Lady’s Slipper Orchid – Cypripedium

Known as the Lady’s Slipper Orchid and hardly classed as tuberous rooted, yet this is one of the loveliest of all semi-wild flowers to grace our gardens. In gardens which can provide some shade or where a semi-moist position can be found by the side of a lake or stream, the Cypripediums will produce their delightfully veined flowers and foliage with the utmost abandon. They must have a soil containing a large quantity of leaf mould, they do in fact like to have their feet in moist, cool soil and their heads in sunshine or partial sunshine.

I have found that nowhere do they grow better than when planted under pine trees, not in a wood thick with these times, but under a single tree which will provide partial shade and a soil packed with pine needles. If it be a sandy, well-drained soil, so much the better. Some sand should be dug in at planting-time and as much humus as can be found, anything in the way of rotted leaves, decayed bracken, peat and very well-rotted manure. And lime they do not like in any quantity.Lady's Slipper Orchid - Cypripedium

PLANTING

They should be planted with their fleshy alstomeria-like roots only just beneath soil-level. In this and all other respects they are very like the American Cowslips with which they should be planted. And plant also the North American Maidenhair Fern, which looks so attractive with its ebony black stems and vivid green foliage. If natural conditions cannot be found then they may be artificially made by working into the soil as much humus as can possibly be found, and planting in a partially shaded position.

SPECIES

  • Cypripediuns acaule. An expensive but outstandingly beautiful species bearing a bloom -with pink petals, green sepals and a crimson veined slipper, a combination of great beauty for flowering throughout early summer.
  • C. ealceolus. This is the native English Lady’s Slipper and is the exception to the rule of not liking lime, for it thrives on it like perennial Scabious. Bears its bloom on 2-in stems, the slipper being vivid yellow, the petals brown.
  • C. pubeseens. The tallest-growing species which love the sunshine more than most. The green and chocolate petals are of great length, the slipper being rich greenish yellow. Bears its flowers throughout June.
  • C. Reginae. Bears its flowers throughout May on long stems, and is rather more difficult to get going than most varieties. The bloom has pure white petals with a bright rose-coloured slipper.

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