Slipper flowers (Calceolaria) – The Complete Guide

The exotic slipper flowers, also known as lady’s purses, slipperwort, and pocketbook flowers, owe their name to their bright yellow, striking flowers.

As charming houseplants, opulent Calceolaria hybrids have taken many hearts by storm. New cultivars also thrive magnificently in the bed and on the balcony.

Planting the Slipper Flower

You want to plant the slipper flower in the bed only after mid-May. Choose a place in a half-shady, humid, and a rather cold location in lime-free, humus-rich soil.

Soak the potted root ball in lime-free water until no more air bubbles rise. Meanwhile, dig out spacious planting holes at a distance of 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) to enrich the soil with leaf compost, horn shavings, or bog soil.

Now put the potted flowers so deep that the substrate reaches just below the lower pair of leaves. Finally, water them with soft water and spread a layer of mulch.

Care tips

The linchpin of the successful cultivation of slipper flowers is the choice of location. If all relevant conditions are met here, the care program is limited to the following points:

  • Keep the substrate evenly moist with lime-free water.
  • Spray the leaves and flowers repeatedly with a fine mist of soft water.
  • Fertilize with liquid fertilizer every 8-10 days during the growing and blooming season.
  • Fertilize slipper flowers in the bed every 14 days with acidic leaf compost and horn shavings.

Periodically prune out wilted flower stalks for months of bloom. Near the end of the annual indoor Calceolaria, harvest the seed heads or take cuttings for propagation.

If you think about wintering the garden slipper flowers, cut the plants back by no more than two-thirds and tuck them away in a dark, cool basement.

Until next spring, water the flowers sparingly and do not apply any fertilizer. In April, repot the overwintered plants and gradually accustom them to more light and higher temperatures.

Which Location is Suitable for Slipper Flowers?

All Calceolaria species prefer a bright, not full sun location with temperatures between 60 and 65 °F (16 and 18 °C).

Even under ideal light conditions, the sensitive beauties do not tolerate cold drafts, bad room air, and certainly not tobacco smoke.

The exotic plants feel best at a north window, on a half-shady or shady balcony, and in a low-light, cool bed.

What Soil Do Slipper Flowers Need?

The slipper flower likes to stretch out its tender roots in humic, well-drained, and primarily lime-free soil.

To meet these requirements in indoor and pot culture, we recommend using bog soil as a substrate.

If you like to mix it yourself, add 1 part garden soil and 1 part standard or azalea soil, 2 parts leaf compost, and some lava granules.

When is Flowering Time for Slipper Flowers?

Lush Calceolaria hybrids for indoor cultivation delight us with a winter-blooming season from January to May. Following this, the plants die back.

In contrast, the bush slipperwort (Calceolaria integrifolia) and the two-flowered slipper flower (Calceolaria biflora) put themselves in the limelight from June to August/September in the bed and on the balcony.

To keep the tropical flowers going over this long period, cut off wilted flower stalks promptly, to just above the next bud.

Watering Slipper Flowers

During the growing and blooming season, water the slipper flower evenly with soft water. Be sure to avoid overhead sprinkling to prevent damage to the delicate flowers.

These distinctive flowers are immensely grateful for a very fine mist of filtered rainwater.

Fertilizing Slipper Flowers Properly

In the pot and window box, nutrient supplies are quickly depleted. Therefore, fertilize the slipper flower every 8-10 days during its growth and flowering period with a liquid, low-lime preparation.

In the bed, the exotic grace gladly accepts a portion of leaf compost with horn shavings every 14 days.

Wintering Slipper Flowers

Native to sun-drenched regions in South America, the slipper flower lacks any winter hardiness. Consequently, the majority of these exotic plants are cultivated as an annual in most regions, especially since they are quite inexpensive to purchase.

Robust species, such as the bush slipperwort (Calceolaria integrifolia), however, have the potential of overwintering. Place cut-back plants in a bright, cool basement. Water them occasionally without applying fertilizer.

Propagating Slipper Flowers

At the end of its flowering period, the slipper flower presents us with small capsule fruits, bulging with fine seeds.

Between December and February, you can sow the obtained seeds. Do not cover the light sprouts with substrate and ideally place the seed pots in a heated indoor greenhouse.

At a constant 64 °F (18 °C), keep the soil constantly slightly moist. Following germination, lower the temperature to 54-57 °F (12-14 °C).

Prick out the strongest seedlings into individual pots when they have at least 2 pairs of leaves. Of course, we will enjoy the first flowering of seedling-propagated slipper flowers only in the following year.

Propagation by means of cuttings is less complicated. To do this, cut off 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) short, non-flowering side shoots during the flowering period and defoliate them in the lower part.

In small pots with a lean substrate, grow Calceolaria on a half-shaded windowsill at 57-64 °F (14-18 °C).

The Slipper Flower in a Pot

On a flower bench at a north or west window, the tropical slipper flower conjures up a bright flush of flowers in the midst of the cold season.

Cultivation in a pot goes smoothly if you take the following measures to heart:

  • Use a slightly acidic, loose, and nutrient-rich substrate, such as azalea or bog soil.
  • A clay shard over the soil opening effectively prevents waterlogging.
  • Water the slipper flower evenly and spray it regularly with lime-free water.
  • Fertilize with liquid fertilizer every 8-10 days from January to May.

Consistently remove wilted flower stalks to keep the plant from engaging in energy-sapping seed growth.

At the end of their blooming season, the opulent Calceolaria breathe out their floral life and are discarded.

Is the Slipper Flower Poisonous?

Almost certainly, the slipper flower is not poisonous. However, since there is a lack of scientific evidence in this regard so far, we still advise against using these pretty flowers for food and beverage decoration or consumption.

Beautiful Varieties

  • Goldbukett: An innovative new cultivar with golden yellow flowers, which is convincing in the bed and on the balcony. It grows up to 8-10 inches (20-25 cm).
  • Goldari: A valuable F1 hybrid with robust, richly flowering in bright yellow. It is ideal for flower borders and the balcony. The growth height is 12 inches (30 cm).
  • Goldcap: This dwarf variety impresses with yellow, red dotted flowers and a compact habit. It grows only 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) high.
  • Sunset Orange Bicolor: A premium variety with yellow-orange spotted, large flowers for bed, balcony and windowsill. The growth height is 10-12 inches (25-30 cm).
Data protection
Daniel Popovic, Owner: (Registered business address: Germany), would like to process personal data with external services. This is not necessary for using the website, but allows me to interact even more closely with them. If desired, please make a choice:
Data protection
Daniel Popovic, Owner: (Registered business address: Germany), would like to process personal data with external services. This is not necessary for using the website, but allows me to interact even more closely with them. If desired, please make a choice: