05 May2009

Slipper Orchids

by Marketman


My mom was an avid amateur grower of orchids. She had a lot of vandas (her favorite), phalaenopsis (butterfly or moth orchids) and denrobiums (so easy to keep happy), cattleyas (a multiple bloom from one of her cattleyas was cause for major celebration) as well as lots and lots of other more “native” species. Occasionally, she would come across a slipper orchid and I seem to recall her drilling it into my head that they were indigenous to the Philippines, Luzon in particular, and worthy of temporary awe. I wasn’t fond of orchids then, but somehow the data was retained in one of the rusty recesses of my brain. So when my suki plant dealer at the FTI Saturday market showed me this wonderful blooming Haynaldianum or slipper orchid, and quoted me a rather reasonable sounding PHP250, I bought it and took it home in order to drill into the Teen’s memory banks exactly what my mom had told me…


The first bloom was indeed stunning, and luckily, a second equally robust bloom opened a few days later. The intricacy of the petals and coloration really do make you want to pause for a moment and appreciate just how beautiful it is. The Teen took the photo up top, and after we discussed the orchid for a few minutes, I hope that it will linger in her memory as well. I hope she is cognizant of some of the less common, but awe-inspiring natural things that are native to her country of birth. Today would have been my mom’s 83rd birthday if she were still around… I’m sure she will be amused to see what orchid I picked to feature in today’s post. :)



  1. sonia says:

    this post reminds me so much of my own mother , a orchid lover like your mom. like you, i took for granted the orchids she grew and the little stories she had about them as i did her fine cooking or her generally elegant taste and her love of books. little did i realize that those things somehow got embedded in me and would shape my adulthood!
    i am sure the Teen is absorbing all that you surround her with.
    thanks for a big dose of nostalgia

    May 5, 2009 | 6:00 am


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  3. ntgerald says:

    That is Paphiopedilum haynaldianum, a multifloral paph. We have other paphiopedilums endemic to the Philippines, even more lovely.

    May 5, 2009 | 6:16 am

  4. Lou says:

    Thanks MM. Got a little bit homesick at this post, my Mom is an avid gardener – forever collecting seeds and cuttings –and our family home in Bulacan is just a little pocket of Eden. I wonder if this will grow out here in Vancouver. I rather think the slipper orchid would be a zone 10 species…

    May 5, 2009 | 7:24 am

  5. betty q. says:

    Lou: Yes, orchids such as Lady’s Slipper will grow provided you keep them indoors. Nadine, my very good dear friend and edible mushroom picking partner grows them in her apartment over at the West End. She has a whole kaboodle of orchids from the really really tiny ones to the giant cattleyas. Her apartment indeed looks like a RAINFOREST!!!!

    May 5, 2009 | 8:20 am

  6. sister says:

    Mom would have loved this post in honour of her birthday, she just grew and loved so many of them, moved them from home to home, and they all died with her it seemed. I’m sad she won’t be around for her first grandaughter’s wedding, she would have been so into the preparations, the cake, the dress, the flowers. In her honour I have ordered 50 phalaenoposis philippensis to blanket the reception area with their elegant white blooms. Overused these days now that they are easy to cultivate but still retaining their wonderful gracefulness on those long stems.

    May 5, 2009 | 8:23 am

  7. Brother says:

    Happy Birthday Mom !!!

    May 5, 2009 | 8:51 am

  8. NYCMama says:

    Wow! Everyone is speaking of orchids and their mothers including me, today! My boss was complaining about the orchids in his office (there are 10 plants in there now, 2 are dying, and one I was able to make bloom again, a first for me.) He kept asking why the two were dying, and asking so many orchid questions in general. I kept answering them and he said “how do you know” and I said “My mom used to grow them, so I know” So then suddenly I remembered all the orchid cuttings my mom would bring home from Bangkok, and cultivate in our backyard….” Nice memories, and nicely timed post MM, thank you!

    May 5, 2009 | 8:54 am

  9. Rhea says:

    Thanks for this post, MM! I was touched by this story, especially with the references to your mom. My mom too, when she was alive, had a garden-full of orchids – all that you’ve mentioned, plus a few other flowering plants. I used to resent it when she would ask me to water or fertilize them, or clean them with a toothbrush to get rid of some parasites on their leaves.

    When she died in ’99, it seemed as if the whole garden and house died with her. The flowers bloomed until a couple of months after her death, but soon after, they slowly perished as no one had the green thumb nor the interest to sustain it.

    When our dad died in ’06, it seemed as if all three of us children were awaken to the reality that our parents were gone. Now, me and my younger sister, together with our sis-in-law work together to revive our gardens at home. It might not be as good or it might not have as many exotic plants as my mom’s gardens, but having plants around the house make it seem as if the house is alive again. It’s always a joy to come home and sit on the carabao grass, or just walk around and take pictures of the flowers. It doesn’t even seem like a chore anymore to water them or be out in the sun to pamper the plants.

    Thanks again for the post, MM. It made me remember my mom and appreciate all the lessons she gave me.

    May 5, 2009 | 10:02 am

  10. diday says:

    Sister, I can picture the elegant white flowers swaying gently at the reception area. My older sister and I inherited our mother’s green thumb. Mama can grow anything and I would often buy her the white phalaenopsis and the mini white ones at garden shows. My moderate approach of coaching my mother into growing what I want to see in her garden. To me, white coloured phalaenopsis portraits elegance and grace.

