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Old 04-12-2007, 06:27 AM
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Masdevallia Culture notes

Masdevallia, a genus of some 350 species usually from cool, misty mountains of the New World tropics, is known for its showy flowers with sepals striking in their size, shape, and/or color. Their need for a cool, damp environment makes them an excellent choice for cool coastal climates.
Temperatures should be cool to intermediate; plants will grow slowly and eventually expire if temperatures remain high for long periods of time. Cool evenings help reduce heat stress during the day. Nights of 50 to 55 degrees F are ideal; day temperatures should be 60 to 75 degrees. Evaporative cooling pads or humidifiers are useful in maintaining these conditions.

Light levels for this group usually are thought of as fairly low; however, some successful growers believe that the best flowerings are produced under higher light levels. Plants can be grown, but not necessarily flowered, in the same light levels as those for ferns--400 to 1000 foot-candles. Most growers maintain levels adequate for Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilum--1000 to 1500 foot-candles. Masdevallias can be kept in light intensities up to 2500 foot-candles if the growing area can be kept cool. Plants grow well under four-tube fluorescent fixtures and can be summered outside in the shade.

Water is critical for these plants because they have minimal water storage tissue. Roots should be allowed to become just dry before watering again; if drainage is adequate, constantly moist roots are fine.

Humidty is important for these plants. The ideal range is 60 to 80%. In the home, mist the plants (in the morning only) and set the plants on trays of gravel, partially filled with water. In the greenhouse or enclosed growing area humidity can be increased by misting or wetting down the floors, while evaporative coolers help raise humidity and lower temperature. If plants are summered outdoors, automatic misters under the benches are recommended

Fertilizer should be applied regularly while plants are actively growing. Applications of 30-10-10 type formulations twice a month are ideal for plants in a bark-based medium. A 20-20-20 type formulation should be used for plants in other media. If weather is dull, applications once a month are sufficient. Some growers use a high phosphorus, 10-30-20 type formulation ("bloom booster") as plants approach flowering.

Potting is best done in the winter or early spring, before the heat of summer and/or as new roots are produced. Plants must be repotted frequently, every one or two years, to keep the potting mix from decomposing. A fine-grade potting medium, such as fine fir bark or tree fern fiber, is often used with plastic pots. Sphagnum is also used, especially for establishing plants. The bottom third or quarter of the pot should be filled with drainage material, either broken crock, rocks, or Styrofoam "peanuts." The plant should be positioned in the pot so that the newest growth is farthest from the edge of the pot, allowing the maximum number of new growths without crowding the pot. Plants growing in many directions may be positioned in the center of the pot. Spread the roots over a cone of potting medium and fill in around the roots with potting medium to the junction of the roots and the plant. Firm the medium around the roots by applying pressure. Keep humidity high and the potting medium slightly dry until new roots form. A vitamin B-1 compound may help establish newly potted plants.

OVER-VIEW
Masdevallias are best grown under cool to intermediate conditions in the greenhouse or home. Most species and hybrids are compact enough that they can be easily accommodated on window sills or under lights. The well-draining potting medium should not be allowed to dry out completely.
Light: Flowering is best under bright light; window sills or fluorescent light conditions are sufficient. Give bright light, but not direct sun. In the home: an east or shaded, south window; or under artificial lights

Temperature: Avoid daytime temperatures higher than 80 degrees F. Give nights of 50 to 55 degrees F; days of 60 to 75 degrees F. Increase air circulation and humidity on hot summer days

Water: Give adequate moisture year round to maintain a relatively moist potting medium. Let the roots become just dry before watering. Mist in home in the morning. A humidity of 60 to 80% is desirable. Do not let water stand on leaves overnight

Fertilizer: Must be provided on a regular basis, about every other week. Give 30-10-10 for bark mix formulations and 20-20-20 for other potting media. Concentration should be half of what the label recommends.
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:30 AM
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I should have read this before buying my Masd. on a whim....it's dead now =( Oh well, I'll try again, when I'm ready for it. Thanks for the culture notes!
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:05 PM
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Thanks Fred I just got 4 new ones about two weeks ago.
Masdevallia Floribunda x strobelii
Masdevallia Maui Jewle Hybrid
Masdevallia Tala Sca (orange vir)
Masdevallia Charisma
and they through a Maxillaria tenuifolia in for free!
Problem is every time I get a new kind of orchid I WANT MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your post should be helpful I have two that are on their second bloom as well

Happy New year
Joe
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:30 PM
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Fred,
Great post mate! I'm sure this will be very helpful to those members who either have or
are interested in growing Masdevallias.
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:54 PM
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Would they be a good candidate for hydro systems?
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:09 PM
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One thing I would add maybe would be their need for good air movement.

