Genus that includes numerous lively rhizomatous orchids, originating in the temperate zones of Europe, North America and Asia. Like the genus paphiopedilum the flower of the cypripedium is characterized by a small labellum, under which a sac can be noted, consisting of the two lower petals, in the shape of a "scarpetta", and of certainly striking dimensions, in fact often exceeding 7-8 cm in diameter. The plant is lively, which means that in autumn the aerial part turns yellow and dries completely, while in spring numerous green leaves appear, narrow and long, which often reach and exceed 60 cm in length.
The flowers bloom in spring and are of various colors, from yellow to pink to red.
They need a good quantity of water, if possible distilled, be careful to prevent the soil from drying out, but not soaking it, to prevent rotting. In the summer supply water often, even every day, and thin out the waterings until suspending them in winter. These plants do not need too much fertilization, it is sufficient to provide an fertilizer for orchids once a month, or even less, during the vegetative period, dissolving a quarter of the recommended dose in the water used for watering.Ground
This genus of orchids includes only terricolous varieties, therefore they need a soil rich in humus, also wanting to be composted, the important thing is that it is very soft and light, so as not to ruin the delicate roots of the cypripedium; add a good quantity of bark and perlite to the soil to increase drainage. Some varieties, such as C. reginae and C. formosanum like a slightly acid soil, then add pine needles to lower the Ph value. Avoid handling roots too often, which break easily, and remember not to bury them too much depth when planting.
It occurs by seed, but it is quite difficult, moreover the plants bloom only after 4-5 years. In March, mix in a sand and peat mixture in equal parts and keep the seedbed in the shade for a few months, covered with plastic or glass, to maintain moisture. In autumn, once the plants have turned yellow, cut them at about one cm in height, and place the seedbed in the refrigerator. When the plants can be handled repot into individual containers, which must be kept in a sheltered place for at least a couple of years. If you decide to bury the cypripedium in the garden it is advisable to wait for at least 2-3 years, so that the plants become vigorous, and able to withstand the adversities.
Cypripedium: Pests and diseases
They can be attacked by cochineal and aphids; if they are grown outdoors, be careful of snails that are fond of the fleshy leaves of these beautiful plants.