Orchid Venus slipper: description, care features
Venus slipper, being an orchid, evokes associations with the jungle, palm trees and other tropical surroundings, however, in fact, this flower is our countryman, able to grow everywhere in our latitudes, although it is extremely rare today. But it occupies a prominent place among flower growers who are actively planting this orchid both in the open ground and at home. The features of growing a Venus shoe in a house will be discussed in the article.
This perennial herbaceous plant, spread throughout Eurasia, belongs to the orchid family, i.e., is one of the species of orchids.
Most often, he is called the Venus shoe, but at the same time his name is also:
- Adam's head;
- Mary’s slipper;
- slipper of venus;
- cuckoo boots;
- slipper of limestone;
You will be interested to learn how to care for cymbidium orchid at home. This plant grows to a height of a quarter meter, has a creeping rhizome, bright green or variegated ellipsoid large leaves and a very beautiful original flower, whose lower petal - lip - looks like a shoe, for which the orchid got its main name. The genus of this flower has about 60 species, which, due to the ability to fruitfully interbreed within the genus, currently have over a thousand interspecific hybrids.
The most cultivated by floriculturists Paphiopedilums are presented:
- apricot (Paphiopedilum armeniacum);
- Appleton (Paphiopedilum appletonianum);
- naive (Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum);
- bearded (Paphiopedilum barbatum);
- remarkable (Paphiopedilum insigne);
- Spicer (Paphiopedilum spicerianum);
- pretty (Paphiopedilum bellatulum);
- coarse-haired (Paphiopedilum villosum);
- snowy (Paphiopedilum niveum);
- lovely (Paphiopedilum venustum);
- Lawrence (Paphiopedilum lawrenceanum).
How to choose an orchid when buying
Being a sympodial plant, Paphiopedilum develops flower shoots from the last upper buds. A full-fledged orchid must have at least three flower rosettes, so when buying, you should pay attention to the number of these rosettes on the orchid. Experts do not recommend purchasing plants that have less than 3 flower rosettes. Even with perfect care for such orchids, the probability that they will survive does not exceed 40%. And if they do not die, then you should not expect the appearance of flowers on them in the next 2 years.
In addition, when buying Paphiopedilum, you should pay attention to the pot in which it is sold. The capacity must be transparent so that it is possible to assess the condition of the roots, the green color of which indicates their health. Did you know? In nature, a Venus slipper can take from 15 to 18 years from the moment of seed germination to the first flowering , which is not surprising if we take into account the life span of the plant, which ranges from fifty to hundreds of years.
How to plant an orchid venus slipper
The success of planting the discussed orchid depends not only on neat and competent actions during the process itself, but also on preparatory actions in the form of the correct choice of the pot and the quality substrate with which it is filled.
Choice of capacity for landing
At home, the slipper of Venus is grown mainly in plastic and ceramic low pots, expanding upwards, which greatly facilitates the subsequent transplantation of the plant. The materials from which the pots are made have both pros and cons.
The porosity of clay containers promotes high-quality air exchange of the root system, however, the same pores contribute to the rapid drying of the substrate, which is undesirable for an orchid whose roots must constantly be in moist soil. Plastic containers that do not have pores inhibit root air exchange, but they hold moisture better, their transparent walls allow you to control the condition of the roots and it is more convenient to remove the root lump from a plant transplant.
Important! In order to avoid the occurrence of putrefactive processes in the root system and to stimulate air exchange in plastic pots for an orchid, it is desirable to have drainage holes not only at the bottom, but also in the lower side of the container.
Preparation of soil and planting material
The best option for filling containers for planting a Venus shoe is a purchased substrate, professionally designed specifically for orchids. But you can also make a soil mixture with your own hands, the most suitable for creating optimal conditions for the growth of Paphiopedilum at home. The most popular components of the soil mixture are pine bark and peat, taken in a ratio of 2: 1. A significant role is played by additives in the mixture, a small amount of which improves the digestibility of existing nutrients and adds new ones.
Most often, additives are added to the substrate for orchids in the form of:
- dolomite flour;
- coconut flakes;
- fine sand;
- crushed shells.
Video: DIY soil for orchids
The main condition for planting an orchid in a pot is the depth to which the plant is planted. If it is planted too high, then the roots simply hang, and their development stops. And an excessively low landing can lead to decay of the outlet. The height of the substrate layer above the rhizome should not exceed 1 cm. Otherwise, the flowering of the orchid may be inhibited. When planting, the bush of the plant should be dry. After planting, the soil should not be tamped.
Although Paphiopedilum belongs to one of the least capricious orchids, nevertheless, it requires considerable care for itself.
Read also how at home you can transplant a baby orchid.
Accommodation in the house and optimal conditions
Among the many interspecific hybrids of the Venus shoe, there are more thermophilic and more resistant to cool air. For example, variegated specimens are more demanding on high temperature than plants with smooth leaves. The same can be said about orchids with larger and brighter flowers - they are also more demanding on the high ambient temperature.
Nevertheless, almost all Paphiopedilums feel comfortable at summer temperatures in the range +22 ... + 25 ° С and at winter temperatures not lower than + 15 ° С. Critical temperatures for this plant are below + 8 ° C and above + 32 ° C. And for high-quality flowering, the Venus shoe requires a difference of at least 5 degrees between day and night temperatures.
