Culture of Cypripedium subtropicum: Initial observations

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Feb 21, 2023
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Baltimore, Maryland, USA
With the advent of seed-propagated Cypripedium subtropicum at a reasonable price from Hengduan Mountains Biotechnology, I have been able to try the species under several conditions and can report initial success under one set of conditions.
I attempted last year with limited beginning success. The seedlings were potted in a mix of equal parts Turface, Espoma Soil Perfector, and corse perlite, a mix used with great success for other Cypripediums by Ronald Burch. The seedlings started in my air-conditioned greenhouse with the thought that as Cypripediums, they might need cool conditions in winter, even in the subtropics. Keying on the species name subTROPICum, I moved the sprouted seedling to the warm/intermediate half of the greenhouse. It received the same quality Baltimore water as my other plants with the addition of a small amount of Osmocote fertilizer. The plant did well for two months and then collapsed.
This year, I tried again, keeping two pots in the cool section, which never exceeds 75°F and enjoys good air circulation. I have NOT given additional fertilizer, though the water contains very weak Cal-Mag through a proportioner. The other two pots were kept in the warm/intermediate section. I have found that the cool section has been a good home over many years for the Vietnamese/Chinese Paphiopedilum species (vietnamense, armeniacum, micranthum, canhii, and hangianum among others) and Cypripedium subtropicum's range straddles that border. The two pots in the cool section have grown vigorously and have maintained good color. Only one of the warm pots sprouted and it does not look happy.
There is still a while to go before I can be certain, but I hope to save others from trying the species warm. Wenqing Perner reports that Cypripedium subtropicum does not have a dormancy period.
In summary, what tentativeliy looks good is well-drained inorganic mix with very low fertility. Grow as a cool mountain plant.


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Just share some information related to habitat of this species so it can give you some more idea how to grow this species.
I have chance to see them grow in their habitat for many years, this species does not have a dormancy period like many species grow in other cold countries. C.subtropicum grow from altitude of 1500-1700m above sea level and it grow direct form the soil. The new plant stat to grow from November of the year and start flower end of July to early of August then plant keep on growing. The plant very tall - up to 1,8-2m hight. The templeture during the day normally from 15-30oC (during winter it can be down to 5oC), the templeture between day and night very different and it could be 10oC different. They grow directly on soil so the root always get good humid but never get wet. They like the shadow and just need around 60% of light.
Thank you. This is very valuable information. Fortunately, it is consistent with what I've been giving them, treating them like my Paphiopedilums vietnamense and hangianum. Pictured is my happiest subtropicum, now 1 year in Baltimore cultivation.


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