Cypripedium formosanum: container culture? Zone 7a.

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Georgie

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Hello,

This is my first time posting on this forum - and also the first day of membership! So this is half/half a introduction and question really. I have a decent understanding of the culture of tropical orchids, such as Paphs, Phrags, Phals, and a few other genera, and have also grown Pleiones succesfully. I have recently been bit by the garden orchid/hardy orchid bug and would like to dip my toes into this side of the hobby, and particularly the genera Cypripedium! I´m a bit hesitant however about where to start. I have a relatively small garden which doesn´t really have any good spot to plant Cypripediums directly in the ground, so against better judgement I want to grow Cypripediums in containers. I live in in Stockholm, Sweden with a climate zone that corresponds roughly to USDA zone 7a.

So my question really boils down to: is it possible to have Cypripedium formosanum and guttatum (and the likes) grown in large containers? My idea is to build wooden containers of decent size (not very tall but wide (~50 cm wide and deep and ~30 cm in height, or something close to that)) and to keep them with company plants such as ferns/Hostas. I have a good spot for them during the summer (morning sun untill around 11 AM) and after that some dappled shade. My concern is primarily the overwintering of the plants. I have scoured the internet for information regarding overwintering of potted Cypr., but I have not really found anything other than growers bringing the pots to a cold basement/garage or similar spaces or by vernalizing the plants by putting them in a fridge. I know of a pair of Swedish Cypr.-hybridizers that have sunk potted seedlings and halfmature plants into the ground during the winter in a kind of coldframe and then covering it up, would this be another option as well? And if i go by the route of keeping them in wooden containers, would it be possibly to leave them in the containers during the winter and just protecting them against the worst of winter rains or is the whole endeavour doomed to begin with?

All the best,
Georg
 
http://www.gardensatposthill.net/Cypripedium overview.htm
"In raising Cypripedium seedlings, the only difference for tropical orchids is that Cypripedium must have winter. The easiest way to provide winter for potted plants is to make sure the medium is moist but not wet, then to place the pot into a plastic bag and into the refrigerator for 4 months (5 months is better for most Asian species except for Cypripedium formosanum which comes from a warmer climate). Make sure the pot is placed where the seedlings will not freeze and thaw. Alternatively, pots may be placed in an unheated garage or other area where temperatures will not change rapidly."
 
Thanks for the reply. I´m planning on buying mature plants, as I feel like that gives the best outlook for success. I have an unheated garage at my disposal, but the garage is truly unheated as it is freestandning and not adjacent to any heated buidling. So the temperature in the garage will be approximately be the same as the outside temperature, but probably will fluctuate less. Winter lows this year has been around -18 degr. Celsius.
 
Thanks for the reply. I´m planning on buying mature plants, as I feel like that gives the best outlook for success. I have an unheated garage at my disposal, but the garage is truly unheated as it is freestandning and not adjacent to any heated buidling. So the temperature in the garage will be approximately be the same as the outside temperature, but probably will fluctuate less. Winter lows this year has been around -18 degr. Celsius.
Hi George
From Denmark. I am zone 7a-ish as well.
Pot culture is possible! But…
If pots isn’t in ground in winter the output will be really poor.
Over watering is a huge problem.
You can grow in inorganic matter, and water with fertiliser. I don’t know any that successfully have done it over many years…
Hardy orchids are not for pots… sorry.
Northside of house… or just some shadow. I don’t see the Swedish sun as a huge problem. Equal to the Danish I assume.
You must have a tree that can give some shadow from 12 to 16 in the summer.
If soil is poor, use big tubes 90L+. A lot of drainage in the bottom, a lot of holes.
Here you can grow cypripedium. Guttatum will is easy up here north.
Formosanum can have a bad habit starting growing in March… flowering as the first in April. Sensitive to late frost.
I grow guttatum, nothside of garage. North slope. North side of rocks.
No sun at the roots at all!
It runs into rhododendrons and ferns.
Find me on Facebook if you need sources, info etc.
Bo Thøger Christensen
 

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