Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cypripedium hybrid 'Aki Light"

Cypripedium "Aki Light" blooming in my garden now
     I have previously written about cypripediums here.  Today, I want to focus on one of the hybrid cypripediums that is blooming now in my garden.  As I have previously mentioned, I have found the hybrids to be easier garden plants than the straight species.  This particular hybrid in the picture is called 'Aki Light' and it is a Frosch hybrid from Germany.  Frosch is one of the leading hybridizers of cypripediums and most of the hybrids on the market now come from his breeding program. 
     'Aki Light' is a cross between C. macranthos and C. pubescens.  Apparently, the flower color can vary somewhat from year to year and from plant to plant.  'Aki Light' is supposed to have large flowers for a cyp and this one certainly seems to be larger than some of my other cyp flowers.  According to what I have read online, it is supposed to have twice as large flowers as another relatively commonly available hybrid called 'Gisela', which I also have in my garden.
     Cypripediums are not cheap plants, and one of the reasons for this is that the nursery trade must grow baby cyps in flasks in laboratories--they are extremely difficult to grow from seed otherwise.  I suppose this is true of many if not all orchids.  While some orchids, such as Dactylorhizas, self sow in a garden, if one sets out to deliberately sow them, they are much more difficult.  I suppose that given the right conditions even cyps would self sow, but that happy event has not yet occurred in my garden.
     In any event, to grow cyps in large quantities, one must buy flasked seedlings from a lab, and then grow them on for several years before they are big enough to fend for themselves in a garden.  This whole process is fraught with difficulties in keeping the plants alive, and hence, the high price of cyps. 


  1. I've just planted a Cyp. 'Aki Frosch' which must be like your plant. So happy to learn of success even a continent away.
    Dorothy Swift in RI

  2. Just discovering your blog...I shall come back soon !