This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
As I have had some experience in growing the hardy Cypripediums which "Q" inquires about in the March number of the Monthly, I am glad to give any hints which may help to encourage the cultivation of these very beautiful and curious plants. C. spectabile, C. pubes-cens, and C. paviflorum all grow naturally in cool and partially shaded swamps, and in cultivation need a deep, cool soil of leaf mold, or decayed peaty soil, which if not naturally moist should be kept so by frequent watering and mulching of decayed leaves, and they thrive better when planted in partial shade as on the north side of evergreens, though not under their drip. C. acaule I have never succeeded in keeping alive over two or three years, and after the first year it grows less and less. Its habit is very different from the others, it grows mostly in dry pine woods, often in light sandy soil, sending up its two leaves and flower through the thick carpet of pine needles. I think from observation the most certain way to domesticate it would be to sow the seeds in locations similar to where it naturally grows.
The seed capsules are ripe by September. There is also a rare white variety of this species.
There are two other native species, C. candi-dum, of the Western States, and C. arietinum, a more northern species, not as showy as the others, but well worth cultivating, the former a pure white, the latter the smallest species, peculiar in form and color. They both will grow in cultivation, requiring similar soil and treatment to the more showy species first mentioned.