Masdevallia orchids are native to Central and South America, growing in cool conditions at high elevation. At this time of the year the GroWell greenhouse is cool and humid, just the conditions they need to bloom and thrive.
Throughout the summer months it often proves to be quite a challenge to ensure that the temperature stays low enough whilst the humidity remains high, so during these periods of warmer weather the Masdevallia orchids get moved into a Small BudBox Grow Tent that’s been fitted with a T5 2-Tube Grow Light. Here the temperature can be kept below 25oC and relative humidity maintained at the preferred 70%.
Relocating the plants back into the greenhouse towards the end of the year and positioning them in the coolest area of the greenhouse helps to encourage many of the species in the collection to start the flowering process.
This species of Masdevallia is Masdevallia constricta, proving to be fairly typical of most Masdevallia species with its triangular shape and three showy sepals. The plants are growing in a small square pot using Canna Terra Professional Soil Mix, an excellent media for growing most species of orchid. Masdevallia enjoy moist conditions but the medium must have good aeration and drain well, so frequent low volume watering is needed.
Like many species of orchid, Masdevallia are sensitive to minerals and chlorine in tap water. A V2 Reverse Osmosis System is employed to get around this issue, creating pure contaminant free water.
After the water has been purified, Orchid Focus Grow or Bloom gets added to it (depending on the point you're at in the lifecycle) at a cF of 6 (EC 0.6) and a pH of 6.
Rather than use a watering can or a measuring jug, the feed is applied with a 5 Litre Professional Sprayer to ensure an even delivery of nutrient solution over the surface of the growing media. Once fully pressurised by pumping, the sprayer, set to a fine mist mode, delivers around 7-10ml per second. Each pot needs around 50ml every 3-4 days, so when watering simply press the trigger and count to 5 for every separate plant… simple!
If you are interested in growing orchids, please get in touch with one of our growing experts by phone, in store (we’ve got shops in London, the Midlands, Sheffield and Bristol) or via email ([email protected]). But be warned, Orchids such as Masdevallia are highly addictive!