Paphiopedilum Orchids

Paphiopedilum Orchid  'Desert green'
Paphiopedilum Orchid ‘Desert green’

A popular cooler climate Paphiopedilum Orchids ( paphs ) are native to China, India and South East Asia. A collectors favourite and often referred to as ‘slipper orchids’.

Fairly easy to grow and popular with hybridisers popular species include P. maudiae, P. sanderianum, P. insigne and P. lowii

Best grown in a glasshouse with 75% shade cloth and never overwatered, especially during winter.

A medium pine bark medium seems suitable for most species, and although this a little more costly than normal mediums it is well worth the investment, it drains freely and Paphiopedilum Orchids love it.

These are a winter flowering orchid and are best divided after flowering in late spring while they are in active growth.

One of the really outstanding species is Paphiopedilum micranthum


Paphiopedilum crossianum
Paphiopedilum crossianum

Although the species and the cultivars do differ greatly in flower color and form the care is similar. So the species Paphiopedilum crossianum with its yellowish flowers is treated the same.

  • Light – Good filtered light a 75% shade cloth will do nicely.
  • Temperature – A range of 55 – 70 degrees F from winter to summer. Most Paphiopedilum species do not like heat.
  • Humidity – 50 to 70 percent humidity is ideal for most species.
  • Fertilization – Use a formulated orchid fertilizer one a month, we like to use 1/4 strength at the start and then adjust to needs.
  • Watering –
  • Water often enough to let the potting mix or sub strata dry completely between watering. Every 2 weeks is a guide depending on temperature.

Growing Paphiopedilum Orchids Indoors

Paphiopedilum venustum 'Astrid'
Paphiopedilum venustum ‘Astrid’

You may look at Paphiopedilum venustum ‘Astrid’ pictured right, and decide you just need to buy one for your lounge room or patio, the question is, Can you grow them inside ?

Yes you can, a position on a windowsill where they get good filtered light will do nicely. These orchids have been in cultivation in the UK since the early 1800s. Mainly grown in glass houses in those days.

  • Ensure that the foliage does not get to hot or it will burn.
  • Watch the moisture inside as they tend to dry out a little.
  • Good air circulation is also important (but not a fan directly on the plant please )

So although the ‘ideal conditions’ sound a little difficult, this should not stop you from growing these colorful and very pretty orchids at home.

Other Info

When repotting use a pot suitable for the root size, not to much extra space.

Flowers are long lasting and can look great for 3 – 4 weeks, longer in good conditions. Make sure you use water that is free from chlorine, tap water can be left to sit for a day or two which will help the chlorine dissipate.

We Are Asked

  • How Fast do they Grow?
    Paphiopedilum are relatively slow growing and can take 3 years to flower. Generally they will flowers regularly after that as long as they are given appropriate care. 
  • How often do they flower
    Flowering frequency depends on many factors, including species as well as care and growing conditions. Flowers are long lasting up to 2 months.
  • Are the carnivorous?
    Although they look like a carnivorous plant they are not.
  • Why is my Paphiopedilum not flowering “?
    Often due to lack of light, although they grow in low light, to little light will inhibit flowering. Cold or very hot temperatures can also inhibit flowering.