So How Do I Grow Masdevallia Orchids Here In The UK?


Masdevallias grow in cooler temperatures than most other orchids, different species require different degrees of coolness, so do a little research on your species or hybrid before you add it to your collection, if your new to growing Massies try a Hybrid first these seem much easier to grow then the species

The Book guides say
Cool: 10℃ at night and Maximum 20℃ days
Intermediate: 13℃ nights and Maximum 23℃ days
Warm 16℃ nights and Maximum 26℃ days

For all try to ensure a 6-12℃ difference between day and night temperatures which is the key to make them flower. I personally drop my temperatures down by 5℃ at night, they do not like high temperatures and I try and keep mine under 28℃ in the summer months I find 22℃ is the ideal range but without the fans it would be a struggle, mine is now all controlled with a hydrostat which is set for the fans to come on at 20℃. and my humidistat is connected to my fogger system which is set at 70%.


During the summer of 2018 my greenhouse reached approximately 37℃ on a couple of days which resulted in me losing a couple of my divisions which made me realise I needed to make drastic changes to my growing environment, these are shown in a video on my YouTube channel. Temperature and climate control can be achieved with the right equipment, time and patients.

My own greenhouse heater is thermostatically controlled now and is set during the winter months to a minimum of 10℃ but during the day I use natural solar gain, but I have a frost protector which kicks in once the temperature reaches 5℃. Just an additional precaution.

Tip! Good ventilation in the greenhouse is essential, regular air changes and air movement can be achieved by opening doors and vents during the summer months remember to use a fly screen for pests.


In their natural environment these plants grow in very shaded areas with around 1200 foot-candles. so be careful in the summer months not to over expose your plants to the bright light of the sun. I use shade cloths on the external south facing windows of my greenhouse and 60% shade netting on the roof these small measures will greatly reduce not only excessive light but will also help control the heat.


Like all orchids, Masdevallias like clean water, I started off using rain water but soon realised I had to store it and also ensure I had plenty in reserve, I then looked into obtaining a Reverse Osmosis system and have never looked back, and are now priced at a reasonable cost, however I’ve heard some growers use distilled water again that’s their choice.

In summer I water early in the morning, and have a three-week cycle with my fertiliser, seaweed extract and Cal-Mag

I use and this is my preference only, so not telling you to use it, but I find Akernes Rain-Mix has all the beneficial nutrients my plants need, so why would I change., and I also use it at the recommended strength, I know some growers use ¼ or ½ strength.

I find that during the growing season Seaweed extract helps with root growth and as an additional treat I give them Cal-mag once a month. I use a spray pump action mister for watering this is my preferred method, this way I control how much water I’m giving them and at the end of my cycle flush using this sprayer. Remember Thick heavy leafed plants prefer a little dryness at the roots, thin leafed varieties do not, one of the most common mistakes beginners make is over watering so be cautious and if unsure hold back an extra day, this I know for sure having been a little heavy handed myself when I first started.

Once temperatures begin to start cooling off at the start of Autumn and through the winter months, I greatly reduce watering (depending on your environment) to about twice a week you will soon get to know when the plant requires watering.

Potting Mix

My preferred potting mix is small bark, perlite with a small amount of sphagnum moss, I personally found that sphagnum moss holds an incredible amount of water and my massies were continually wet, so I decided on my mix. But remember if you’re having good success with your mix don’t change!

Recommended reading.

Masdevallias Gems of The Orchid World by Mary E. Gerritsen and Ron Parsons

Thank you for reading my growing guide and I hope you found it useful.

So How Do I Grow Dracula Orchids Here In The UK?

The name Dracula means “Little Dragon” because of the strange aspect of the two long spurs of the sepals which are found on most species also commonly known as the Monkey Orchid due to monkey like face on the blooms. Dracula orchids used to be part of the Masdevallia Genus but were separated in 1978 to form their own genus and becoming part of the Pleurothallids Genera.

The care I provide my Dracula’s is very similar to my Masdevallia orchids, the majority of Dracula orchids grow there flower spikes downward (descending from the plant) or Horizontal from the base of the plant, so ideally should be grown in open basket pots, ideally allowing the flower spikes to protrude through the basket or alternately they can be mounted on cork bark or open wooden baskets, which provides a wonderful display.

I prefer to grow mine in basket pots , My media well to be totally honest I use Sphagnum moss because these should not be allowed to dry out, water regularly during the summer months as early as possible in the morning obviously reduced in the winter months, regular inspections will show when spikes are forming and at this point I hang the plant up to allow the spikes to progress, and hopefully Bloom.

