The Masdevallia originates from South America and can be found from Mexico to Brazil. They are epiphytic, lithophytic or earth orchids that occur in the cloud in the Andes at an altitude of 2,400-4,000 m, in a rather cool, humid and foggy climate.
The Masdevallia has been discovered and named after Jose Masdevall. Jose Masdevall was a physician and botanist at the or of King Charles III of Spain.
The plant grows from a short, creeping rhizome from which small pseudo-bulbs develop. Some are hemicryptophyt: the pseudobulb is on or just below the surface. Each pseudobulb carries fleshy, smooth leaves that grow in bunches. The green leaves are egg-shaped or lance-shaped.
They usually bloom during the summer. The triangular flowers grow on short flower stalks and are about 6 cm wide. On each stalk there is usually only one flower, but sometimes there can be several. The petals and the tongue or shell-shaped lip are small and partially hidden deep in the flower. The three large sepals are fused along their edges and often have long tails. The sepals are often very brightly colored, large and showy, while the rest of the flower is unremarkable.
Species that occur between 3,000 meters and higher must be grown cool to cold.
Species between 1,000 meters and 1,500 meters can be grown in intermediate temperatures. Very few types of Masdevallia grow well at warm temperatures.
Also make a clear difference between day and night temperature.
The most species are satisfied with a shady place. The leaves must be bright green: in too much light they turn yellow and in low light dark green.
In general, the medium must not dry out. The water quality is very important: Masdevallia is very sensitive to salts in the water. Do not use water that has been treated by a water softener. If your water contains too many minerals, regularly give a shower to rinse out the minerals.
The roots must always be moist but not wet. The best thing to do is give you a little water every morning that should be dehydrated in the evening.
Ideal is 70-90% humidity. Mature plants can do it with less, but growth and flowering are much slower.
Masdevallias can be grown in a moist blend of fine bark or sphagnum moss or mounted on a wooden stump or sticks. They benefit from good air circulation.
In larger pots one may use a coarser mix, but then the upper layer should preferably still consist of the finer mix of spruce bark and mush.
They are also extremely suitable for cultivation on hydroponics.
Give weekly universal liquid manure for houseplants but dilute to 1/8 in comparison with the recommended dilution.
Repot annually to prevent the substrate from rotting, Masdevallia does not tolerate this.
The flowering lasts about 2 weeks. When the flower stalk is formed, do not turn the pot any more so that the same side is always facing the light.
The yellowing and falling of the flower buds before flowering is usually due to too high a temperature or too dry air.
The orchid Madevallia is a small but very elegant orchid.