Cypripedium hybrids have the added advantage over species in that in the main they come with hybrid vigour and are easier to grow than most of the species. In particular they allow us to grow plants that look similar to specific species in conditions where the species would rapidly decline and die. This is particularly so of a number of the Chinese species and some of the high mountain species of America.
The full details of growing cypripediums can be found under the species section as the same requirements apply but success if often greater.
Dormant plants are sent out potted in a mix with very little organic matter. This mix has proved very effective in the efforts to grow quality cypripediums in the UK. On receipt plants should be kept damp throughout the winter and in as cold a place as possible. Plants kept in any warmth will start growing far too early and suffer in the spring. If purchases are to be planted out then this is possible provided the soil is not frozen. The rhizomes should be planted in the pots they are received in to avoid contaminating the mix with soil. It is also sensible to put a copper ring around the pot to protect it from slugs in the spring.
If the plants are to be kept in the pot then the pots can be kept in th.e garden or a cold frame or in the bottom of a cold greenhouse.
Plase not that the roots on cypripediums vary greatly both in length and colour. Many of the Chinese species have short stubby roots which are quite fat and do not expand every year. Others like parviflorum have longer thinner roots.
The root colour depends in part on species used but more important on the mix used by the grower. Ignore what is written about cream coloured roots only. These plants will have been grown in an inorganic mix for some years. Where a mix with a reasonable amount of organic material has been used the roots are usually anything from dark cream to dark brown. Neither do some types have white tips after they have finished growing in the early autumn.
Plants purchased in the spring will have come from my sheltered shade area so will be quite hardy. At a major show however they may have been in a building for several days. These I would suggest should be hardened off in a shady cold frame or against the side of a house before being planted out.