Paphiopedilums are a great choice for the beginning grower, and can be grown either indoors or outside. They are easy to care for, and come in a variety of sizes and colors. There are just as many Paphiopedilum color variations as there are species: green, yellow, red, white, maroon, and pink to almost black. The color of the blooms can be spotted, solid, striped or blended. The flowers have a waxy texture, and the blooms last up to six weeks and sometimes a little longer.
Paphiopedilum is a genus of orchid that is widely distributed throughout Southeast Asia, from Indonesia to southern China. The name Paphiopedilum was derived from the Greek “Pathos”, which is a city on the island of Cyprus, and “pedilon” which means slipper. There is sometimes a misconception regarding this genus of orchid due to the large pouch that they possess. The inexperienced grower will sometimes mistake it for a carnivorous plant. This pouch somewhat resembles a slipper, thus, this genus of orchid is referred to as “Lady Slipper, or “Slipper Orchids.”
Paphiopedilums are sympodial growers, meaning that they grow laterally, causing the terminal bud to die. After this occurs, the growth of the orchid continues by developing new shoots from, or next to the ones of previous years. These orchids do not have pseudobulbs, as other varieties of sympodial orchids do. Instead, they grow robust shoots, with each shoot containing several leaves. They can be short and rounded or long and narrow, and normally have a mottled pattern to them.
These particular orchids originate from the jungles and rainforests of the Far East: China, Indonesia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Phillipines. They require intermediate to warm climates. They are terrestrial orchids, meaning that they grow in the soil, unlike the epiphytic species like Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium or Vanda. They do not like direct sunlight, but instead, require bright shade. They should be kept moist, but not overly saturated. Watering every 3-5 days is sufficient. After the orchids flower, all watering should be ceased for a period of four weeks. During the spring and summer months, ample air circulation and sufficient humidity are of the utmost importance. Since this type of orchid is relatively easy to care for, it is a great choice for those wishing to keep an orchid as a houseplant.
Some of the interesting, rare and not-so-rare Paphiopedilum orchids for sale
There are various species of Paphiopedilum originating from different geographical locations, and each having their own individual look. Following is a list of just a few of them;