Paphiopedilum - Orchids - Cultivation techniques and main species of the Paphiopedilum Orchid



Cultivation techniques

Paphiopedilum barbigerum (note 1)

Pages 1 -2






: Angiosperms


: Monocotyledons











: see page 2


The genre Paphiopedilum, it includes about fifty species of orchids native to tropical Asia, Malaysia, Sumatra and neighboring islands.

The name Paphiopedilum derivesfrom the Greek Paphie the goddess of Paphos Aphrodite and pedilon which means "sandal", that is to say "Aphrodite's sandal" or "Venus's slippers" due to the shape of the flower.

They are plants TERRESTRIAL and very rarely EPIPHITEThey are developing orchids SIMPODIAL with a more or less underground creeping rhizomatous stem and are devoid of pseudobulbs.

The beauty of orchids Paphiopedilum it is due not only to the flowers but also to the leathery and persistent leaves that originate directly from the rhizome, often variously mottled which make it very decorative even without flowers.

The flower stem it produces a single flower, more rarely two or more, erect which rises from the center of the confluence of the leaves.

The flowers of the Paphiopedilumthey are large and very colored and the sepals are apparently two because the lower ones are welded together to form the voluminous labellum. The upper sepal is very large and is always the most colorful and showy. Two petals are arranged more or less horizontally and are often very long.

The orchids Paphiopedilum easily recognizable both for their very particular bag-shaped lip and for the large dorsal sepal. The labellum has a short column located in the center of the labellum.

The flowers last a long time, even two months, both on the plant and as a cut flower.

Hybrids can flower up to twice a year.

Cultivate i Paphiopedilum it is not particularly difficult however they require a lot of care and attention so if you are ready for this ... good job.


The Paphiopedilum generally they need variable temperatures depending on the species. Based on this statement iPaphiopedilum can be divided into two large groups:

1) A first group of orchids Paphiopedilum:

includes the species characterized by having uniform bright green leaves that produce a single flower.

These species have quite limited climatic needs, meaning they can be safely grown in cool environments. Practically in winter temperatures during the day between 10-15 ° C and at night between 7-10 ° C; in summer temperatures during the day between 15-18 ° C and at night between 8-15 ° C.

In this group we find: Paphiopedilum Leeanum, Paphiopedilum insigne, Paphiopedilum spicerianum, Paphiopedilum venustum, Paphiopedilum villosum, Paphiopedilum charlesworthii, etc.

2) A second group of orchids Paphiopedilum

includes the species with mottled leaves which in turn can be divided into two subgroups


2A) Orchids that produce only one flower

: they require slightly higher temperatures than the previous ones. Practically in winter temperatures during the day between 18-20 ° C and at night between 12-15 ° C; in summer temperatures during the day between 18-25 ° C and at night between 15-18 ° C.

Paphiopedilum concolor

In this group we find: Paphiopedilum concolor, Paphiopedilum bellatulum, Paphiopedilum Maudiae, Paphiopedilum argus, Paphiopedilum armeniacum, Paphiopedilum callosum, Paphiopedilum fairrieanum, Paphiopedilum gratrixianum, Paphiopedilum haynaldumense lows, Paphiopedilum haynaldianum, Paphiopedioii, etc.

2B) Orchids that produce several flowers

: require even higher temperatures than the previous ones. Practically both in summer and in winter they always require very high temperatures: during the day between 20-25 ° C and at night between 18-20 ° C.

Paphiopedilum glanduliferum

They belong to this group: Paphiopedilum stonei, Paphiopedilum rothschildianum, Paphiopedilum praestans, Paphiopedilum javanicum, Paphiopedilum glanduliferum, etc.

From what has been said it emerges that the different groups, despite having different climatic needs, all need a difference in temperature between day and night, which is fundamental for this orchid. In any case, keep in mind that they are all easily adaptable species. If you can't locate the exact species ofPaphiopedilum that you have bought or that have given you do not be alarmed. Just use common sense and orient yourself on average temperatures, being careful to try to have the thermal imbalance between day and night.

They require good ventilation without drafts.

(For more information on temperature and ventilation see the article: «Temperature and ventilation of orchids»).


The light needs of different orchid species Paphiopedilum they are quite variable among themselves even if we do not make big mistakes in considering that in general they are not particularly demanding plants in terms of light, indeed it is advisable that the light is moderate.

(For more information on light, see the article: "Orchid needs for light").


