Lady's Slipper - Small Yellow
Ease to Grow: Moderate.
Native Range: Woodlands of Eastern North America.
Zones: 2-9 (2-10).
Small Yellow Lady's Slipper Orchid, Cypripedium parviflorum, is a charming hardy orchid with small (1-2") waxy, bright, yellow, mocassin shaped flowers resemble a swollen egg. It is the most common of all North American Lady's Slippers. The pouches are buttery yellow with red dotted lips. They have 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 Lady's Slippers and avoid the flowers, which may be why so few are pollinated in the wild. Flowers are singluar on medium height spikes, and topped by green and brownish maroon sepals. It is a Spring bloomer, and flowers can last up to a month or more. Flower spikes benefit from staking, and protection from the wind. Wide, long spoon shaped leaves rise along the stem of the plant. They are corrugated by thick, parallel veins. In their natural habit, Small Yellow Lady's Slipper Orchids grow in rich, moist, open, upland woods, above bogs and fens. 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. Add a tablespoon of pellitized lime to the soil mix for each 6-8" pot. Provide boggy conditions, and do not fertilize. It is striking in beds and pots, and makes a colorful addition to the bog garden.
Our plants are not collected from the wild, and are propagated from root divisions of plants in our collection.
For Lady's Slipper Orchids size refers to age of plants. Small (1 year), medium (2-3 years), large [floweringsize] (4+ years).
Height: 6" - 12".
Plant Type: Perennial, cold temperate.
Soil: Lady's Slipper Mix with lime.
Soil pH: 5-6.
Light: Partial Sun to Dappled Light.
Use: Grows best outdoors in the bog garden or pots.