Despite loving good humidity and cool temps, without good air movement they will rot very fast.
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Old 12-28-2007, 05:38 PM
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I've recently become very interest in masdes. I've read this other places but can always use a refresher Thanks!
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Old 12-28-2007, 06:35 PM
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Fred,

I'm not sure about the part that says to let the roots become just dry before watering. I've always heard/read they must be constantly moist, never allowed to become dry. I grow mine this way.

What do folks think?

Also yes definitely lots and lots of air movement, especially when the temps inch up.
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Old 12-28-2007, 06:59 PM
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I think that should be almost dry
I grow mine mostly moist I do however let them dry out for a short time in winter

yeah I agree with the Air movement I have a fan going 24/7 so they get good air movement.
on the hot days I also hose the floor in the orchid house
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fred View Post
I think that should be almost dry
Almost dry? Wow....That sounds too dry to me. Of course you do live in a reasonably cool part of the world...and almost dry doesn't mean dry. Also I suppose "almost dry" might mean something different to me than it does to you.

Interesting.

I grow mine in sphag and if I let them get any drier than what I'd call "wet" their leaves start withering at the tips. Maybe in your cooler conditions they can get drier without any problems?
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:31 PM
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I guess that the best part of Tassie Kevin
I grow all my Masdevallia in sphag just on another note what I also do with this weather is I sit all my Masd in pot plant saucers always sitting in Rain water as our weather gets cooler I then go to watering by hand and only let them soak for a short time on average once a fortnight.

with Tassie in winter there is alot of moister in the air that helps also
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:00 PM
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I must admit I almost let mine dry, I have even let them dry completely a couple of times but I try and avoid that if I can. I prefer them to be just moist and then water again. In winter the sphagnum never seems to dry out so I rarely water them when potted in sphagnum anyway. The ones I have in coconut I water more regularly.

I would agree that the best flowering comes from higher light levels, especially during winter where I reduce the shade. They seem to flower much better after lots of light during winter anyway, I only use 50% shade in the outdoors.

Great post Fred.
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmarch View Post
Almost dry? Wow....That sounds too dry to me. Of course you do live in a reasonably cool part of the world...and almost dry doesn't mean dry. Also I suppose "almost dry" might mean something different to me than it does to you.

It would also depend on your climate. In Australia, I would assume you have a naturally low humidity level where in other parts of the world, the humidity levels are higher. I think this would affect ones perspective of what almost dry is. "dry but humid" might be better then "dry & not humid". Im not sure how else to say it. Sorry if it doesnt read well. Sounds good in my head.
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:15 AM
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I grow my plants as per parksides instrutions which is keep moist at all times with LOTS of air movment.
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:13 AM
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For those Masdevallia growers in seasonal climates, how do they do in temps well into the 40's F?
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:56 AM
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Do you mean 40's as a minimum or maximum?

Here it gets into the 30's as a minimum and they grow fine, in fact they thrive during that time of the year.
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:43 PM
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There are some species that grow at near 80ºF day and 55 nights. There are others that grow under cooler conditions 40ºF being the night temp. I've never found humidity to be that critical. I summer them outside where humidity is variable. I think light (2000-2500 fc's) may be the key to that sucess
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:23 PM
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OK, You've all convinced me! I went out an purchased another Masdevallia.

It's a rather tall one compared to the ones I've seen in the stores in the past.
It is also in, what I think, is rock.

One thing is for sure, I can't do any worse than the last time I tried.
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:44 PM
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Ah, here are a couple of snapss
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Old 12-29-2007, 09:29 PM
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That one has lost a lot of leaves (or it appears that way in the photo). I personally don't like roots exposed like that, I would repot it deeper into something else but if it's doing ok then maybe leave it as is for now at least while it's flowering.
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Old 12-29-2007, 09:47 PM
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well spotted Bolero
I agree with you there also the mix looks a bit course to me also
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:20 PM
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Thank you Bolero and Fred, I'll make sure to maintain good humidity till I repot.
Which I figure I will do after it finishes blooming .
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:57 PM
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MSproductions

What Masde did you buy?? I haven't seen one with tall spikes like that. Also, where did you buy it at?? Just wondering .....I LOVE Masdes
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Old 12-31-2007, 12:03 AM
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I regret to say it has no ID, it was purchased from Pac 8 Orchids in Los Angeles.
It was the only one like it on the tray ... and that of course made me buy it.
I do know that Pac 8 is a grower and a re-seller and they are not too good with
info when it's missing. They are very nice people and would recomend a weekly trip
to their store if you live on the west side of LA (and then swing by Orchid Fever a few blocks away in Culver City)
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:36 AM
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What is the average growth rate and spiking times for these beauties? I know that some can bloom multiple times per year, but are we talking quarterly, semi-annually? How fast do these grow?
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:19 PM
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Fred, in your original post, you mention an evaporative cooler.

What is it, what does it do, and how do you use it?

TIA,
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmarch View Post
Fred,

I'm not sure about the part that says to let the roots become just dry before watering. I've always heard/read they must be constantly moist, never allowed to become dry. I grow mine this way.

