it is too firm and stores too much moisture.

What species of lady’s slipper orchid are there?

In addition to the conventional species, there is the so-called Multiflower or Paphiopedilum Pinocchio. When a flower has withered, new flowers keep appearing on this special feature and it therefore has a much longer flowering period. Some of the plants are also called revolver bloomers, since one bloom follows the other in a very short time.

What pests and diseases can the lady’s slipper orchid get?

Given the right conditions and optimal care, lady’s slipper orchids are easy-care plants. The following problems can still occur:

Leaf rot in the leaf compartments and leaf spots on lady’s slipper orchids

This is often the result when water is poured in from above and remains in the leaf compartments. This can be remedied by consistently pouring directly onto the substrate. Spraying the rarity is only recommended on very warm days and with a small dosage.

Scale and Mealybugs

Scale and mealybugs appear on lady’s slipper orchids, especially in phases with less light. Try to remove the lice with tweezers and strengthen the plants with plant strengthener. This strengthens the defenses of the lady’s slipper orchids in a natural way. There are also so-called beneficial insects, which naturally prevent the pests from multiplying, especially in the case of mealybugs.

FAQ — Frequently Asked Questions about Lady’s Slipper Orchids

Can lady slipper orchids be outdoors in summer?

From June to August, green-leaved species can be in a bright, sheltered spot outdoors. It is important that the houseplant is gradually accustomed to outdoor conditions and that there is no direct sunlight.

Are Lady’s Slipper Orchids Poisonous?

The foliage and stems in particular are slightly poisonous. It is therefore advisable to wear gloves when repotting and dividing and to protect the orchid from children and pets.

Can lady’s slipper orchids be divided?

Large specimens can be divided after flowering. It is important that the lady’s slipper has at least ten or more leaf compartments. After the potting, the plant is carefully pulled apart. Each section requires a new shoot and two leaf compartments.

What can be the reason for brown leaves on lady’s slipper orchids?

Too much water is usually the reason for brown leaves on Paphiopedilum. Check the conditions and avoid waterlogging. Sagging leaves are also a sign of too much water. The roots and often the entire plant are damaged beyond repair.

What can be the reason that the flower base does not develop further?

Waterlogging is a possible cause when the flower head gets stuck in lady’s slipper orchids.

How often does the lady’s slipper flower?

Paphiopedilum usually bloom once a year.

Can lady slipper orchids be outdoors?

There are special outdoor orchids that can be in the garden all year round. The houseplant lady’s slipper can be in a sheltered place in summer. Gradual acclimatization to outdoor conditions and sufficient shade are important to avoid leaf burns.

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