I keep the humidity at 70% throughout the year similar to Masdevallia other growers recommend a higher humidity of about 90% but I find this more difficult to control as my greenhouse is set for my Masdevallia, Dracula orchids also come from the cloud forests primarily Central & South America, again good air circulation is necessary to have success with this type of orchid, so again my fans are on constantly on 24/7.

They require low light levels, so grow them in a good shaded position in your environment, 1000-1500 foot candles works well, it is important to remember, to be successful that these plants are protected from direct sunlight “similar to count Dracula” so your growing environment must have a reasonable amount of light, but not direct sunlight.

Temperature should be below 20℃ or 68℉, remember these are cool growers so will require a night time drop of between 6-8 ℃ or 10-15℉, these plants will dry out very quickly if your temperatures are too high.

During the active growing season, I feed my Dracula weekly with my preferred fertilizer from early spring till late summer.

My growing techniques may not suit your environment due to your location, where you grow your plants, and the amount of time you devote to their care. Only then can you decide on your methods that suit you and your plants.


Thank you for reading my growing guide and I hope you found it useful.

How To Grow Cymbidium Orchids

Another Cool Growing orchid is the Cymbidium, and undoubtable one of the easiest orchids to Grow and will flower year after year. These orchids are often referred to as “The Boat Orchid” Pronounced (sym-BID-ee-um) it has large flowers, with a patterned lip and can be in bloom for up to 10 weeks.

Cymbidium’s are found naturally growing in China, Japan across the Himalayas, through Asia to Australia. There are two main types of cymbidium, standard and Miniature.

I only have a couple of cymbidiums and I’ve found that they need a lot of light and low temperatures, and I only keep them in my greenhouse during the Autumn & winter months to protect them from frost. Once the last frost has gone at the end of spring, I put them back outside in a shaded position to prevent leaf burn and overheating from the sun’s rays this is where they remain all summer long.


In my greenhouse I keep them in a cool area low down (standing on the floor) and keep them between 10-15℃ until I see a flower spike forming, then I move them to a warmer spot of about 20℃ if you keep them too warm you may find the flowers are short lived.

Cymbidiums usually flower from the end of Autumn through to Spring.

How do I water and feed my Cymbidiums? I water weekly all year round if needed using Reverse Osmoses water and feed every week during the spring and summer with my chosen fertilizer at ½ strength.

Tip! Some growers recommend using a tomato fertilizer (potassium feed) weekly during August and September at a ¼ strength to encourage Flowering. I’ll give this a go and let you know.


Remember do not let your cymbidium dry out completely, so if your growing outside check regular and also do not let them become water logger during heavy rain falls.

Tip Never fertilize when your orchid is dry, as this can seriously damage the roots!

The best time to re-pot a cymbidium is when they are becoming root-bound in their current pot and should be done in early spring after flowering, at this time you can cut away any dead roots trying not to disturb the root ball too much. Older plants can be split at this time, so look for natural divisions and divide into new separate plants with three to five pseudobulbs on each division, you may well need a good pair of secateurs or a sharp knife, sterilised of course.

So what medium do I use for my cymbidiums?

I use a mixture of chunky Bark, peat and perlite this is to help with drainage. I personally use clay pots to help with faster drying as cymbidiums prefer dryer conditions.

When repotting I always allow for new growth and never over pot, these plants always do well when they are contained, so leave just enough room for the following two years growth.

After repotting I hold back on watering for a couple of weeks and just mist to moisten with a hand sprayer.

Tip! Remember to ventilate your greenhouse whenever the weather permits.


I find that the humidity level required is between 40-60% in the winter at this time your orchid may be in bud, if you have higher humidity levels you will require a good amount of air movement to prevent any type of orchid disease.

Tip! Another piece of advice from local growers who specialise in cymbidiums is to give a few doses of Epsom salts one table spoon to 10 Litres of water during the growing season.

I hope this growing guide helps other beginners like myself,
Happy Growing and thanks for viewing this site.

How To Grow Phalaenopsis Orchids

Phalaenopsis, (pronounced fal-ee-nop-sis) from the Greek word meaning Moth, is probably one of the best known orchids and is usually the one collectors start with, at some point in our lives we’ve all had or seen a phalaenopsis orchid either a present for “Mother’s day” or as a gift of thanks, and in the orchid community is known as “the beginner’s orchid” due to its availability throughout the world, reasonably priced, and beautiful long lasting blooms, and should be relatively easy to keep, but are they? This simple guide should help you care for your new orchid, the Phalaenopsis has become one of the most popular orchids and can be found in most homes. So, in this guide I will share with you the basic care required to have success with Phalaenopsis the common name by the way is the” Moth” Orchid.

