Repotting Orchids, Part 2: Paphiopedilum

Julie McCaffrey —  December 30, 2013 — 3 Comments

A Paphiopedilum, or lady slipper orchid, is another popular orchid with collectors: it prefers high humidity and indirect light, faring best in eastern early morning light. But how do you ensure early success?

PHOTO: Closeup of a Paphiopedilum micranthum slipper orchid bloom.

Paphiopedilum micranthum lady slipper orchid bloom

Just as we learned in our first video, Repotting Orchids, Part 1: Phalaenopsis, it’s always best to repot your orchids shortly after purchasing them—the sphagnum moss in which they are sold provides too much constant moisture for the plant, and can damage the delicate, epiphytic root system.

Anne Nies, a master’s degree candidate in the Garden and Northwestern University’s Plant Biology & Conservation program, is an expert in all things orchids, both native and tropical. She is also a member of the Illinois Orchid Society, which holds its spring and fall orchid shows at the Garden. She took some time this past fall to show me (and you) how to repot our orchids to maintain a healthy growing environment.

Our second video details step-by-step instructions for repotting a Paphiopedilum orchid, which has different watering and culture needs from a Phalaenopsis. After your initial purchase and repotting, you should repot your orchid when your plant has finished blooming.

Mark your calendars for the Garden’s newest exhibition, the Orchid Show (purchase tickets here). Orchid lovers of all levels are sure to learn a lot more about orchids at the show. Can’t wait!

©2013 Chicago Botanic Garden and

Julie McCaffrey


Julie McCaffrey is media relations manager at the Chicago Botanic Garden and is responsible for promoting the Garden's programs and events through traditional and social media. Julie holds a B.A. in English from Northern Illinois University and an M.S. in Communications from Northwestern University.

3 responses to Repotting Orchids, Part 2: Paphiopedilum

  1. What was the name of the chemical Ann had mixed into the water she was soaking the Paph in?

  2. Note: When using a product such as this, it is important to follow all label directions carefully. The label on Physan 20 virucide reads:

    ORCHIDS: Adult plants, use 2 tsp. Physan 20 per gallon of water. Spray anytime disease other than rot is evident. Spray once per month as preventative maintenance. Soak compost when fungus is evident. For other uses of PHYSAN 20 with orchids, refer to Insert #2.

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