Cypripedium seedling hints

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Feb 21, 2023
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Baltimore, Maryland, USA
With time under my belt, I can offer some tips for raising Cypripediums from flasklings. Most importantly, know that it is a cruel world for the little Cyp babies. Direct in-ground planting at this stage invariably gives low yields. At least a year in a protective potted environment will greatly enhance survival. For these — candidum and pubescens — the mix I use is 1:1:1:1:1 ProMix HP with mycorhiza:Turface:Soil Perfector:coarse perlite:horticultural charcoal. I prefer large plastic bulb pans. The candidum are top dressed with crushed oyster shell and Kentucky limestone chips. They live outside on the Habenaria bench, well above the ground, and are kept evenly moist. NEVER let them dry out. I sprinkle about a tablespoon of Osmocote Plus for food. Though pubescens propagates readily from division, I want more clones from diverse sources. The first post-planting-out vernalization will be in my hardy orchid refrigerator.

Cypripedium candidum
Cypripedium candidum IMG_9950.JPG

Cypripedium pubescens
Cypripedium pubescens IMG_9951.JPG
I used the pretty much the same mix in Baltimore,MD and here in Ohio. Had at best a 50% survival rate per flask. I started them (kentuckiense, and pubescens) in a protective cold frame before moving them to a raised bench.