Slipper flowers are subtropical or hardy and suitable as bedding and balcony plants or as houseplants, with houseplant species generally being hybrids cultivated as annuals.

In this country, the garden slipper flower and herbaceous Calceolaria hybrids cultivated indoors are particularly common. Depending on whether it is a species cultivated indoors or outdoors, they can reach heights of growth of 30-50 cm, outdoors up to 100 cm, and a width of about 30 cm. The bright flowers can be yellow or red but also spotted, marbled, spotted or mackerel. The four petals are fused into a ‘slipper’ typical of this plant, which looks very similar to a real slipper. This plant owes its name to these flowers.

location and soil

The slipper flower Calceolaria loves bright to partially shaded locations without direct sunlight, both indoors and outdoors, although outdoor plants can tolerate a little more sun. While the location in the house should be cool and airy, outdoors a wind-protected place is an advantage. Too warm a place in the house means that the plant withers very quickly. Accordingly, a spot on a west window would make sense, for example.

This plant will usually do well in any regular garden soil. Above all, the soil should be highly permeable and slightly acidic to low in lime. Sandy and gravelly soils are optimal. In the garden, it is advisable to work some mature compost into the soil before planting.

watering and fertilizing

The water requirement of the slipper flower is relatively high. As a result, they should be watered regularly both indoors and outdoors, depending on location and prevailing temperatures. The soil or root ball should never dry out completely, otherwise this plant would dry out relatively quickly.

If the soil has dried out too much, you can safely place potted plants in a bucket filled with water for a short time so that the roots can soak up water. When no more air bubbles rise, take the pot out again. Then you should let the excess water drain well and always remove any water in the saucer. Waterlogging should be avoided at all costs.

For higher humidity, you can place the pot and plant in a container with water in which pebbles have been placed beforehand. The pot is then placed on top of it so that it does not stand in the water, but a certain local humidity is ensured. When watering, no water should get on the leaves and flowers.

  • Fertilizers should be used more sparingly than too much.
  • The slipper flower thrives particularly well in poorly fertilized soil.
  • During flowering, potted plants can be fertilized with liquid fertilizer every 1-2 weeks.
  • In the garden, the incorporation of organic fertilizer is a good idea.
  • Horn shavings and compost are suitable for this.


Slipper flowers, both from the garden trade and from your own cultivation, can be planted in the garden or in tubs after the ice saints, i.e. after May 15th. A planting distance of about 30 cm should be maintained. The flat-growing species are particularly suitable for planting in balcony boxes. Before planting the slipper flower, it is advisable to work mature compost into the soil.


In the case of the slipper flowers, which are kept indoors, overwintering is not worthwhile, as they usually only bloom once. In the case of hardy species planted in the garden, care should be taken to ensure that the soil is well drained when planting, as the slipper flower is very sensitive to winter moisture. Covering with brushwood is recommended.

Biennial plants that are not frost hardy should overwinter in a bright and cool place at temperatures of around 10 degrees, for example in a suitable cellar, a cold house, an unheated conservatory or a frost-free greenhouse. Bright wintering is necessary because the slipper flower is an evergreen plant.

To cut

  • The slipper flower usually does not need a pruning.
  • However, it can be worthwhile to regularly remove faded plant parts.
  • As a result, the plant grows back stronger.
  • Some of these plants then flower a second time.
  • Pinching off the tops of the stems can also extend the flowering time a little.

Propagation by seed

Annual Calceolaria hybrids in particular are propagated by seeds. If you leave some withered flowers on the plant, you can use the seeds from them for sowing. These should then be stored in a cool, dry and dark place until winter. Corresponding seeds are also available in specialist garden shops.

Since it takes about 5-6 months from sowing to flowering of the slipper flower, it is advisable to sow it in December. To do this, you should place the seeds in a humus-rich but somewhat lean substrate and press them down lightly. The seeds should not be covered with soil, as they germinate in the light. A temperature between 15 and 18 degrees is now necessary for germination. In addition, the substrate should be kept slightly moist.

