It was a real thrill last week to visit a population of Cypripedium kentuckiense (Kentucky Ladyslipper Orchid) in Texas with native plant guru, Adam Black. Adam has made numerous trips to this and other nearby sites, carefully pollinating the orchids to ensure seed set and enhance reproduction. While we’ve offered this species as seed-grown plants (8 years from seed to flower) for years, this was my first chance to actually study them in the wild. Cypripedium kentuckiense is one of the easiest ladyslipper orchids to cultivate, thriving in a wide variety of woodland conditions. Here, they were growing just above a seasonally flooded stream in very sandy soils.
Cypripedium, Lady Slipper Orchids, is a genus of woodland garden plants that are among the most desired of all native hardy orchids for sale, despite their often finicky requirements.
Plant Delights Nursery is excited about our bare root shipment of responsibly grown, flowering size, cypripedium orchids we received yesterday. These plants are nursery propagated and not collected from the wild.
Fall is the best time for planting your hardy lady slipper orchid. Beds should be well-prepared and amended with compost unless you naturally have rich, organic soil. Dig a shallow but wide crater, spread the roots out flat (with eyes pointed upward), cover them with 1″ of soil, and water in well.
You should avoid planting your lady slipper orchid near aggressive groundcovers (such as ivy, vinca or Japanese pachysandra) or near the base of trees or large shrubs due to root competition. Check out this article on Cypripediums for more in depth information.
Other varieties of Cypripedium we just got in for sale include C. kentuckiense, Hank Small, Michael, and Philipp. All plants have been potted to keep the roots from drying out and for shipping, but the mix can easily be removed for fall planting and incorporated into the planting site.
I remember when I discovered we could actually grow ladyslipper orchids in the garden, despite so many stories of them being impossible to cultivate. The reality is that one ladyslipper, Cypripedium acaule is tough to move. Otherwise, they’re easy. I just took this photo of our clump of Cypripedium ‘Hank Small’…32 flowers this year! I hope you will give these a try in your light shade garden. A slightly moist soil is best, although this one is grown much too dry under a giant pine tree.