Phalaenopsis plants are native to South India, southern China to Taiwan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, the Philippines, and northern Australia. Phalaenopsis orchid natural habitat is a moist forest where the temperatures are warm all year round and the humidity is quite high.


In its native environment the Phalaenopsis has adapted to surviving from drawing water from the humidity in the air, that’s why it continues to grow aerial roots.

This basic guide should help new growers have reasonable success with Phalaenopsis orchids, so let’s get started!


Avoid direct sunlight, never place your orchid in direct sunlight as they burn very easily, they prefer a medium to bright (indirect) light. If leaves start to turn yellow or splotchy, your plant is getting too much light, too little light will result in your leaves becoming soft and floppy. An east or west facing windowsill is ideal, preferably behind a net curtain.


Because of their wild origins, they like a minimum temperature of 20°C (68°F) although adult plants grow happily at 15°C (60°F) and actually flower better after a few weeks at this lower night time temperature in autumn. Chilly night-time temperatures or drafts can cause flowers and buds to blast or even drop off.


Water Phalaenopsis about once a week: Avoid plain tap water, its laden with impurities, use natural rain water or R.O water, it’s also best to allow the potting mix / media to almost dry out between watering’s. Check the medium with your finger – if you feel moisture do not water, if the medium feels dry water it. Do not stand your orchid in a saucer of water.

Tip! daily misting with a spray bottle full of water will help if your growing in the home, spray the leaves and aerial roots, this also helps with the humidity.

Remember Roots that are green are getting just the right amount of water, Roots that are brown and soggy looking are getting too much water, Roots that are grey/ silver are getting ready for water.


Feed at one-quarter strength of your preferred fertilizer, this can be one of the biggest challenges to the beginner, I use a pour-through method when fertilising, I mix my feed with my water and use a jug either over a bucket or over the sink and pour over the pot, ensuring I do not get water in the crown of the plant, you will see the roots start to turn green this is a sign that they are hydrated. I feed my Phalaenopsis once a month during the growing season but I know some growers feed weekly again that’s your own preference, just remember they need feeding!


Phalaenopsis Orchids can double in size in a year with the correct growing conditions, regular care and above all patients. I try to give mine a cooler, dryer rest during the autumn, so I move them further away from the light and put them on a north facing window for about 2 months and reduce the amount of water I give them.


Your Phalaenopsis will bloom about 3 times a year and last from a few weeks to about 3 months, most people acquire a Phalaenopsis when it is in bloom from a garden centre, specialist nursery or nowadays even a local supermarket. The latter is where you can find a bargain now and again, supermarkets tend to reduce the price when the blooms are fading, most collectors see this opportunity to grow their collections and buy at a reduced rate and grow the plant on during the growing season. There are two methods: Firstly you could cut the flower stem off all the way back, to allow the plant to rebuild new roots and leaves which will support next year’s blooms my preferred way, or secondly some people cut above a node on the stem (see pic above) and hope to get another bloom before winter (forced), this has proven to work but in my opinion drains the plant of energy which is needed for next year’s blooms.


When the potting media starts to break down, smells a little bit like mushrooms, its time to repot or when the plant becomes root-bound, then the Phalaenopsis needs a fresh start, most growers repot between 18 to 24 months without fail.

What media do I use? No doubt your store-bought orchid is in sphagnum moss or coconut husk being mass produced for UK sales. I use a chunky bark and a perlite mix when repotting to ensure good drainage around the roots, but again use what your confident with and what’s given you success in the past, don’t follow others if your happy with what you do, remember these are only guides not growing instructions.

Tip! Each spike on a Phalaenopsis will have at least a few nodes going up the spike prior to the blooms. Each of these nodes bears the potential to branch either during or after the initial bloom. If the decision is made to allow the orchid to branch on a spike, cut the spike off directly above a node see picture above.

I hope you found this basic guide useful.
A more in-depth guide is being prepared check back soon.
Happy Growing!

How To Grow Disa Orchids

Disa’s orchids are terrestrial orchids which are found naturally growing on Table Mountain in South Africa. The conditions which they experience in the wild are quite harsh and this gives us the clue as to how they should be cultivated. In their natural habitat they grow by streams and in water run off areas with their roots in water and are constantly wet.

I grow my disas in pots which I stand in trays filled with RO water, rainwater can also be used. They are potted in a compost mix of 60% sphagnum peat moss and 40% perlite, I use a one litre jug for measuring, so 6 jugs of peat moss and 4 jugs of perlite, I have had very good results with this mix, however, they can also be grown in pure long fibre sphagnum moss.

