Care of Slipper Orchids
by Bob Roy
Yes, Slipper Orchid Care Is Little Tricky But Read On and You Can Do It
Slipper orchid care for these orchids is a little more difficult than cattleyas but you can be successful. To me slipper orchids are one of the prettiest orchids around. They have this waxy sheen to them and the petals and lips are thicker than most orchids.
The one feature that sets slipper orchids apart from others is the lip. It forms a cup like pouch . Another part of the slipper orchid that sets them apart is the uppermost sepal which looks like an inverted heart. The lower sepals may be almost completely hidden from view by the pouch.
Slipper orchids bloom singly for the most part. They generally flower from autumn to spring although there are now hybrids that can bloom at anytime during the year. As beautiful as these orchids are I need to tell you about slipper orchid care.
These paph orchids have no water storing features on them. And they are generally terrestrial,soil growing, growing in the shade of the forest floor where they can always be moist. So watering needs to be available constantly. Paph orchid care requires that they be moist and never dry or soggy.
Paphs are unique, they are both warm growing and cool growing plants. Slipper orchid care will alter a little because of the two different types of paphs.The warm growing need temperatures from 60 - 65 degrees to 75 -85 degrees. Whereas the cool growing orchid paphs need temps from 50 - 55 all the way up to 75 - 80 degrees. These orchids can also do well with a constant temperatures and the cool growing ones can stand temps into the 40`s if needed for a short time.
Those paphs which have green leaves are usually the cool climate ones, whilst those with mottled leaves are warm growing ones.
As most orchids, slipper orchids require humidity between 40 - 60%, remember they usually grow on the rain forest floor. This may need to be augmented by using humidity trays. You can get a flat tray with sides. Fill the tray with stone pebbles and then add water about half way up. Place the plant on the tray making sure that the slipper orchid roots are not touching the water. If it does there is a good chance for root rot.
Because they grow in shade on the forest floor they should not be left in sunlight for very long. They do prefer shade, under a tree or near an east window. This is one of the nice elements of slipper orchid care.
Fertilizer is needed and I recommend 1/4 strength given on a weekly basis. The fertilizer should be high in nitrogen so one with30-10-10 ratio is best. Monthly rinse the slipper orchids with water alone to prevent the fertilizer from building up on the root and potentially burning them.
One final point on slipper orchid care, you should re-pot infrequently, that is, about every second year is fine. You should use a mixture which has an excellent moisture retention like fir bark with perlite and some sphagnum moss.
Following these rather straight forward rules will give you years of enjoyment with you slipper orchid.
See our beautful paphs,
now that you feel more comfortable with slipper orchid care, treat yourself.
Bob`s website is devoted to orchid plants. There is a great deal of information on the website, orchids-plus-more.com, as well as a large selection of stunning orchids.