Lady's Slipper - Pink
Ease to Grow: Moderate
Native Range: Woodlands of Eastern North America.
Zones: 3-8 (2-9)
Lady's Slipper Orchid, Cypripedium acaule, is one of the best known of all the hardy orchids. Lady's Slipper plants have large (2-3") pink, moccasin shaped flowers resembling a swollen egg. The pouches are pink with raspberry colored veins, and an opening through which pollinating insects travel. There is no nectar, and insects have to find their way through the pouch and out the back. They probably soon learn there is little nectar available in Pink Lady's Slippers and avoid the flowers, which may be why so few are pollinated in the wild. Flowers are singular on medium height spikes, and topped by green and brownish maroon sepals. It is a late Spring, early Summer bloomer, and flowers can last up to a month or more. Lady's Slipper flower spikes benefit from staking, and protection from the wind. Two wide, long elliptical leaves rise from the base of the plant. They are rich green above and silvery green below. They are corrugated by thick, parallel veins. In their natural habit, Pink Lady's Slipper Orchids grow in open, upland woods, above bogs and fens, usually under pines. The soil is typical low nutrient, loose, well drained and humusy. It is consistently moist, but not saturated. There is frequently a layer of decomposing leaves on the soil surface. Light is shade or dappled sunlight. Plants tolerate full sun, but do not look their best. Seeds are very fine and can be a challenge to germinate. It is winter hardy, and should be protected from rodents during dormancy. Mulch with 4+" of pine needles in the Fall. Leave at least a 1" of needles after spring cleanup. The rhizomes can be stored in damp sphagnum at 35°F (2°C) in a refrigerator for 3 or 4 months. Water with rain/distilled water, they are sensitive to mineral buildup. Do not over water, and be sure to keep the soil slightly moist during the peak of summer. Keep soil acidic, provide good drainage, and do not fertilize. It does well in beds and pots, and makes a charming addition to the bog garden.
Our plants are not collected from the wild, and are propagated from root divisions of plants in our collection.
Plants are shipped bare-root, wrapped in damp sphagnum moss. In its dormant season, it will be shipped as a dormant root/rhizome. Photographs are representative of species, and not the specific plant shipped.
Height: 4" - 10"
Plant Type: Perennial, cold temperate
Soil: Lady's Slipper Mix
Soil pH: 4-5
Light: Partial Sun to Dappled Light
Use: Grows best outdoors in the bog garden or pots