From Paphia – the town of Paphos on Cyprus which was the main seat of worship for Aphrodite (Venus). Pedilon means slipper, hence its common names – slipper orchid or lady slipper orchid. It is pronounced PA-fee-oh-ped-ill-um.
The leaves of Paphiopedilums tend to be either long and narrow, or short and rounded, depending on the species. However, all varieties are characterised by their dorsal sepal, which protrudes from the pouch of the blossom. The leaves can range from mottled to glossy and green or leathery and stiff. These orchids can reach heights of about one metre.
They are native to the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, India and southern China. They thrive in very humid, hot climates and will do best in temperatures of between 15 and 35 degrees Celsius.
Although this genus of plant is available throughout the year, the flowering season for the Paphiopedilum begins in November and finishes at the end of December, so it is usually recommended to buy them sometime in late October.
This plant is a member of the Orchidaceae family. There are currently 80 species of Paphiopedilums, many of which are natural hybrids of other species in the genus. Orchids of this genus can be found growing wild on forest floors among the humus layers of the soil.
Paphiopedilums require indirect light, although most varieties can tolerate a small amount of direct sun exposure in the early mornings.
In terms of watering, they need to be kept constantly moist, without being soaked through and should preferably be watered at the start of the day so that they are drier when the temperatures drop at night.