Paphiopedilum is able to withstand partial shade, but it does not feel as comfortable in it as in diffused bright light, so it is not recommended to place pots with these orchids on windowsills facing the north side. But when arranging the flowers on the south side in the summer, it is necessary to protect them from direct sunlight.
This orchid is very sensitive to air humidity, which should reach up to 80%. To achieve such humidity at home, you have to resort to using humidifiers, frequent spraying with a spray or placing flower pots in trays filled with expanded clay or moss soaked with water.
Watering and feeding
The venus slipper should be watered abundantly and regularly with defended or filtered water, heated to + 30 ° С.
Important! During irrigation, water should in no case fall into the sinuses in order to avoid decay of outlets.
It is best to water the orchids by immersing the pot in a container of water for a quarter of an hour. After this operation, you should wait until excess water flows through the drainage holes into the sump. After this, water must be removed from the pan. Otherwise, there is a risk of decay of the roots and damage to their fungus. The next watering should be carried out only after the top layer of the substrate begins to dry.
It is more advisable to feed Paphiopedilum with fertilizers prepared by professionals specially for orchids. Of fundamental importance in this case is the predominance of nitrogen in top dressing in the spring, which contributes to the growth of green mass, and in the flowering phase, potassium, which stimulates lush flowering. In addition, the plant also needs phosphorus to strengthen the measles system.
Video: Paphiopedilum Home Care
At the end of the dormant period, a flower stalk appears in the bosom of the leaf from a floral outlet. In some species of the Venus shoe, only one flower can bloom on the peduncle, which lasts up to 4 months. In other species of the slipper of Venus, the flowers on the peduncle bloom in turn or a new flower blooms at the place of flowering (revolving flowering) within six months, or even 7 months.
After a single flower fades, the peduncle is cut off, since it is no longer suitable for the formation of flowers. Peduncles, on which the flowers bloom alternately or one in place of the other, are not cut off until the last flower blooms.
Also learn how to grow orchids from seeds at home.
At home, cuckoo shoes are propagated exclusively by dividing the root. Although propagation through seeds is simpler, amateur gardeners do not resort to it for the reason that with this method of reproduction, we have to expect the beginning of flowering for at least 5 years.
They divide the root system of the flower during transplantation, when the plant has more than a dozen rosettes. Divide the bush in such a way that at least 3 rosettes are present on each part intended for vegetative propagation. As already mentioned above, the seedlings with one or two rosettes have very low chances of survival, and the likelihood that the surviving plants will bloom in the coming years will be zero.
Did you know? Orchid seeds are not able to germinate until symbionts that stimulate germination penetrate into their embryos.
Dormancy and flowering period
Usually, in November, the dormant period of Paphiopedilum of variegated species begins. In this phase of the plant’s existence, the ambient temperature is maintained at + 15 ° C, abundant watering is replaced by regular moistening of the soil with water by spraying, and fertilizing is stopped. In the rest mode, the flower should not be disturbed by rearranging the pot with it from the window sill to the window sill or turning it.
Together with the output of the peduncle from the outlet, the rest period ends. Variegated species bloom in summer and autumn, and in shoes of Venus with a uniform color of leaves, the flowering period lasts from the end of winter and throughout spring, after which a short rest period occurs. In the flowering phase, orchids need abundant watering and fertilizing with fertilizers containing potassium stimulating flowering. You will be interested to read why the orchid does not bloom and how to make it bloom.
As already mentioned, depending on the type, Venus slippers develop differently throughout the year. Variegated leaves bloom actively in the spring-summer period and rest in winter, and their relatives with monophonic leaves, on the contrary, bloom mainly in the winter-spring period.
Plant pests and diseases
The leaves and root system are most susceptible to diseases in the shoe of Venus.
The causes of these problems are either agrotechnical flaws on the part of gardeners, or infectious infections, which is expressed in:
- spreading of brownishness along the leaves, which ultimately leads to the death of foliage and is caused by the introduction of an excessive amount of fertilizer or fungal diseases;
- drying and falling of unblown inflorescences, the cause of which is the mold of botritis;
- the appearance of brown spots on the petal of the flower and its lip, indicating a too low ambient temperature;
- plant damage by late blight, pitium and fusariosis, which is the result of excessive watering.
The plant will be able to save the plant from biofungicides (Phytosporin, Trichodermin), which treat the diseased flower. As a preventive measure, it is necessary to adjust the temperature regime in the room where the plant is located, and also to prevent its overmoistening.
Can Venus slipper also be attacked by pests in the form of:
- spider mite;
- scale insects;
- flat ticks.
You can get rid of all these pests either mechanically (by removing insects manually), or using insecticides and acaricides that spray the plant (Fitoverm, Actellik). In order to prevent the subsequent invasion of pests, it is necessary to increase the air humidity and periodically bathe a flower under a warm shower.
The abundance of names given to one plant, the mass of interspecific hybrids derived on its basis, testifies to a person's genuine interest in Paphiopedilum, as evidenced by the extremely wide cultivation of the Venus shoe in dwellings around the world.