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Lady's Slipper Orchids

Indianapolis, IN

Has anyone tried and succeeded in growing Lady's Slipper Orchids? For the last 2 springs I have tried growing Cypripedium Reginae. Last year the potted plants arrived in May after they had already bloomed but looked healthy. Before I could even get them into the ground they started developing dark brown blotches on the leaves and stems. Eventually they dark brown patches enveloped the entire plant and the plants were dead by the middle of June. I did try spraying with a fungicide but it obviously had no effect. This spring plants were shipped earlier and arrived this week. They arrived looking very healthy, only 3-4 inches tall and have not bloomed yet. As I planted them today I noticed that they were beginning to develope dark brown patches too. Does anyone know what is happening and how it can be stopped?

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I can't give much useful advise other than to confirm they are famously fussy.
I tried and failed with a couple before having success with cypriedium parviflorum.
I had heard it was easier to grow.
I think they need perfect drainage in moist humous rich soil.
I'd attach a picture, but my hard drive is temporarily out of commission.
I think Reginae is a little fussier than parviflorum, but not as temperamental as some others.
I'd be interested in tips other folks have to help improve my success rate.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

I'm notoriously bad at giving plants exactly what they need. So if mine is still alive, then it's due solely to Mother Nature.

My Reginae is just poking up her little head this year for the second time. So far, so good. I have heavy clay and the hole I put her in is a little bit of that and mostly wood and forest debris. I water from June through September, our dry months.

I have the plant in a shady spot under trees. As you know, we get lots of rain in the wet months. My winter temperatures are colder than in Seattle proper, probably about 15-20 for a few days in the winter on average (with little or no snow cover). Summer tops out at about 90 for only a few days in August.

My understanding is that they need consistent moisture, but they can't sit in water. They do well in Wisconsin and Minnesota because of the porous soil and all the underground springs running through it.

I don't know what would account for an immediate issues you're having. You might test the water. Are there minerals in it they don't like? Your temps are relatively cool now, right?

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Hmmmm. This says that it's native to Virgina and that water is the key.

I would tend to agree with plantfreak. You don't want standing water, but running fresh water. And they are a forest floor plant, so not too much nitrogen in the soil or as fertilizer.

One person mentions that they can tolerant dryness later in the year as long as they get that spring soak . . .

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

guess those are off my list

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

GE, if I can grow a ladyslipper, I'm sure you can! I've seen your garden!
Here's one of mine to whet your appetite.
This one is called Rascal.

This message was edited Apr 16, 2011 9:09 AM

Thumbnail by Weerobin
Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I'm not sure, since I lost the tag, but I think this is Gisela.
This is from last May.
It's blooming again TODAY, but it's rainy, windy and COLD (43 degrees!),
so I'm not out there taking a picture of it. It was 90 degrees last weekend!
Which is why it's so much fun gardening in the midwest!

This message was edited Apr 16, 2011 9:12 AM

Thumbnail by Weerobin
Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

LUST! LUST! LUST! Where do I find them?

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Our weather did the same thing in Houston, Weerobin! Except it only got to 49 last night. I think my eggplants are mad at me...But actually, they look fine. Anyway, those ladyslipper orchids are neato!

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Bariollo, I was down in Houston just a couple weeks ago for the final four.
I was shocked you guys were in the 30's the Tues morning we left.
Of course I didn't bring a jacket, because we were going to warm Houston!

I had said in my previous post that a ladyslipper is blooming today.
I got a picture of it yesterday afternoon. Here it is.
I guess this is Gisela again. Looks as good as last year!

GE, I'm sure I got them on line, but I'm not sure where.
I bought one from Hillside Nursery for sure - nice selection but SO expensive.
I've got others elsewhere for less - maybe Arrowhead Alpines? Not sure.

Thumbnail by Weerobin
Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

GE, I just looked on-line at a couple nurseries trying to figure out where I got mine cheaper than Hillside.
Apparently it wasn't Arrowhead Alpines ... they list for $69 per plant! I guarantee you I didn't spend that price!
I found a place called Spangle Creek Lab that sells cypripedium seedlings for ~$6 each.
But they're just seedlings, so I presume both risk of some plant loss as well as the old issue of delayed gratification.
But they had a nice selection, if you're interested in giving them a try. I have no experience with them.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I went to Spangle labs.Their seedlings dont bloom for 4 years. I just dont have that kind of patience,

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

The price was right, though...

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the link, Doug.
Looks like a great resource. Have you used them before?

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Yes its saved on my faves.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Scott I have never ordered via online from them but I have been to the nursery a few times in the past two years. They have a very good selection of Eastern US native plants at reasonable prices. I bought a Maple Leaf Viburnum from them not quite two years ago, probably 1-2 ft tall at the most. It's now about 5 ft or better and finally getting blooms on it. They rank quite good in the Watchdog I believe.


Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

So, in the Texas Gardening forum, I asked about some other plant I remember from childhood at my grandma's in New Orleans, called lady slippers. If anyone knows what these would have been, let me know!! Janet

Morehead, KY

I planted two of these last fall for the first time and i was not sure how they would do. Had two beautiful blooms this spring. This one is Cypripedium kentuckiense. I actually found mine on Ebay.

Thumbnail by veryblessed
Morehead, KY

Another picture of Cypripedium kentuckiense

Thumbnail by veryblessed
Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)


Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Very nice.
If they are true to their name kentuckiensis,
they should feel right at home in your yard!

I have 3-4 lady slippers, one of which is a kentuckiensis hybrid.
The oldest plant is just about 4 years old.
They have survived, and several have bloomed, as I've posted above.
But I can't say the plants have looked super robust.
So I was pleased to see last weekend, one of them finally put up a second stem.
Maybe they're finally getting established.
Jury is still out whether they'll actually thrive here.

Morehead, KY

Thanks! Yes kentuckiensis is supposed to be one of the easiest to grow and it just happens to be native here. I also have a showy white lady slipper (planted last fall as well) but it has yet to bloom, the plant is up and looks great but no indication that it is going to bloom. I am going to order a couple of other varities for fall, so we will see how it all goes.

Albany, NY(Zone 5a)

I love these!!! Unfortunately so out of my price range! But the seedlings...yes that may be just the thing! I guess i could survive the wait better than i could survive entirely without.

Christiana, TN(Zone 6b)

Wee and VB, Wondering if you could tell how you planted yours. Any special soil? Any details would be appreciated.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Mine were casualties of this last winter . . . no Cypripedium here any more . . . will have to try again with lighter soil.

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