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Masdevallia Orchids, The Mesmerizing Orchid Genus of South America

masdevallia-orchids

If you adore everything about orchid plants as much as we do, you are going to love this new orchid feature about the exotic Masdevallia orchids of the New World Tropics. Learn more about its unique and colorful flowers and if it is possible to grow this orchid in Los Angeles or Orange County.

Masdevallia Orchids Fast Facts

Botanical Name: Masdevallia (mas-deh-VAHL-lee-ah)
Abbreviation in horticulture: Masd.
Etymology of the orchid genus name: Named after Spanish botanist,  Dr. Jose Masdeval
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe:  Epidendreae
Subtribe: Pleurothallidinae
Number of recognized species: 300 to 350 orchid species, depending on source
Type species: Masdevallia uniflora Ruiz & Pavon 1798
Origin/Distribution: Mexico, tropical regions of South America, and the Andes
Growing classification: Sympodial orchids
Blooming season: Mostly spring to summer season, depending on the specific orchid species
Flower color: Pure white, green, brownish black, orange, and red
Skill level: Recommended for beginners to advanced orchid growers

Orchid Origin

Masdevallia orchids are a cool-growing type of orchids that are native from the cloud forests of Mexico, tropical regions of South America, and the Andes. The most impressive concentration of species is recorded in Venezuela to Peru through the Andes foothills and highlands.

In 1794, this orchid genus was formally named after the iconic 18th-century botanist Dr. Jose Masdeval of Spain and had almost 50 identified species by mid-1800s. Masdevallia orchids were very popular in England during this time and were aggressively collected by botanists and orchid enthusiasts in the early 19th century.

Orchid Plant Description

Masdevallia orchids are sympodial in growth. The blooming season is mostly spring to summer, depending on the specific orchid species.

Sometimes referred to as kite orchids, Masdevallia orchid blooms have a unique triangular or tubular shape and long tails at the sepals. According to Ortho’s All About Orchids, the flowers of Masdevallia orchids can be pendant or erect and range from 1 to 10 inches in size. Flower colors are commonly orange and red but there are also orchid varieties from this genus that come in pure white, green, purple, and brownish black.

Warm-Growing Masdevallia Orchids

Naturally, Masdevallia orchids thrive in high elevations and cool climate. However, many orchid growers have produced gorgeous orchid hybrids that can tolerate intermediate to warm conditions, such as in Florida, while still having its ability to produce large, showy, and strikingly colored orchid blooms.

  • Masdevallia Angel Tang
  • Masdevallia erinacea
  • Masdevallia Goliath
  • Masdevallia infracta
  • Masdevallia Ken Doe
  • Masdevallia Maui Jewel

Orchid Care: Success Tips for Masdevallia Orchids

Despite being true cloud forest orchids, the American Orchid Society suggests that there is a great chance that most Masdevallia orchid varieties will thrive wonderfully in cool, coastal climates. Being in Southern California, which has a picturesque coastline, Los Angeles and Orange County enjoy a pleasant climate that is ideal for growing a lot of different orchid plants.

Where is the best place to grow your Masdevallia orchids?

Ideally, Masdevallia orchids should be grown in a cool greenhouse to mimic its natural habitat. But for new varieties and hybrids that have been bred and adapted to domestic growing conditions, a semi-shady location or the coolest area around your house would be the most suitable. Get a miniature or compact type of orchids that can fit in a north-facing or shaded south-facing windowsill. Make sure it receives great air circulation.

How much light do Masdevallia orchids need?

Similar to Phalaenopsis orchids, Masdevallia orchids should be given 1,000 to 1,500-foot candles. If grown as an indoor orchid plant, it can grow under typical fluorescent light but should be taken outside in a shaded location during summertime.

How much water do Masdevallia orchids require?

Constant moisture is essential for successfully growing Masdevallia orchids. They should be watered frequently and must never be completely dried. But you need to observe your plant to figure out the sweet spot, as intense moisture can also make your orchid plant vulnerable to fungal infections and diseases, and can make the roots rot.

Tips on maintaining humidity for this orchid

Masdevallia orchids will do best in 40 to 70 percent humidity. Ortho's All About Orchids advises against too much watering or misting Masdevallia orchid plants to compensate for low levels of humidity, as this only makes them more prone to fungal diseases. A humidifier and an oscillating fan can help provide proper air ventilation, circulation, and humidity. 

How to feed my orchids?

The AOS recommends fertilizing Masdevallia orchid varieties with a balanced fertilizer at a diluted strength of 1/2 or 1/4 once a week. Water thoroughly between each feeding session to flush away accumulated salt. 

Orchids in Los Angeles and Orange County

Do you want to collect and grow lovely orchid varieties like Masdevallia orchids?

Orchid Republic boasts of a stunning collection of exquisite orchid arrangements featuring vanda orchids, phalaenopsis orchids, cymbidium orchids, and more. Our chic orchid plants are available for same day flower delivery in Los Angeles and Orange County. Shop online or visit our store to see our gorgeous orchids!

 

Sources:

Ortho's All about Orchids By Elvin McDonald
The Orchid Whisperer: Expert Secrets for Growing Beautiful Orchids By Bruce Rogers
The American Orchid Society
Jay's Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia

 

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