In this genus are 45 to 50 species of terrestrial orchids from dry woodlands and marshes of the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The stunning, unusual flowers resemble slippers and have 3 prominent, often slightly twisted, tepals. Lady’s slipper orchids are very rare due to overcollection and habitat destruction. Be sure plants for the garden are not wild collected. Grow in a woodland garden or shady rock garden.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsUnmistakable pouched flowers. Very rare; some are close to extinction. They need a cool climate and are very hardy.
CareGrow in light to part shade in a woodsy soil that is moist and neutral to acidic. Choose a sheltered site. Mulch with leaf mold in winter.
PropagationDivide carefully in spring, being sure some of the soil from the root ball stays with each division.
ProblemsGray mold, rust, leaf spot, slugs.