Lady Slipper Cypripedium Orchids for the Woodland Garden

Lady Slipper Cypripedium Orchids for the Woodland Garden

By Published October 15, 2016 Updated June 15, 2022

Everyone seems to have a fascination for orchids, but few gardeners realize that many lady slipper orchids of the genus Cypripedium can be grown outdoors in many climates. Lady slipper is also a common name for the tropical orchid, Paphiopedilum, but these are strictly indoor orchids in temperate climates. Cypripedium lady slipper orchids, however, are very winter hardy with most growing well into Canada. In fact, Cypripedium lady slipper orchids are not very fond of high summer temperatures, although the ones we offer will tolerate our summers in central North Carolina.

Lady slipper orchids are native both to North America and China. Many of the modern lady slipper orchid hybrids combine the best traits of both the North American and Chinese lady slipper species into the same plant. Some of the most popular North American lady slipper orchids include Cypripedium kentuckiense, Cypripedium reginae, Cypripedium parviflorum, and Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens. Some of the most popular Asian lady slipper orchids include Cypripedium japonicum and Cypripedium macranthos.

Lady Slipper orchids are primarily grown from seed from a cross of two parents. As a general rule, it takes 8 years to grow a lady slipper orchid from seed to flowering, hence the high price these lady slipper orchids command. When you see lady slipper orchids for sale at the box stores, you may not know if these were stripped from the woods and have little chance of survival once planted. While many lady slipper orchids are difficult to transplant from the wild, they are quite easy to establish from nursery-propagated, container-grown plants.

When you're ready to try lady slipper orchids in your garden, be sure you have a bed of well-prepared, organically-rich soil that never gets extremely dry in summer. When you plant lady slipper orchids, remove the plants from the pots and spread the roots out horizontally. Do not bury lady slipper orchid roots like you would the roots of other plants. The roots should be covered with a thin layer of organic soil. We hope you’ll enjoy the large offering of cypripedium lady slipper orchids we offer.

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