Tropical Lady's Slipper Orchids - Easy and Rewarding→Will they grow outside in SoCal during the winter?

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(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Jan 8, 2019 1:44 AM CST
I used to see wild lady slipper orchids popping up in the spring all around our house in the Northeast. It was such a nice sight. Not knowing any better, I uprooted one and put it in a pot. Not a good idea, poor thing.

If cultivated lady slippers are easy to grow, I would like to try growing one. It would be nice if I could keep it outside during the winter here in SoCal (nights are cool, in the 40s and daytime temps are in the 60s).
[Last edited by _Bleu_ - Jan 8, 2019 11:04 PM (+)]
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jan 8, 2019 4:31 AM CST
Their desired temperatures were posted in this thread. The 40's at night are too low in my experience. If it happens once, then it is not an issue but they prefer 55-65.
Same is true for the days. The 60's are too cool, they would grow and flower better in 65-78 degree days.
Plus they do not like a lot of sun. Perhaps early morning sun briefly and then just bright. They need even moisture, watered on a regular basis. They won't like excessive moisture or growing in prolonged dry conditions.
Experienced orchid growers have the knowledge to push the envelope a bit. Do you have the experience?
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Jan 8, 2019 11:34 PM CST
I read the blog and did notice what the required temperatures were. Again, because *wild* lady's slipper orchids are a common sight in the Northeast in late May (average temps: low in the mid-40s and high in the upper 50s), they just pop up at the edges of wooded areas, I thought I'd ask if the cultivated ones would have a chance here in winter. For what I have observed in the Northeast, the wild sandal orchids start to disappear when the temps hit the upper 70s; they all die back in late June.

I took this photo on June 2, 2005:



It was one of several blooming on the east side of our house.

And, no, obviously I don't have the experience, Bill.
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Jan 9, 2019 5:08 AM CST
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Hey Bleu, technically they are all lady slippers but that is where most of the similarities end.
The one that you show in your wonderful image is Cypripedium acaule. It is a semi terrestrial orchid native to temperate forests in the US.
The other slippers belong to the group of Paphiopedilums
Thumb of 2019-01-09/BigBill/a1ae8b

This is a typical one. There are numerous variations. They are native to Southeast Asia from India, to the Philippines to Vietnam and China and many island nations.
Lastly these slipper orchids are Phragmipediums. Here is a typical one.


My point is that they are all lady slippers and their culture is different for all of them! Native slippers like the one you showed can be grown in the garden but they have a reputation of being difficult to transplant or to grow in the home garden. Acaule is supposed to be the easiest.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Jan 9, 2019 11:21 AM CST
Thank You! for the informative explanation. Cypripedium acaule, what a neat name! Smiling

Yes, they don't like being disturbed. The time I tried to move one of them to a pot, I did it very carefully making sure its roots were not disturbed and into in a roomy pot it went just to die shortly after, sadly. Sad They don't appreciate changes in their surrounding environment either.

Thanks for the invitation, I will visit the orchid forum.
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Jan 9, 2019 11:23 AM CST
Your welcome Bleu
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Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 9, 2019 11:58 AM CST
HI _Bleu_, you can certainly try, SoCal conditions much better than we have here. Main issue during winter is our winter rains, you will have to protect them from excessive rains. Also remember light levels are much shorter during winter, so even if it does like our wet cool conditions, it is different during Spring time when light levels are naturally going longer and much warmer.

And for me with Paphs, I have bigger problems when our long dry season comes around. Since they have no pseudobulbs to store moisture, our overall weather by then is just too dry and gets too hot, our humidity too low. So to play safe, I just keep them indoors year round, so I do not disturb it a lot and easier to monitor its moisture/watering needs.
(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Jan 9, 2019 3:09 PM CST
Hi tarev,
Yes, we have a milder winter down here. 71 degrees yesterday and today may get up there again but next week is going to be cooler and a bit wet. Such a difference compared to last winter, an orchid wouldn't have survived the warm and dry weather we had.