Water Quality

Water Quality is vitally important to your Disa orchids. They will not tolerate hard or chlorinated water. Suggested methods of watering should be done from the top of the pot allowing the water to run throw the plant and out of the bottom. Ideally early in the morning during summer.


Do not overfeed your disa orchids, a very weak feed is suitable during the growing season. I feed once a month, with orchid “Rain-mix” fertilizer, over feeding your disa could kill the plant! they do not like high levels of salts. Do not add the fertilizer to the water tray, pour through only and allow to drain off before putting it back in its water tray.


I grow my disa orchids in a Greenhouse environment with my other cool growing orchids here in the UK. They will tolerate quite a range of temperatures and will be quite happy in a frost protected greenhouse. They need to be kept as cool as possible in summer and shading should be applied to the greenhouse roof. In very bright conditions the leaves will start to turn pale and yellow, but this will make the colour of the flowers much better – a compromise is required.

Top Tip! Provide good air circulation, use your Fans 24/7


Flowers should appear in late spring into summer, but can be temperamental in some cultivars. After flowering the stem and the old plant will start to die back and turn yellow and then brown. This is quite normal as the plant is recycling nutrients back into the tuber to aid next year’s new growth.

Round about September and October your disa will start to die back at this time new growths should start to appear, these can be removed and potted on individually as next years plants. Prior to repotting check for any signs od disease or fungal infections such as Botrytis, these must be removed to ensure your you plant remains healthy during the winter months. Once these have been potted the old plant can be discarded.

I hope that you enjoy growing these spectacular orchids and that they give you as much pleasure as they have given me!

When repotting I always allow for new growth and never over pot, these plants always do well when they are contained, so leave just enough room for the following two years growth.

Hope you found this growing guide useful,
you can also visit our YouTube channel for more growing guides and tips.

How To Grow Dionaea Muscipula

Dionaea Muscipula or more commonly known as (Venus’s Fly Trap), it originates from the Green wetlands of North & South Carolina on the East Coast of the United States of America, to be more precise within a 75-mile radius of a Town called Wilmington.

“The Venus fly trap” as we call it!, is a carnivorous plant shaped like a small rosette and usually found to have seven Leaves with a trap on the ends, it is now under endangered species review and is rapidly declining from its natural habitat according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service. The decline in population is caused by poachers, who remove the plant from the wild.

Many Growers and collectors of these fascinating plants have started cultivation between species and create new cultivars like the B52, Sawtooth and Red Dragon to name a few by cross pollination when the plants are in bloom.

I personally have approximately 36 different cultivars “relatively small to some growers” currently growing in my temperate greenhouse here in the UK. So how do I grow them here, mostly from seed which can take between 2-4 years to become an adult size plant, so not the quickest way to build a collection I would recommend purchasing adult cultivars from a good carnivorous plant nursery is your best option.


I found that Dionaea Muscipula can survive outside during our winters, however I choose to put them all in my greenhouse during the winter Months to prevent them from freezing, some growers I know use winter fleece coverings.

Temperatures in the Carolinas frequently hit 30°C (86°F) during summer and drop below 0°C in in the winter (32°F), and so Venus Flytraps are perfectly happy in the UK climate provided they are protected from the elements.

Top Tip! Remember These plants require a dormancy period every winter from around the end of October to the end of February, to ensure the survival of the plant. Just keep the plant moist.

They like full sun or grow lights for approximately 6 to 8 hours per day throughout the growing season, the longer the better, this helps them to gain the red colouring of their inner traps which is desirable by growers throughout the world

Top Tip! Remember these like there roots wet, so stand their pot in about one inch of water and never let them dry out.

Terminology & Growing guide

Pronunciation is “Dion-aea Mus-cip-ula”. Dionaea Muscipula. The Leaves which stem from the rhizome of the plant are called Petioles. The traps are called the Laminar. Muscilage digestive enzyme. The roots are very fragile Black in colour with a short white growing tip which anchor the plant into the ground or growing media. The Growing media I use is a 50/50 mix of Peat moss and perlite, other growers use pure long fibre sphagnum moss, you should never use any normal garden potting mix as this will contain nutrients which will kill your plant.