    May 5, 2009 | 10:22 am

  11. Marketman says:

    Rhea, NYCMama et al, we had a heavy downpour last night and this morning I walked around the yard, to see how happy the plants would be, and realized that we have at least 8 phalaenopsis orchids in bloom, with over 60 individual blooms! Yup, my mom would have been thrilled. But I must give most of the credit to the part-time gardener, Mang Jun, whose efforts are the primary reason the plants and orchids are thriving! :)

    May 5, 2009 | 11:39 am

  12. dragon says:

    Moms & gardens/orchids…my mom loved to putter in her small garden. She wasn’t into orchids or anything flowering; she just loved the greens, to see something bloom/thrive under her care–give her much joy and not headaches (unlike children???). I have just bought my first orchid: a purple phalaenopsis. If I manage not to kill this, I will get some more and expand to other species. I think my mom (and grandma) would have loved and appreciated…

    May 5, 2009 | 12:14 pm

  13. dishesandplaces says:

    i’m not an orchid person (or a flower person for that matter), but i do appreciate their beauty.

    and my interest in orchids has piqued since reading the orchid thief by susan orlean. totally amazed at the lengths collectors would go to

    May 5, 2009 | 12:59 pm

  14. roelm says:

    Hi Marketman,
    May I ask, in what medium is your Paphiopedilum haynaldianum currently growing? People sometimes put paphiopedilums in soil when they are often actually lithophytic and sometimes epiphytic …

    May 5, 2009 | 1:33 pm

  15. GayeN says:

    These are really pretty MM!!

    May 5, 2009 | 3:08 pm

  16. GayeN says:

    Hi MM! With your permission (another off topic since I’m not sure if bettyq will be able to read my reply if I reply on the dried kamias post)

    Hi Betty q., I went back and read you reply. I hear your friend also wants some dried kamias? Please email me at g.niango[at]yahoo[dot]com.

    thanks again MM!

    May 5, 2009 | 3:12 pm

  17. GayeN says:

    These are really pretty!!!

    My aunt, also an avid orchid collector, has some tiny slipper orchids. I’m sure if these are the same slipper orchids above.

    May 5, 2009 | 3:14 pm

  18. denise says:

    Hi MM…nice post! Both my mom and grandmom have lots of orchids back home, I remember my grandmom had these white cattleyas for the longest time and they didn’t bloom, so my mom took it (from bataan) and put it in our garden (in antipolo…and amazingly it bloomed after a few months…and she managed to propagate it and sent back to my grandmom (with matching multi-blooms in one stalk)…and now she has different coloured blooms as well :D

    my grandmom also has those orchids that hang from the tree and looks like a curtain

    May 5, 2009 | 6:13 pm

  19. marissewalangkaparis says:

    So timely MM!! An ode to your Mom. It is only when they are gone that we fully realize how precious their lessons are to us.
    To all Moms—Happy Mothers Day on Sunday!!! We love you. I miss my Mom who passed away in 2002….Miss you Mom….

    May 5, 2009 | 6:18 pm

  20. ragamuffin girl says:

    nothing to do with your current post, but rather with your feeding program. have you watched this video by a PInoy which won first place at a filmfest?


    May 5, 2009 | 9:26 pm

  21. corrine says:

    So apt for Mother’s Day! Yes, why do orchids and moms go together? My mother also grew a lot of orchids. The phalaenopsis seemed too common those days but boy, do I love them today! Those orchids went one by one since she had stroke. Aha, an orchid will be the perfect gift for her on Sunday and probably a lot of mothers.

    May 5, 2009 | 9:28 pm

  22. Cecilia says:

    Yes, this post is making me feel nostalgic. And I now, too, grow and nurture orchids. Perhaps not as sophisticated as our mothers. And I am pretty sure my daughters will be continuing the same. Thank you again, Marketman, for a lovely post.

    May 6, 2009 | 3:50 am

  23. Maria Clara says:

    During the time of our Mothers they relied on repotting a matured plant for new growth of orchids. I watched the science television program the other night where they featured the new modern marvel of propagating orchids called in vitro done in a laboratory after collecting the specimens from a flowering orchid with a cotton swab and kept the swab in a sealed test tube and sent it to a lab in Thailand for growth and culture. Once the seedlings reached a certain stage of development they ship them back to their country of destinations for further cultivation, growth, flowering and marketing.

    May 6, 2009 | 7:31 am

  24. ntgerald says:


    Flasking of seedpods is also being done here in the Philippines.

    May 6, 2009 | 8:55 am

  25. Maria Clara says:

    ntgerald thanks much for the enlightening info.

    May 6, 2009 | 12:28 pm

  26. shalimar says:

    A friend took me for a drive to Key Largo when I was based in Florida. Instead of taking the usual route he took be west by Homestead,

    There one nursery after each other selling orchids… I told my friend its just like Philippines.

    This orchid cost around $80 online flower delivery,

    May 9, 2009 | 2:29 pm

  27. jessa says:

    where can i get these for Php250? tnx

    Sep 6, 2009 | 11:45 am

  28. Marketman says:

    I got these at the Saturday FTI market. But that was a few months ago, they are seasonal.

    Sep 6, 2009 | 11:46 am


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