Cypripedium californicum-potting up video

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by terrestrial_man, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. terrestrial_man

    terrestrial_man Active Member 10 Years

    Likes Received:
    California, USA
    In California there are only 4 species of Cypripedium occurring naturally. One species, C. parviflorum, is found in just about every state in Canada and the United States. One species, C. montanum, appears to be a high montane resident in the northern Rocky Mountains, the Cascades, and in the Coast Ranges and northern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, as well as extending at lower elevations into Alaska. A third species, C. fasciculatum, is restricted in occurrence to the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Utah northward into Montana and idaho, extending into the Cascades of Washington and southward through the Cascades and northern Coast Ranges into California, where populations are also found in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains.
    C. californicum is basically an endemic to the southwestern counties of Oregon and the northwestern counties of California extending coastwise down to near San Francisco Bay, being found on Mt. Talmalpais, and into the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains.

    Over the course of the past 30 years I have made a few attempts of growing North American native Cypripedium species here in Santa Maria, California, which is located in northern Santa Barbara County. At first I was fairly ignorant of the type of care that they needed as very little information was available to me and I had no access via the internet to such. While our weather here does dip down into the low 30s F during winter the duration of such is not enough to warrant a successful vernalization of the species. My experiences were that though the plants may survive 3 to 5 years, they tended to decline after the second year of flowering and eventually died off.

    During these past few years I learned of using refrigeration to provide adequate vernalization but found that it was just too much to sit in 1 gallon sized potted plants into my refrigerator. So I ceased the effort.

    However, in my experiments in learning how to grow native Selaginella species I developed a mix that seemed like it would be promising to use in growing cypripediums. So then in looking over the available species of cyp seedlings at Sprangle Creek Labs that I found listed Cypripedium californicum. A very tempting prospect to try! And in checking out its habitat I deduced that it would fare fairly well here in my area during the warm summers provided I kept it well irrigated.

    So then back in late 2009 I placed an order for the minimum order of 5 seedlings which I received in May 2010. I actually got 7 seedlings. I was NOT prepared to receive the seedlings!! I had exhausted my supply of mix in potting up Selaginella species and was not in a position to get the necessary ingredients to make a new batch. So I cobbled together a mix of whatever I could find: old decomposing bark, Lyonothamus leaves (any hardwood leaves would do), crushed up Japanese Maple leaves, and medium sized gravel that I got by sieving out some bags of river sand that I had gotten to use for flood control to protect my garage from rain flooding into it. To say I was somewhat hesitant about the seedlings success when I finally placed them out on the concrete slab just on the north side of my small greenhouse was an understatement! Had my fingers crossed!

    Anyhow 24 March 2013 rolled around and once again I removed the 7 seedlings, now about 4 years old, from my small refrigerator where I had kept them since 10 December 2012 for vernalizatiion. I made it a point to depot and repot each year as that was the only way I could find room for them in the frig!

    Here is a video I made of that day with Cypripedium californicum

    For additional information and images of the flowers of this quaint native Cyp visit:

Share This Page