Slipper flowers, scientifically called Calceolaria Integrifolia, are a genus of the plant family called slipper flowers (Calceolariaceae). They are in the order of labiates (Lamiales). The plant originates from Central and also South America. There it grows in the mountainous regions. At present, some cultivated species are known, which is very popular as a balcony and houseplant. Also on flower beds or as ornamental plants you can find a use.
The leaves of the plant are fleshy and slightly hairy. In terms of shape, they are ovate as well as oval and elongated. They grow cross-like on the stems and a have a serrated, jagged edge, depending on the variety.
The colorful flowers, which are an imposing and bright appearance, resemble the shape of slippers, hence the name. To flower connoisseurs, the flowers remind of lady’s slipper orchids because of the similar appearance. The flowers, which appear singly and have belly-like lower lips, come into focus of many hobby gardeners from the month of May.
On the side as well as main shoots are panicles, which bloom both in September and October, depending on weather conditions. There are also other varieties of slipper flower available in retail stores as well as specialty flower stores and nurseries. Whether spotted, with red or orange flowers, there are many variations to choose from.
When a slipper flower is properly developed, capsule fruits form on it. Flaps, which are located on them, open. In this connection, they release smaller seeds, which is spread by the wind and the prevailing weather.
Slipper flowers, due to their neotropical distribution, grow not only in Central and South America, but also mainly in southern Ecuador, parts of Peru, Cajamarca and the Amazon. In Tierra del Fuego and Mexico, the plant is also very common. In principle, it can be said that the further north you go, the less species diversity there is.
Planters as well as window boxes are perfect for showing off slipper flowers in gardens or on balconies, for example, and setting them off properly. Due to their yellow, bright as well as distinct flowers, a handsome contrast is formed. If slipper flowers are placed at the site combined with other plants, which bloom, for example, in purple or blue, they form together a colorful ensemble. Many amateur gardeners also plant them as a bed decoration in the home garden. They bloom annuals, but are very low maintenance.
Plants such need sun and should be planted in a bright place, as well as grown. However, they should not be exposed to the hot midday heat. Slipper flowers need regular as well as thorough watering. Waterlogging must be avoided at all costs. During longer dry periods, watering must be done more often.
Slipper flowers need sandy and nutrient-rich soil. A soil rich in humus has a positive effect on the plants during cultivation and care. Adding lime is not recommended, but azalea soil is. When growing must be ensured adequate plant spacing to reduce the likelihood of infestation by pests. Optionally, amateur gardeners can add azalea fertilizer. However, the use of substrates and fertilizers should be made only as needed and individual soil conditions.
The botanical genus name Calceolaria is derived from the word Calceolarius meaning “shoemaker”. Like most plants, the slipper flower has its name from Latin. It used to be integrated into the genus Scrophulariaceae.
Since 2001 they form a separate family genus together with Jovellana. This was achieved and realized by gene sequence analyses. Currently, there is no evidence that slipper flower is toxic as such. Whether it has any benefit as a medicinal plant, as previously thought, cannot be confirmed at present.