Paphiopedilum Leeanum

The slipper parade continues, it is Paphiopedilum season after all. Let me present Paphiopedilum Leeanum, a lovely primary hybrid with Paphiopedilum insigne as the seed parent and Paphiopedilum spicerianum as the pollen contributor. It is an old classic as far as hybrids go, registered in Britain in back in 1884 when the orchid hybridization craze was first gaining momentum. Leeanum was one of the first of many successful insigne crosses exhibiting enormous vitality and eagerness to bloom, a quality making insigne very popular in hybridization programs. Once plentiful in cultivation Leeanum is now a bit more scarce even though I feel it is making a bit of a comeback.

Arguably there was no need to improve on the original species in this case, but I think this cross still holds merit as it has inherited all the best from both its parents. The grace and classic lines are still there but the flower is a tad larger and more flamboyant. Having lost a smidgen of the insigne graphic pattern in the sail enough remain to make a statement along with the amazing shape the spicerianum sail adds to the party. Leeanum usually blooms in the winter and the flower has some nice staying power, usually lasting a couple of months or more. It does not requite a whole lot of light and is pretty easy to grow, but with two intermediate growing parents it should be grown as such. I water pretty evenly year round, only slightly drier for a few months right after it is done flowering in the winter. Since both parents are calcareous I add a little crushed sea shells to the potting mix of medium bark and small leca.

Paphiopedilum Leeanum. Lawrence 1884.

By | 2015-11-15T12:57:53+01:00 November 15th, 2015|Categories: My orchids, Orchid blog|Tags: , , |10 Comments

About the Author:

Karma is a digital nomad graphic artist and writer, orchid nerd and long-distance hiker from Gothenburg, Sweden. Former editor-in-chief for the Swedish Orchid Society magazine, published internationally and held lectures on orchid culture.


  1. Ted Poe November 16, 2015 at 00:01 - Reply

    Oh, it’s lovely, Karma! Thanks!

    I just realized how soon you’ll be leaving for Costa Rica. I hope all of your planning is going well. You must be getting excited.


    • Karma November 16, 2015 at 11:52 - Reply

      Thank you Ted! 🙂 Yes, the countdown for Costa Rica is really on… not many days left now. I feel ready though, it is going to be sooo much fun!!!

  2. Olga January 27, 2016 at 14:36 - Reply

    Hi, I really enjoy your pictures of paphs made on the background of northern nature. So great contrast between beauty of the tropical plant and severe scandinavian nature.

    • Karma February 1, 2016 at 10:53 - Reply

      Thanks Olga! Glad you like it. I never thought about it in that way (I was just seeking natural light), but now that you say it, it is pretty cool. 🙂

  3. William Gordon November 2, 2016 at 13:53 - Reply

    I enjoy the website. Nature, orchids, great for the spirit. I have been interested in orchids to the point of obsession for 40 years. but have been able to grow them sporadically for practical reasons. They are incredible and fortunately they are widely grown in the world. I follow a lot of web sites with info and pictures, nurseries and shows. One I especially like is: Peter Lin, Diamond Orchids in southern California with a lot of photos on his Flickr photo site.
    I do not know how to post a link. He has a Flickr photo site with a lot of photos. I especially enjoy the miniature gardens from the Japan Gran Prix Orchid Shows. He has photos of them.
    His Flickr photo site is called: Peter mini-cats. One way to find it is enter: Peter Lin Diamond Orchids into Google. Select: More from the top right menu. Click on photos. Scroll down to the last photo to connect with the Flickr site. The 2015, 2009 and 2010 Gran Prix albums have photos of the mini gardens. There is also an album of mini gardens from Gran Prix.
    I hope the orchid growing and hiking continue.
    Stay well,
    Bill Gordon

    • Karma November 2, 2016 at 14:03 - Reply

      Thanks Bill! Very nice to hear that you enjoy my blog. 🙂 Thanks for the tip, but I actually already know of Peter Lin. I ran an article about his mini-catts in the Swedish orchid society magazine when I was the editor a few years back. Lovely creations and I too enjoy his photos. Keep enjoying orchids and take care! /Karma

  4. William Gordon November 2, 2016 at 14:31 - Reply

    Thanks Karma,
    I know there are are a lot of orchid web sites. Just a few more I like.
    The Thailand Paphiopedilum Club has a Facebook page with about 1000 photos.
    Antonia Orchids in Columbia has a YouTube site with videos of their orchids outdoor shows.

    • Karma November 2, 2016 at 15:36 - Reply

      I will have to check them out too, thanks! 🙂

  5. William Gordon November 2, 2016 at 16:53 - Reply

    Hi Karma,
    One last note. Lindenia, iconography of orchids published by John Linden in the 1890’s has wonderful color lithographs of orchids. Perhaps you know about the series. There are 13 volumes with descriptions
    and plates. The entire series can be found online. Th Smithsonian Biodiversity Heritage site has many scanned monographs of 19th century natural history illustration online.
    Enter: Lindenia, Smithsonian Biodiversity Heritage into Google to find it. The monographs can be downloaded or viewed online.
    Your writing about orchids is very good.

    • Karma November 2, 2016 at 17:02 - Reply

      Thanks again! Always nice to know someone likes what you do! 🙂 Oh I know about the Lindenia… lovely resource!

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