Alphabetical Plant Listing

Calypso bulbosa (Fairy Slipper)

Fairy Slipper, Bog Orchid, Calypso Orchid, Venus's Slipper


Calypso bulbosa (Fairy Slipper) is a deciduous, terrestrial orchid boasting a slender, upright stem usually bearing a solitary, nodding, fragrant flower (rarely 2 flowers), 1 in. across (2.5 cm), with bright pink to magenta petals and sepals. Quite showy, the inflated, slipper-like lip is white to pale pink with purple speckling and a crest of yellow or white hairs. Blooming from early spring to mid summer, this short perennial rises from a small, egg-shaped tuber which produces a solitary, broad, oval leaf, 5 in. long (12 cm). Native to Asia, Europe and North America, this showy orchid is found growing in damp places and bogs in coniferous forests, usually in moss or leaf litter at elevations of 0-9900 ft. (0-3000 m). In the garden, it requires a damp, partially shaded position with a mulch of leaf mold. Calypso bulbosa is the only species in this genus. Each corm lives no more than five years.

  • Grows up to 2-8 in. tall (5-20 cm).
  • Performs best in filtered light in acidic, loamy, moist but well-drained soils.
  • A beautiful addition to bog or pond areas as well as containers.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Propagate by carefully separating corms in early spring.
  • Fairy slipper is highly susceptible to even slight disturbances in its environment. Trampling and picking are the primary reasons for its rapid decline in some locations. Picking the flower inevitably kills the plant.
  • Native to Asia, Europe, North America.

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Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 9
Heat Zones 6 – 9
Plant Type Orchids
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid)
Height 2" – 8" (5cm – 20cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Alaska, California, Midwest, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Southwest, Arizona, New Mexico
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ponds and Streams

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Creative Endeavors, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 9
Heat Zones 6 – 9
Plant Type Orchids
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid)
Height 2" – 8" (5cm – 20cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Alaska, California, Midwest, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Southwest, Arizona, New Mexico
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ponds and Streams

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