Cypripediums have a reputation for being very difficult to grow and even more difficult to acquire. Plants in the wild have become rare due to changes in land use and illegal harvesting of the plants. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) was introduced to help protect species in the wild including Orchidaceae.
Conservation work with botanic gardens and other organisations will hopefully stop the decline of vulnerable species. Cypripediums are now being grown from seed collected from cultivated species and through improved techniques in Holland large numbers of the plants are now available to the public.
The plants are hardy and given the right conditions of dappled shade and moisture retentive soil they can be grown very successfully.
The Botanics’ Shop at Edinburgh has five varieities of Cypripediums for sale – C. regina; C. regina ‘Alba’; C. ‘
Parville’; C. ‘Kentucky’ and C. ‘Pueblo’ along with several other hardy orchids – Dactylorhizza, Epipactis gigantea and Epipactis palustris. There are also Bletillas and Pleione formosanas for sale which are not so hardy but make lovely, easy to grow orchid specimens for the window sill.