paphiopedilum care

How to Care for Paphiopedilum – Grow Venus Slipper Orchid

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If you like exotic extraordinary-looking house plants, paphiopedilum is the flower for you!

Here is a short paph care guide: Provide it with a semi-shaded place away from direct sunlight. The average room temperature should be from 23 to 29oC during daytime and from 15 to 20oC during nighttime. Watering once every five to seven days is required. Use a soilless potting mix, such as orchid bark. Fertilizing once a month is advised. If you have done everything right, you can expect colorful flowers from autumn to spring.

Afraid that you won’t manage to cultivate a paphiopedilum? I can’t guarantee that you will be successful the first time you try. What I can guarantee is that paphiopedilum orchids care isn’t hard. Once you succeed, you will be more than proud of your paph! For some useful advice, read the following article!

Origins of Paph Orchid

Paphiopedilum (Latin paphiopedilum spicerianum) is an extraordinary flower that belongs to the family of orchids, subfamily Cypripedioideae, to be precise.

There are over 80 known varieties of the plant. The variety is commonly known aspaph.

Paphiopedilum Orchid Appearance

It is a slow-growing orchid subspecies – they only produce one of two growths a year. Leaves can be green or variegated. Flowers can have different colorful markings, as well.

The shape of the flowers is extraordinary, resembling the shape of a slipper (thus the common names ’lady’s slippers’ or ’slipper orchid’).

The most popular variety is paphiopedilum greyi, ’paph greyi’, with white flowers that have purple markings.

Blooming Paphiopedilum

Unlike most other orchid varieties, this one doesn’t produce pseudobulbs to bloom. They only produce shoots with foliage. The blooming period lasts from fall to spring.

Still, after the flowers emerge from the spikes, they can’t rebloom and need to be pruned. Use a sharp sterilized tool while doing it.

Sunlight Requirements for Paphiopedilum Care

paphiopedilum sunlight requirements

Paph orchids like bright places but away from direct sunlight. Try to provide some morning light, but on an east or west windowsill.

If you notice that the leaf color is becoming pale or even yellow, it is probably because paph has been getting too much sunlight.

On the other hand, if you notice little red dots on the leaves, it means orchid paphiopedilum isn’t getting enough sunlight.

Too little sunlight may be the reason if the plant isn’t reblooming for a long time, as well.

Temperature Requirements for Paphiopedilum Care

Paphiopedilum orchid care guide is pretty simple when it comes to temperature requirements.

They like moderate room temperatures from 23 to 29oC during the daytime, and a slight fall in nighttime temperature, from 15 to 20oC.

They like the temperature change because it stimulates blooming.

Watering Paphiopedilum

Paphilodelium doesn’t like dry potting medium, unlike many other orchids.

Paphs don’t have pseudobulbs that are normally used as water storage, so they require slightly more often watering.

Once every five to seven days should be enough. However, don’t overwater – the potting mix mustn’t be soggy.

Since orchid potting mediums have a high level of drainage, the water tends to run through the pot.

The best way to water them is to place the pot in a container filled with water and let the roots and the potting medium soak up the water.

Pro-Tip: Paph orchid care includes taking care of the quality of the water. The best solution is to use rainwater. If you can’t collect it, you can always use distilled water. Also, orchids like to be watered in the morning. The water stuck in roots and leaves during the nighttime temperatures may cause pests and fungus.

Humidity Requirements for Paphiopedilum Care

Paphiopedilums are terrestrial plants, so they like a little higher levels of humidity, from 50 to 70%.

To minimize the frequency of misting, you can put the orchid pot on a tray filled with moist rock pebbles.

Of course, you can always buy a plant humidifier.

Paphiopedilum Soil Requirements

paphiopedilum soil

Like most other orchid varieties, paphiopedilums orchids like soilless potting mixes. This is the most important thing when it comes to paphiopedilum orchids care.

In nature, they grow as epiphytes and lithophytes, which means they live on tree bark and rocks. Try to recreate these conditions by using some of the specially designed orchid potting mixes.

A pot with good drainage is extremely important since the roots will rot if they are constantly soaked in water.

Best Fertilizers for Paphiopedilum Care

Paphiopedalum orchid care includes the occasional fertilizing. There are different fertilizers designed specifically for orchids. You can add fertilizer once a month, or even once in 45 days.

Make sure you don’t overfeed it since paphiopedilum is prone to burn from too many chemicals from fertilizers.

Repotting Paphiopedilum Orchid

Paphiopedilums orchids aren’t fast-growing plants, but after two years or so, you will probably notice that the roots have overgrown the pot.

Still, always determine how much the roots have overgrown – they tend to naturally emerge from the pot to get exposure to sunlight.

This is also the reason why you should use a plastic see-through pot. Even if the roots haven’t overgrown, you should change the potting medium every two or three years.

When you take the plant from the old pot, carefully examine the roots. If you notice any root rot or damaged root stems, remove them using a sharp sterilized tool.

When you notice that you should re-pot, wait for the blooming period to end before you do it.

Common Problems of Paphiopedilum Care

Just like most other plants, Paphiopedilum orchid is not immune to certain problems. So, let’s see what are the most common problems of paphiopedilum care.

Yellow Leaves

If you notice paphiopedilum leaves are becoming yellow, it is probably because of too much direct sunlight.


Pests tend to appear because of the high humidity level paph orchid requires. Fungi and pests can cause leaf problems and root rot.

paphiopedilum root rot

In that case, you’ll probably need to use some pesticide specialized for orchids.

Here you can find some additional advice on orchid care in general, which will help you in paphiopedilum care, as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do Paphiopedilum orchids flowers last?

Paphiopedilum orchid flowers can last pretty long with proper care, up to two months!

How to water Paphiopedilum orchids?

These orchids need regular watering during hotter months, from spring to the end of summer. However, always make sure that the soil is a bit dry.

Not fully, but moderately dry. During the colder weather make sure to reduce the watering, to avoid overwatering issues.

What type of soil to use for Paphiopedilum care?

You should use a potting mix commonly used for terrestrial orchids. Otherwise, you can make your own custom mix, by using sphagnum moss mixed with sand, as well as perlite.

In short, you should make a mix that has good draining abilities.


Paphiopedilum is a magnificent colorful orchid variety, and paph orchid care isn’t too hard. The blooming period lasts for a long time, from autumn to spring.

It likes semi-shaded places away from direct sunlight. Average room temperatures (23-29oC daytime, 15-20oC nighttime) are great for paphiopedilum orchids growth.

It likes moderate watering, once every five to seven days. The potting medium should be soilless.

Additional feeding is required once a month, as well as repotting every two to three years.

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