What do folks think?

Also yes definitely lots and lots of air movement, especially when the temps inch up.
I definitely agree. I was watering mine often, trying to keep it evenly moist but not soggy until I read the culture notes on AOS. When I cut back on watering growth slowed, spikes died prematurely, and I found a few spider mites. Mine's in a ceramic cool pot and my theory is that if there isn't at least a little moisture in the pot the ceramic can't do it's evaporative cooling thing that keeps the roots cooler. I've only had mine for a bit but it seems much happier when I err on the side of over-watering. The masdie is also the closest plant to the fan and seems happier that way. Fan helps keep it cooler not only providing the air movement.
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by articuno75 View Post
What is the average growth rate and spiking times for these beauties? I know that some can bloom multiple times per year, but are we talking quarterly, semi-annually? How fast do these grow?
Spikes grow very very quickly. Mine reached blooming length in maybe a couple weeks.
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:28 PM
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I love the blooms these flowers produce!
I was sad to learn how cool they need their temps to be.
No chance in my hot LA home :-(
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VEEKTOR View Post
I love the blooms these flowers produce!
I was sad to learn how cool they need their temps to be.
No chance in my hot LA home :-(
Get a cool pot. It helps tremendously. It's the roots that need to stay cool.
Sample Cool Pot
Some masdies are warmer growers, you just have to make sure you know if the species/hybrid you may be thinking about getting is a cool, cool to intermediate, or intermediate grower.
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:27 PM
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Some masdies can take warmer temps. All of mine were outside this Summer...one of our hottest Summers on record...I'm talking in the 90's many days...and many of my masdies did quite well. Some, of course, protested beyond belief. LOL!

The trick is keeping them moist and hoping the night time temps cool down a good deal. Those 2 things can do miracles for the warmer growers.

The cold and many of the cool growers do b****h...a LOT...if it's too warm. I lost about 7 of my cooler growers this year. Still have a couple that aren't bouncing back. BUT, I have some that never even got a spotty leaf.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krpot View Post
Get a cool pot. It helps tremendously. It's the roots that need to stay cool.
Sample Cool Pot
Some masdies are warmer growers, you just have to make sure you know if the species/hybrid you may be thinking about getting is a cool, cool to intermediate, or intermediate grower.
Oh wow that is interesting! And encouraging! And hey I'll even throw in affordable!
Thanks!
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:53 PM
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I grow mine in tree fern with a little sphag mixed in. They definitely dry out before I water. I put them out in summer. Angel Heart does not grow as well and seems more sensitive to high temperatures. It is also prone to fungal issues. My favorite is Masde Rosemary which blooms on and off all year. It also keeps a nice shape, very pretty plant.
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Last edited by Macy; 10-28-2010 at 11:54 PM. Reason: Angel Heart (Pink) Rosemary (Red)
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:05 PM
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Bumping my question for Fred. Fred! Where you been, Fred?

I'd like to know what is an evaporative cooling pad, what does it do and how does it work?

Hope things are well for you, haven't heard from you in a while.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:02 PM
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With regard to 'warm' growers the parameters is different than growing warm Paphs. Some Masdevallias are warm 'tolerant' but not true warm growers. Interestingly Masdevallias grow in the same areas as some Phrags which indicates that they are either warmer than you would expect or the Phrags grow cooler (I am leaning towards the latter).
Cold Night = 4 to 7C Day = 10 to 16C
Cool Night = 7 to 12C Day = 10 to 17C
Intermediate Night = 10 to 13C Day = 13 to 20C
Warm Night = 16 to 18C Day = 20 to 27C

This information came from the fantastic book (I highly recommend) called Masdevallias - Gems of the Orchid World. Many of what is considered warm will grow intermediate and cool I believe.
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:11 AM
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Excellent point Bolero!! And, I agree, the book is definitely worth a read. Of course, you better have the list ready when you get to the pics.
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:35 AM
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Katherine the cooler is used in the g/h or sunroom to cool the air. It draws warm air through a wet pad to cool the air.

If I didn't have the evaporative cooler in the g/h it would be very hard to keep it cool enough to use in the summer. Mine is built into the wall but they also make portable models.

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Old 11-03-2010, 08:24 PM
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So this is something that cools the area, similar to air conditioning? I was imaging something my masdies could sit on to just cool the plants.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:17 AM
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Hi all,
i've now become really interested in masdies (THANKS A LOT GUYS , before this forum i didn;t know they even existed, ignorance is bliss, it stops me from wanting more )

and i was just wondering if their were any masdies which could stand a warmer climate, here it can get as low as 0 to 3 degrees in the dead of winter, and as hot as 40 if it is a really hot summer,

please please let me know if you know of any as i would LOVE to grow some, they just fascinate the beejeebus out of me, thanks in advance
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