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Articles About Orchids
   Whenever people talk about slippers they most likely think of pretty shoes - unless you are an orchid grower. The slippers I would like to tell you about are the fantastic Paphiopedilum "Lady Slipper" orchids. I am sure you are wondering what do shoes have to do with orchids and why would they have a nickname like Lady Slippers?
   The name is derived from the very interesting shape of the lip, which is made up of the lower petal formed together resulting into a pouch-like lip, that looks just like the toe of a slipper or small shoe! In Australia they are called 'Slippers' and in Germany they are called 'Frauenschuhe'. The top sepal stands high and full above the pouch, and the two side petals sometimes hang down past the bottom of the pouch. They come in a myriad of colors. The blooms can be white, maroon, yellow, red, pink, green and the new "vinicolor" which is almost black.
   Many have "hairs," "warts," stripes, and other markings which make the blooms very interesting. in appearance. The blooms have a waxy texture and
Slippers with orchid ...
will last six weeks or longer on the plant. Most plants will have one or two blooms measuring 2" to 5" across. There are some species and hybrids that do form a spike and have more blooms. The leaves grow like a fan and the blooms rise up from the new growth. There is no mistaking this orchid, one look at the pouch-like lip and you know it that it is a Paphiopedilum.
   When you think of a forest and the shaded greenery that grows at the base of the trees, then you can understand what these orchids like. Most of the species grow underneath trees and are shaded by the taller foliage. Paphiopedilum species and hybrids prefer filtered light. Do not place them where they will get direct sunlight.
   These pretty slipper type orchids are terrestrial, meaning they grow in or on the ground in rich damp humus. Therefore, the media around the roots should be kept moist and should not be allowed to dry completely out. Lady Slippers require a potting mix that will keep their roots moist. The new soilless (peat) mix is excellent for growing Lady Slippers. Fine bark or Sphagnum moss is also acceptable.
   Paphiopedilums are divided into two groups based on their growing temperatures.
The warm growers, which usually have marbled leaves prefers a temperature range of 65 F (18 C) at night, and up to 80 F (27 C) during the day.
  The other types are cool growers and prefer temperatures of 55 F (13 C) at night and 75 F (24 C) during the day. They require humidity in the range of 40 to 60 percent. The humidity can be raised around your plants with the use of a humidity tray or a humidifier. Grouping plants together also raises the humidity. Their cultural requirements are not that hard to obtain making these orchids quite easy to grow in your in your home.
   With todays hybrids, there are hundreds of different sizes, shapes, and beautiful colors that is available to the hobbyist. Here are just a few of my favorite Paphiopedilums that I personally grow: Paphiopedilum 'Maudie Prieta'. Paphiopedilum Vallarrow 'Torry' x P. W. N. Evans Corky' and Paphiopedilum niveum.
   Switch your Internet Explorer 5 or newer into full screen mode (F 11) and visit my Orchid Nigts site desined for advanced orchid and computer aficionados for more on wild species of these popular orchids.