The leaves photosensitise from the sun or grow light this provides sugars to the rhizome. Trigger Hairs each side of the inner Laminar are three trigger hairs which when triggered by an insect send an electro pulse to “Shut the traps”, the trigger hair has to be triggered twice or two hairs in succession for the trap to close, entrapping the pray, the more the insect struggles the tighter the trap becomes and the stomach secretes digestives juices “enzymes” which are released to digest the prey. Should the pray escape after triggering the trap, it will stay closed for a few hours then reopen. If the trap was successful once digested in about 10 days’ time the trap will open and the carcass of the insect usually blows away. Each trap will catch about 3 insects then die back this is perfectly normal.

vft usually flower prolifically, and unless you have had your plant at least a year, I would recommend you cut the flowers off as they appear. Otherwise, it will put a lot of energy into the flower instead of the traps, and unless it is a strong plant, it can suffer and even die after flowering.

Top Tip! Do not fertilize your Dionaea with any type of fertilizer or plant feed the traps will catch their own food and nutrients.


Needs to be between 55-80% humidity like its natural habitat, so really in my opinion are unsuitable has house plants but can be kept outside on a patio or bog garden during the summer months and then stored in a cold garage, porch or greenhouse during winter dormancy.


Only use rainwater or Reverse osmosis water, never use tap water here in the UK, even bottled filtered water may cause minerals to build up which will also kill your plant.

Recommended reading.

The savage Garden by Peter D’Amato

Hope you found this growing guide useful,
you can also visit our YouTube channel for more growing guides and tips.

How To Grow Sarracenia

Here in the UK these plants can be grown outdoors and will survive our winters.

So, let’s talk about sarracenia plants, which I grow in my cool to cold greenhouse from seed germination.

Sarracenias, commonly known as pitcher plants, are carnivorous plants mainly from North America.

They bear flowers that grow singly on tall leafless stalks and most have long tubular ‘pitchers’. Inside these pitchers is a well of digestive fluid that breaks down prey, which is then absorbed by the plant.

Sarracenias are perennial plants that should be grown in full sun in nutrient-poor compost, and watered from beneath by keeping the plant pot in a tray of rainwater or reverse osmosis.

So, what conditions do they need?

Growing Media

Sarracenia are best suited to a soft absorbent media like peat, cocoa peat or live sphagnum moss. I use a mix of sphagnum peat moss and perlite the same mix I use for all my carnivorous plants, try keep it light and fluffy.

Fertilizer and Feeding
Do not feed or fertilize Sarracenia, they will catch their own. common fertilizer damages or can kills these plants as they are adapted to growing in exceedingly poor bog soils.

Your plants should manage to feed themselves as long as you keep them healthy.

Sarracenia are bog plants by nature, they very much need to have wet feet at all times and ideally should be grown in boggy conditions. The best method is to sit their pots into water trays. They should be kept permanently moist through all year (including during winter dormancy where the depth can be reduced to prevent freezing).

Though it varies among the differing forms Sarracenia are fairly tolerant of a range of different lighting conditions from partial shade through to full sun.

If plants in the shade develop excessive amounts of a sooty mildew it can be a sign, they need a lighter exposure. Positioning your sarracenia’s in full sun will result in the best pitcher growth and colour


Sarracenia favour hot summers and cold winters. They are frost tolerant and many will actually grow better if exposed to frost during dormancy.

Hope this short guide helps, why not check out our shop to see if we have any sarracenia plants or seeds available.

How To Grow Restrepia

How I Grow Restrepia Orchids here in my Cool to Cold Greenhouse

Pronounced Re-STREP-ee-ah, there is currently over 59 recognised species in the Genus, they love moisture, and the majority are epiphytic, they come from cool damp areas of the Montane forests of the Andes, Venezuela and parts of central America through to southern Mexico.

I have tried growing mine in sphagnum moss but failed miserably, so I now grow them in a mixture of small bark, perlite and charcoal.

Most flowers emerge from the base of the leaf and usually bear a single flower as seen on the pictures, some of these are really amazing in colour.

They quite often produce Keikis from the base of the leaf, which can easily be removed once the roots are of a good length which I remove and pot-on, it’s an easy way of propagation.

They like cool temperatures ideally below 20c here in the UK, I try and keep my temperatures between 18-20c with a night-time temperature of between 10-15c

They thrive on Humidity and it is recommended to be between 70-100%, I would say 100% is ideal but because I grow other plants in my cool-cold greenhouse I set mine at 70% and this has proved OK for me.

They like it Shady.

I give them intermediate light levels (shaded) during the summer months, I’ve also had some success by mounting them on cork bark, but remember they grow quite fast when happy, so use a decent size mount which allows them to grow.

Do not let your restrepia’s dry out for long periods of time, especially if you’ve mounted it.

Remember if your Restrepia is getting too much light the leaves will turn a reddish brown this helps prevent sun burn, it’s a good reminder to move it to a shadier position.

Hope you enjoyed this short Care Guide for Restrepia Orchids.