View Full Version : Growing Cypripedium californicum from seedlings

05-02-2012, 06:54 PM
While my interest in native orchids is nominal, I have been interested in the genus Epipactis and the genus Cypripedium. Both appear to have a similar type
of growth habit as well as a similar habitat of occurrence: basically natural seeps or springs. Because our local weather is fairly mild compared to the areas where Cypripediums normally occur, growing the natives outside of their natural range of occurrence requires some dedicated techniques to meet their cooling off periods and in-pot cultivation for ease of culture.
A couple of years ago I ran across the offering by Spangle Creek Labs
I discovered that they offerred Cypripedium californicum and decided that i would invest the time and space to try and grow them. I also wanted to test out
my gravel base mix on them to see if it would yield good results.
Here are 6 pages that I have put together to bring my experiment up to date.

05-02-2012, 06:58 PM
The final two pages

More journals will be forthcoming.

05-06-2012, 11:05 PM
Wow, this is pretty interesting. I'm not extremely familiar with growing orchids (you may remember from my earlier post that I just recently got my first, an Epipactis gigantea). So I'm curious about a couple things.

1. Can you explain the requirement for vernalization? I assume this plant only grows in climates with a cold winter season, or else this wouldn't be required right? What would happen if you skipped this step?

2. Why do you re-pot the plants every season? Just to replenish nutrients and such? I never would have thought this to be an easy task, but it looks like orchids don't form extremely dense root systems, making separating them from the soil easy. Is this true?

Anyways, this stuff is way cool. Keep it coming!

05-07-2012, 10:06 PM
Thanks Dan for the comments and questions!

Vernalization is necessary for most cyps in our Planting Zone as the extent of daily low temperatures near freezing do not approach 90 consistent days. This is a resting period for the plant. Without the resting period the cyp will slowly waste away over the course of a couple of seasons or maybe 3 years. I have grown Cyps without vernalization but after the second year the plants just did not come back.

Probably most people do not repot every year but then they would have to have lots of room in their refrigerators for potted plants. To me it is easier to depot and bag them up. It gives me a chance to image and to check out the health of each plant. Because the soil mix is basically a gravel base mix and the root system of the cyps are more like rhizoids than like the little roots of petunias, and the like, depotting is relatively easy and can be done with minimal harm to the cyp's roots.