FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

 

Just a quick one Mick what other orchids can I grow with my Masdevallias?

Not really being familiar with other types of orchids I would say you could try Dracula’s, Miltoniopsis, Odontoglossums, Restrepia and Pleurothallis, I also believe there are also some Paphiopedilums and cymbidiums that also like cooler growing conditions. Always ask the seller for growing conditions if its not stated in the advert, I’m sure you’ll find a good growing companion for your massies.

Do I need supplementary lighting for my Masdevallias?

As a keen amateur grower I give my Masdevallias low to medium light levels with dapple shade, remember I grow in a greenhouse not in the home, I have never considered additional supplimentary lighting however I’m sure a lot of growers do (mostly in the home) and you may get help from asking members of the face book group. I’ve realised over the years that my Masdevallias can handle more light then the books tell us, I’ve found that if some of my Massie don’t get good light through the growing season they do not bloom for me (the same as not getting a nighttime drop in temperatures), so if you are thinking of adding additional lighting just be cautious try for about 2-4 hours a day to start with then increase when your happy to up to 8 hours a day, try to keep the lights at about 2′ to 3′ or 61 mm to 91.5 mm above the plants to prevent possible leaf burn.

Mick my humidity is currently at 95% in my greenhouse here in the UK, during December, will my Masdevallias be OK?

The current climate dictates the relative humidity during the winter months, to be fair there’s not a lot we can do about it mine is currently also high at 89% and my masses are doing fine, a local grower / friend uses a de-humidifier during winter but I think thats an additional unnecessary electrical cost but thats his choice. I tend to hold back on watering and of course do not use my fogger/humidifier during winter, however I do open the greenhouse doors when outside temperatures are about 15ºc to allow good air exchange for a couple of hours a day.

Can I ask why your web shop only post plants on Mondays

Two main reasons why I post on Mondays, firstly plants will arrive mid week which ensures they are not stored in a postal depot over the weekends especially during adverse weather conditions and secondly it makes life a lot easier for me as a small independent grower to send all packages out on the same day, rather then being back and forward to the post office daily which is very time consuming.

Are all Masdevallia orchids fragrant

No not all masdevallia orchids are fragrant, however there are quite a few that are so I’ll mention the ones in my collection.

M Strobellii smells fruity like vanilla. M Meijiana smells spicy. M Glandulosa smells spicy. M datura very sweet smelling. M Caudata another sweet smell and lets not forget M caesia reminds me of rotting meat. There are too many to mention but I’m sure a good seller could advice better prior to purchase.

I’ve just bought two masdevallias from eBay what should I pot them in ? They’re currently in sphagnum moss.

Thats a difficult one for me, as you know I don’t like using sphagnum moss as it remains too wet for me during the winter months but a lot of growers have tremendous success using sphagnum, So depending on the individual plant for example is it epiphyte or terrestrial will depend on your media choice. Masdevallias can be grown successfully in a variety of medium so long as its fast draining & moisture retentive which is essential for a healthy root system. I use small bark & a perlite mix which I find meets my requirements and have reasonable success. I would ask the seller what they recommend as they may well have just used sphagnum moss for a recent division to encourage root growth prior to selling.

When should I repot My Masdevallia orchid?

I would say annually and never over pot your Massie, select a pot which will take the root ball mass without excessive space left around the roots. However you may need on occasions to repot due to growing problems, like your media breaking down, rotting or media crumbling between your fingers or giving off a mushroom smell these signs mean it’s also time to repot. Always remember allow your Masdevallia time to recover after repotting. I usually do mine in early spring allowing it time to recover during the growing season, I try to avoid repotting during the winter months, however this is sometimes unavoidable.

How do I know which roots are dead?

Remove your plant from its pot and inspect its roots remove all the old media from around the roots, a useful test is to pinch the root between your thumb and forefinger and gently pull away from the plant. If the Velamen (outer root sheath) comes off leaving a wiry root behind the root is dead and can be removed, do this to all the roots until you have removed all dead or dying roots.

I watch a lot of YouTube videos by orchid growers and they all use different fertilisers, what do you think I should use ?

Firstly let’s not forget YouTube is a free media platform which allows creators to show their growing methods / hobbies and should not be mistaken for professional advice and remember some you-tubers receive paid promotions to (push) sell products, and have amazon associated links in their video description, so be very careful what you buy.

Orchids need a good balanced fertiliser that includes trace elements, look for the NPK Labels and it should not “in my opinion” contain Urea, it is recommended by many growers to feed “weakly weekly” at 1/4 strength. Fertilisers are a personal preference and remember it should be readily available to purchase. I only mention what I use in my videos and thats what I was advised to use when I first started Growing and I have continued to use it, sorry I cannot be more specific.

Mick I would like to start growing orchids in my home, what would you suggest as a starter plant, remember I have very limited experience.

I would suggest the Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid) which I think would make a great starter plant and be ideal for a beginner, they are available in all different colours and pattens and the flower spike can last for several months and with the right care can re-bloom shortly after, they can be found quite reasonably cheap at most Garden centres and nowadays in most supermarkets.

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