Planting advice for lady's slipper orchids

Cypripediums for beginners

Only hybrids can be recommended for beginners. Usually they are much more adaptable and stronger growers than species plants. For many years two hybrids have demonstrated their potential as garden plants.


Planting site

Semi-shade, no direct sun at midday. A very suitable place would also be at the north side of a building. The lady's slipper orchid is a forest plant and therefore prefers cool sites, which do not become too dry and hot during summer. Places where ferns thrive are also suitable for lady's slippper orchids.


Lady's slipper orchids need a well-aerated, crumbly soil structure (3-4 inches deep) and medium moisture conditions. Dense and loamy soils have to be replaced with mineral materials such as pumice, crushed clay pebbles, lava, Seramis® or Isolite®. If the planting site is too wet, a drainage layer with crushed clay pebbles or lava should be added. In sandy soils, which dry out rapidly, it is recommended to increase water retension by mixing in Seramis® or Isolite® (no peat!). Covering the soil with a layer of beech leaves or pine needles has a favourable effect on structure and moisture. With only a few exceptions to the rule the pH value should range between 6,5 and 7,5.


a porous material of lava origin, called Lavalit

baked clay



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Spread out the roots in the upper 3-4 inches of the soil, the shoot tip one inch below the surface. Fill in the remaining substrate without pressing. Water thoroughly.

Watering and fertilization

Soil never should dry out completely, therefore in dry summers careful watering is recommended. Fertilize your lady's slipper orchids regularly during springtime, use commercial mineral fertilizers in a quarter of the normal concentration.

Combination with other plants

Lady's slipper orchids look best in combination with slow-growing ferns and small Hosta species. They cannot compete with vigorously-growing perennials, shrubs or trees. So always look after these delicate orchids!

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Protecting your lady's slipper orchid

Slugs can wreak havoc within one night. Particularly during springtime special protection is indispensable.

You can keep off animals like birds mice etc. by using a protective wire net.