How to Grow Paphiopedilum


The paphiopedilum plant is an Asian native orchid variety also known Old World Lady Slipper. The plant has tall stems that hold waxy flowers in the shades of green, burgundy, tan and white. Paphiopedilum grow naturally in a habitat that is shaded with high humidity, fast air movement and heavy rainfall. The plant is easy to grow in a home or greenhouse when given the proper growing environment.

Step 1

Plant the paphiopedilum in a pot with a fine medium, such as fine fir bark mixed with perlite and charcoal. Repot the plant every two years or when the medium begins to decompose. Repotting is required when the plant has reached the edge of the pot.

Step 2

Add a layer of dolomite lime to the top of the potting medium if your water has low calcium content. This will keep the medium at an alkaline level instead of acidic, which may harm the plant.

Step 3

Place the plant in a shaded location, such as a window facing east or west. A shaded south-facing window is also acceptable.

Step 4

Keep the humidity at a 40- to 50-percent level around the plant. Add a humidifier to the area if necessary.

Step 5

Place a small fan in the growing area to provide air movement especially if the humidity increases. An increase in air movement may require additional water requirements.

Step 6

When the medium begins to dry at the top, water the plant with a volume that is equal to the size of the pot. The roots should always remain moist.

Step 7

Fertilize paphiopedilum with a balanced houseplant fertilizer mixed at one-eighth strength. Fertilize the plant weekly during the spring and summer months and every other week in the fall and winter months.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do no use water that has been softened. Purchase low-mineral water or use low-acidic rain water. Do not let the plant stand in water for long periods of time as this will promote root rot. The air temperature should not drop below 40 degrees F at night or above 95 degrees F during the day if growing the plants outdoors.

Things You'll Need

  • Paphiopedilum plant
  • Fine fir bark medium
  • Dolomite lime
  • Humidifier
  • Small fan
  • Water
  • Balanced houseplant fertilizer


  • Orchid Care
  • Paphiopedilum
  • Paphiopedilum Orchid Culture
Keywords: paphiopedilum plant care, growing paphiopedilum, orchid plant care

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.