If the seedlings can be seen, ambient temperatures between 12 and 14 degrees are sufficient. Sufficient light is required after germination; additional lighting may be useful in winter. When the young plants are big enough, place them in small pots with a diameter of about 10-12 cm in lightly fertilized soil and place them in a bright spot. From mid-May you can then plant the hardened plants in the garden.
It is also possible to sow in summer, namely in June/July, for example for species that are to be cultivated indoors. The seeds are placed in appropriate potting soil, not covered with soil, and placed in a warm location at around 18 degrees until they germinate. The substrate must now be kept moist. It takes about 2-3 weeks to germinate.

After germination, the whole thing has to be kept a little cooler at temperatures between 6 and 8 degrees. These cooler temperatures are especially important for bud formation. In autumn, the young seedlings are pricked out in small pots and again when the pots are well rooted.

Through cuttings

In addition to sowing, some species of slipper flower can also be propagated by cuttings. To do this, half-ripe cuttings are cut off from the faded plants in autumn. These are then placed in an appropriate planter, in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts, and covered with foil. In a bright place, at temperatures between 20 and 22 degrees, they are then allowed to root, which takes about two weeks. After that, the young plantlets can be isolated.

by division

Perennial Calceolaria species can also be propagated by dividing the old plants. This is possible both in autumn and in spring. To do this, the plants are carefully dug up, divided and planted with the appropriate distance from each other. You should make sure that each newly gained section has enough roots.


Gray mold Gray
mold can be recognized by a mouse-grey fungus lawn on the leaves and stems as well as the flowers. It usually forms due to permanently damp leaves or excessive humidity. Fertilizers that are too nitrogenous can also cause gray mold. Prevention plays an important role in this disease. It is important to ensure there is sufficient light and good air circulation.
Dead plant parts should always be removed and not left on the substrate or in the planter. Otherwise, the substrate underneath would be kept too moist for too long, which can cause gray mold to form again. In the case of an initial infestation, the affected parts of the plant should be cut off and discarded. If the infestation is already stronger, you usually have to dispose of the plant completely.

Yellowed or Mottled Leaves If
the leaves of the slipper flower turn yellow, it is usually because they have received too much fertilizer. This plant is very sensitive to too much salt in the soil. Small spots on the leaves often appear when the plants are sprayed. As a result, it should definitely be avoided.


Aphids are the biggest enemies of the slipper flower. This occurs above all when the plants are too warm, too dry and too dense. When infested, the leaves are often stuck together and deformed. To combat it, you can spray with commercially available agents that are gentle on beneficial insects, a cold water extract from stinging nettles, or soft soap and spirit broth. These sprays sometimes have to be repeated several times.

Whitefly A whitefly
infestationshows up as falling and sticky leaves and sticky spots on the plant. In addition, small white insects buzz around when you touch the plant. Specialist shops offer specially approved preparations to combat it. To prevent an infestation, you should pay attention to locations that are not too hot and well ventilated.

Spider mites Spider
mites can be recognized by the fine white webs on the plant, especially on the leaf axils. To be sure whether an infestation is present, you can mist the plant with water and make the fine webs more visible. First you should isolate the affected plant and shower off if possible. After that, you can treat it with the appropriate sprays from specialist retailers.

The Calceolaria species planted outside can also be fatal to snails in wet weather, because they can eat the plant bare relatively quickly, so that it eventually dies. Slug pellets can help here, which are spread around the plants. Organic slug pellets are particularly recommended.

Beautiful varieties

  • Calceolaria arachnoidea – This hardy, 30 cm tall, showy perennial features purple flowers and white woolly leaves. Flowering time is from June to July.
  • Calceolaria cavanillesii – This perennial is also hardy. It also grows to about 30 cm in height and produces bright yellow flowers from June to July.
  • Calceolaria biflora – The cultivar ‘Calceolaria biflora’ is a double-flowered, moderately hardy perennial with growth heights of between 10 and 15 cm. Yellow flowers speckled with red appear from June to July. To avoid frost damage, a light winter protection is recommended.
  • Calceolaria falklandica – This perennial and also hardy species stays relatively short at 10 to 15 cm and produces bright yellow flowers from June to July.
  • Calceolaria integrifolia – Also known as garden slipper flower, this shrub grows upright to arching and produces bright yellow flowers from June to September. It is annual, sometimes perennial.

The slipper flower is a species-rich genus that impresses with its bright yellow, orange, red or violet as well as patterned flowers resembling slippers. It cuts a fine figure both as a houseplant and in the garden or in a bucket on the balcony. It is also easy to propagate and relatively easy to care for.

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