There Paphiopedilum as it does not have pseudobulbs, it requires regular watering throughout the year, making sure that the cultivation substratum is humid, not too wet, especially in winter when the ventilation is scarce.

Obviously, the higher the temperature, the more frequent the watering should be. Generally speaking, we can say that in summer, on averagePaphiopedilum they should be watered every two days, in the remaining periods, once a week. An empirical method of knowing when to water would be to weigh the pot. If it is light then you have to water it, vice versa if it is heavy.

It is advisable that watering is always carried out in the early hours of the day because if the leaves are wet, in this way they have time to dry before the night. All the more reason this applies to nebulizations. Stagnant water in the leaves can lead to dangerous rot.

Maintaining a humid environment around the plant is crucial. For this reason it is advisable to place the pot containing the plant on a saucer (or other container) in which you will have placed some expanded clay or gravel in which you will always keep a little water. In this way the orchid roots will not come into contact with the water which evaporating will guarantee a humid environment around it.

The optimum humidity for orchids Paphiopedilum it is not particularly high as it is around 70%. Obviously all this is in proportion to the temperature: high temperatures will require greater humidity but in this case it is essential to guarantee the plant good ventilation to avoid dangerous water stagnation that could cause the onset of dangerous diseases.

It is good practice, for the health of all our plants, to equip the radiators with a humidifier to prevent the air in the room from becoming too dry.

We also remember that a lack of water causes a concentration in the substrate of the nutritional elements that you have gradually administered, becoming extremely harmful for the plant.

(For more information on watering see the article: «Watering and humidity of orchids»).


The orchids Paphiopedilum they are not particularly demanding in terms of fertilizers as terrestrial plants derive their nourishment from the cultivation soil unlike epiphytic orchids which must take care of developing an excellent root system that must absorb nourishment from the air and from external agents to the support substrate .

Therefore if you have used a good soil, as indicated in the paragraphRepotting the fertilizations will be done starting from spring, from March to June using a balanced formula 30:10:10 (30 parts of nitrogen, 10 parts of phosphorus and 10 parts of potassium) which will stimulate the growth of the plant; while in autumn, from September and mid-November a balanced formula 20:20:20 or even 18:18:18.

For the other periods, suspend the fertilizations.

The doses must be very low, for the reasons mentioned above, therefore it is advisable to use 0.3 gr per liter of water, no more.

(For more information on fertilization you can consult the article: "Fertilization of orchids").

Paphiopedilum armeniacum


The Paphiopedilum, being terrestrial orchids, it requires a lot of care in choosing the cultivation substrate as it is from it that they will get their nourishment. A typical substrate it can be formed by a bark muscle (40%), very filamentous sphagnum peat that does not retain too much water (40%), agri-perlite or pumice (10%) and coarse sand (10%) which will guarantee a substrate that will breathe the roots and it will retain the right moisture.

Before repotting, wash the bark well, leaving it to soak for a few days in order to eliminate the dust and remove the impurities that end up on the bottom of the container. In this way it also ensures its perfect hydration.

As for the size of the pot it is always advisable not to overdo it. In particular the Paphiopedilum they don't like big pots. No more than 2-3 cm of free space between the plant and the pot is sufficient. As soon as repotted, also arrange some stakes to keep it still until the roots have settled.

They must be repotted when the roots have occupied all the space available to them or when the substrate has become too old or when problems with the roots are highlighted. As a general rule, they should be repotted every two years either in spring between March and June or in autumn between September and November.

(For more information on repotting you can consult the article: «Type of substrate and repotting of orchids»).


The Paphiopedilum they have different flowering periods depending on the species but in general we can say that their blooms last a very long time.The photo below shows a bud.


As for the diseases of the Paphiopedilum refers to what is written in the chapter «Diseases and treatments of orchids», even if they are orchids that are rarely attacked by parasites (both insects and fungi).


The Paphiopedilum argus (photo below) owes its name to the fact that its intense red punctuation has ricor, horrid monster with one hundred eyes from Greek mythology called by the Greeks Panoptes "Who sees everything".

Paphiopedilum argus


See: «Orchids - The language of flowers and plants».

PAGES 1 -2

1. GNU Free Documentation License

Video: ORCHID CARE, TOLUMNIA CARE COLLAB, Apr 2021, #carecollab

Previous Article

Sowing calendar for 8.01 - gardeners and gardeners

Next Article

Tree hydrangea in your garden