Warm-growing Cypripediums?

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Ray

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Do such critters exist?

When I lived in PA, I did quite well with them potted in clay pots of LECA, wintering them bare root in a refrigerator crisper drawer. I’d love to try again, but the heat and humidity here in coastal, southeastern North Carolina makes me hesitant.
 

Linus_Cello

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I’ve had trouble with kentuckiensis (in pots, should try in ground). But Gisella and formosanum might be a good start. I think I’m half a zone cooler than you. Also Marc Weathington of the JC Raulston Arboretum grows formosanum, and I think you’re both in the same zone?
 
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tnyr5

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Acaule grows in the croatan forest, don't see why it can't grow just a touch farther south.
 

abax

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Good luck Ray. Cyps. are just difficult in warm climates, even the ones that are native
to the area.
 

Ray

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It has been so long since I had any, can you folks point me to some good vendors?
 

BrucherT

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Do such critters exist?

When I lived in PA, I did quite well with them potted in clay pots of LECA, wintering them bare root in a refrigerator crisper drawer. I’d love to try again, but the heat and humidity here in coastal, southeastern North Carolina makes me hesitant.
Which species did you have? There are a couple native to N.C. I like this book…

 

Sky7Bear

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Gardens at Post Hill has completed a move from CT, I think, to Kitsap County, WA (Puget Sound/Salish Sea area). His product is excellent. I have also used Roberts Flower Supply in Ohio. What I like about him is that he has clumps in addition to single leads.

Ray, have you tried this in semi-hydro? I have, but don't know yet if it will work. I got a late start last spring, so growth wasn't great, but they're all still alive. I am trying them on the deck (keep out of the way of deer) in S/H. They have died back, and now I'm wondering how to get them through the winter. Here by the Salish Sea it doesn't really freeze, that part does not concern me (much), but I wonder if they would be better outside in the elements, inside an unheated greenhouse, or even in the heated greenhouse. I am unsure about their dormant requirements or even how long that period has to be. I have seen plants "forced" into early bloom, so perhaps all they need now is heat and they will grow and bloom early? Kind of expensive to experiment!
 

kitfox

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Probably your best hope will be Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh. Summer there is warmer, but you have fewer chill hours in the winter. Cyp. acaule has native stands close to you, but I am unaware of anyone selling this species, much less one adapted as far south of the Mason Dixon line as you and I are...and trying to move them from rescue sites, which I have done, is notoriously difficult, with high failure rates...

It has been so long since I had any, can you folks point me to some good vendors?
 

Ray

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I only grew a couple of Frosch hybrids - Emil and another I cannot recall - and they were in semi-hydro culture, being grown in terra cotta pots of LECA standing in a tray reservoir.

The first year I had the Emil, it flowered off one growth, but after a year of growth with my usual K-Lite/KelpMax/Inocucor treatment, it had 5 eyes, so after wintering, unpotted, in the crisper and then repotted the following spring, it had four blossoms. After another summer, it was up to 9 eyes, but my wife saw it in the fridge and thought it was some vegetable that had “gone south” and threw it away.
 

Happypaphy7

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You could also just grow them indoors year-round like I do.
Bright windowsill and fridge in the winter? Which one(s) do you have? I would like some smaller shorter growing ones like tibeticum but I'm afraid even AC cooled indoor summer might be too warm for such high elevation species. I do love those dark red fat flowers on short neck. :) I'm not even sure if that's even legal to bring into US. I'll have to contact Hengduan maybe.
 

Happypaphy7

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Of the species I recommend only C. formosanum. C. kentuckiense is too problematic. The hybrids with C. kentuckiense such as Philipp are also candidates.
Tom,
Isn't C. formosanum from the mountainous area in Taiwan, though??
We have a similar looking species in Korea, C. japonicum which only occurs about middle of the country and north, and in the mountain forest area only. So, they really don't like heat at all.
 