I guess I'll see if I can find another spot in the house with the perfect conditions for more orchids. The best spot is already taken by four Phalaenopsis, which are now blooming beautifully again, exactly a year after I acquired them. Such easy plants to care for. Lovey dubby

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 10, 2019 11:09 AM CST
Before I did not understand those temperature stuff, so I pushed limits in my first attempts, killed a lot Hilarious! Hilarious!
But I finally understood and learned which particular types of orchids I can handle here. I have more luck with some orchids in the Phalaenopsis, Oncidium and Dendrobium Alliance. Smiling
Name: Nancy Mumpton
Sun Lakes, AZ (Zone 9b)
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nmumpton
Jan 12, 2019 10:54 AM CST
Since I live in Phoenix I have a big concern with lack of humidity. I grow Phals and they do well and flower under my lights and some in an East window. Do Lady Slipper Orchids require more humidity than Phals? Photo is a re-blooming Phal recently.
Thumb of 2019-01-12/nmumpton/ce5bbc

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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 12, 2019 11:36 AM CST
Hi Nancy, yes you can grow them in similar environment as Phals. So far I have tried Paphiopedilums. Have not tried the other types of slipper orchids, I am a bit hesistant knowing some really prefer much more tropical/humid environment which I cannot provide.

When I first tried Paphs, I positioned the plant by our kitchen sink so it gets as much moisture it can all over: it started making bloom stalks in late Fall at that time. Though sadly I lost this plant a couple of years later after we have to be away for about a month, so no one to water it. My Phals endured the period of time we were away even without watering then. Made me understand very well Paphs need much more moisture.

Thumb of 2019-01-12/tarev/3ea93a

Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Jan 12, 2019 11:45 AM CST
I understand your concerns about humidity but in terms of successful orchid growing, it is not the most important thing.
Light, temperature, watering, and media are more important.
When you grow orchids indoors, grouping plants together can increase humidity. Standing water near the plants can also help a little. But what impact does low humidity have? Maybe cause bud drop or keep buds from opening. It could cause an increase in insect activity but it terms of it being critical in good orchid growth, it plays a small role.
Lady slippers, Cattleyas, Oncidiums and Phalaenopsis all like humidity levels of between 45-60%. Can you achieve that in Phoenix, indoors or out, I don't know. But like I said, good light, good watering and the proper media will make more of a difference then humidity.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Jan 12, 2019 11:46 AM (+)]
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(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Jan 12, 2019 2:34 PM CST
These four plants have been on that spot since I bought them 15 months ago. One of the pots doesn't show because it's behind the blue pot but the buds of that plant show below the pink orchid in the foreground (I neglected to anchor that flower stalk when it was forming). The plant in the background, in the light green pot, is the only one that has not rebloomed, at least so far, and I wonder why since they all get the same amount of water and light.

Thumb of 2019-01-12/_Bleu_/7b141e

That's an east-facing window, the plants get a few hours of sun in the morning and lots of very bright light the rest of the day. That photo was taking a few minutes ago, on a rainy day.


[Last edited by _Bleu_ - Jan 12, 2019 2:36 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Stay Home-Save Lives-Wear a Mask!
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tarev
Jan 12, 2019 2:48 PM CST
Those are Phalaenopsis orchids. Typically to induce flower spikes, it needs to feel temperature cool downs in the 50F range. Sometimes, there are just some hybrids that are taking much longer to rebloom after its rest period. I don't panic much if they don't rebloom yet. I am more concerned keeping the plant alive making sure roots and leaves are staying okay. Patience, patience, patience.

That is okay if you do not want to stake the flowering spike, in nature they are just growing freely. It is just more of a preference for some growers to stake it, or maybe to help it avoid being bumped into by anything around it.

Your location for them is quite good! Good growing! Thumbs up
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Jan 12, 2019 2:55 PM CST
Let me see if I understand you. You would like to know why one Phalaenopsis is not blooming out of a group of several? Even though they are growing side by side!

Well there could be several reasons. One has to do simply with the overall nature of Phalaenopsis and the way they bloom. There are no guarantees with any living thing. With giving them the best culture we can, the same watering, the same temperatures, light, food and media and yet they do not all bloom!
What happens is the best answer I can give, and that is they don't all bloom. You put 100 mixed Phalaenopsis with 100 growers not every one of them would bloom every plant. It just doesn't work that way.
Secondly, it could simply depend upon the individual plants genetic make up. Because you see some Phalaenopsis bloom regardless of conditions, some require a ten degree night time temperature drop in order to set blooms, others need 20 degrees. This one plants not spiking could be related to insufficient temperature drop. It is hard to know exactly why one doesn't bloom while others do.
The world has some "Laws" if you will. The Law of Gravity is one. There isn't any law that says every Phalaenopsis has to bloom provided that A, B, C and D happen.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Jan 12, 2019 2:58 PM (+)]
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(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Jan 12, 2019 11:53 PM CST
Thank You! @tarev. Smiling

BigBill said: some require a ten degree night time temperature drop in order to set blooms, others need 20 degrees.


That's probably why.

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