The Paphiopedilum (lady slipper orchid) are closely related to the hardy, North American lady slippers, and get their name from “Paphos; a city in Cyprus associated with Venus” and “pedilon; slipper or sandal.”
Paphiopedilum orchids are mostly terrestrial, dwarf to moderate sized plants that have flat leaves growing from a fanlike base. After the new leaves form, the flower stem rises up from between the leaves. The long lasting, two to five inch flowers usually grow on individual stems six to twenty inches tall. The flowers are usually shades or sometimes striking combinations of green, white, maroon, brown, or yellow.
The care of Paphiopedilum orchids depends roughly on their leaves. Those with plain leaves originally came from higher, cooler altitudes and prefer intermediate temperatures. Those with mottled leaves came from lower, warmer areas and prefer warm temperatures with night temperatures over 60°F.
Paphiopedilums like filtered light, good air circulation, and excellent drainage. Keep them evenly moist while they are growing and give them less water while they are resting. Keep the water off the leaves to avoid rot. They grow well in a window or under lights as long as the temperature is not above 85°F.
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