tnyr5

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Bright windowsill and fridge in the winter? Which one(s) do you have? I would like some smaller shorter growing ones like tibeticum but I'm afraid even AC cooled indoor summer might be too warm for such high elevation species. I do love those dark red fat flowers on short neck. :) I'm not even sure if that's even legal to bring into US. I'll have to contact Hengduan maybe.
Tibeticum? Sure it's legal, you can get them in the US but the sales season is pretty much over.
I have reginae and pubescens in the fridge right now. All doubled in size this year; they seem to be a little bit easier than the Platantheras. Reginae was perfectly fine in the hot growspace downstairs while active, with 90°+F/75°+F (32°+C/24°+C)day/night, but I did water it every day. I also kept some upstairs in my max-AC bedroom that never goes above 65°F (18°C) with the rest of the more sensitive stuff. They also did well. It's worth noting that I grow with 400w metal halides.
I had some albino acaules from flask which grew beautifully the first season, vernalized fine in the fridge, but died while breaking dormancy. There's some trick of their culture indoors that I have yet to figure out, even with an appropriately acidic mix.
 

Sky7Bear

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Ray, I'm interested in why you unpotted in winter and why you used a clay pot. Size and convenience for the latter? Mine are in gal. milk containers with the top cut off and holes in the side. As for winter, did you think it was too cold or wet in the pots? I'm thinking of taking mine into the unheated GH, which probably won't freeze or if it does, not by much, and let them go dry (and cool) for at least a few months. I'm also curious about how anyone sees the need for dormancy for these. Can I bring them into a warm GH say in January and have flowers for a show in March? Too early? And if they start growing earlier than "usual" do they also go into hibernation earlier than they would if I wait until normal "wake up" time (probably April or even early May her in the PNW). Much to learn. Mine are all NA species--acaule, kentuckiense and one of the yellow ones.
 

Happypaphy7

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Tibeticum? Sure it's legal, you can get them in the US but the sales season is pretty much over.
I have reginae and pubescens in the fridge right now. All doubled in size this year; they seem to be a little bit easier than the Platantheras. Reginae was perfectly fine in the hot growspace downstairs while active, with 90°+F/75°+F (32°+C/24°+C)day/night, but I did water it every day. I also kept some upstairs in my max-AC bedroom that never goes above 65°F (18°C) with the rest of the more sensitive stuff. They also did well. It's worth noting that I grow with 400w metal halides.
I had some albino acaules from flask which grew beautifully the first season, vernalized fine in the fridge, but died while breaking dormancy. There's some trick of their culture indoors that I have yet to figure out, even with an appropriately acidic mix.
Thanks for sharing. Good to know.
What potting mix did you use for your plants?
I think getting out of dormancy can potentially be a problem for some plants since in nature the temperature gradually rises as spring approaches whereas moving from the fridge to outside world is a sudden drastic change that some plants may not tolerate.
I guess for those have access to garage or outdoor space, this can be less of a challenge by keeping the plants outside.
Oh, by the way, is there a reason why you use metal halides instead of say LED?
 

KyushuCalanthe

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Tom,
Isn't C. formosanum from the mountainous area in Taiwan, though??
We have a similar looking species in Korea, C. japonicum which only occurs about middle of the country and north, and in the mountain forest area only. So, they really don't like heat at all.
Based on my experience in southern Japan, at basically sea level, I made these recommendations. The climate here is not really comparable to anywhere in the US, however it is roughly similar to Charleston, SC or Atlanta, GA.

C. formosanum was the only Cyp I ever grew without issues. C. japonicum also grew here fairly well, but for some reason is much more temperamental than C. formosanum, growing well for a time (even increasing) and then slowly fading under the same conditions. C. kentuckiense and C. parviflorum v. pubscens also flourished for several years before giving up the ghost. C. henryi is another species of interest for warm climates, but it too is finicky, and difficult to maintain in the long run (I base this on my experience as well as Holger Perner's and others). Of the hybrids I've tried, only C. Philipp, C. Gisela and C. Aki showed any potential long term success, but all have been very stingy bloomers.

Of course the elephant in the room is the quality of care given. Cypripediums are not easy to grow, even the "easy ones", and that is under the best of conditions - cool temperate climates that rarely have heat waves in summer, and have long, uninterrupted winters. Think southern Canada and northern tier states in the US. Still, a person in that climate could kill even the easiest hybrids, while another person down the road could make them flourish. Go figure. IMO if you can keep a Cyp happy for more than say 10 years running, you've "succeeded".
 

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