Growing Masdevallia Veitchiana Indoors?
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  #1  
Old 04-03-2014, 12:30 PM
RandomGemini RandomGemini is offline
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Growing Masdevallia Veitchiana Indoors? Female
Default Growing Masdevallia Veitchiana Indoors?

So, I have wanted to try a masdie for a while.

The seller at the orchid show suggested veitchiana as a good plant to start with. I told the seller that I'm a windowsill grower, but when I got home, I realized that the seller is not from my area at all. Where the seller is located, it's much more humid and I've been recommended plants by sellers in Seattle that have not thrived here, because our conditions are not as humid as theirs. I think they forget how far we are from the ocean, and that it doesn't rain here between April and September.

After realizing that, I'm not sure I can grow these where I live... it's not humid here at all, not even outside and for most of the year, I can't leave this plant outside because nighttime temps are below 36 degrees at night, or daytime temps are above 90 degrees. I think there are about 4 months out of the year where I could grow this outside.

Here are my concerns with indoor growing, if you have some advice, I'd appreciate it!

It is currently in a plastic pot with bark. Due to the low humidity here, I was planning to repot this directly into a clay pot with some spag on top of the bark and setting it on a humidity tray. Would it be best to repot it in pure spagh? I have to fight to get the humidity in my growing room to 50%. My paphs are planted in a mix of 75% spagh, with 25% bark with some bark in the bottom of the pot for good drainage. It's the only way I can keep them moist enough that I only have to water them twice a week. I will probably place a layer of spag on the top of all of my orchid pots for the summer, to help keep things moist so I don't have to water as often.

When is the best time to repot these? From what I've been reading, I could go ahead and repot it whenever I feel like it, and I was thinking it might be best to repot it before the warm weather hits, so I was thinking I'd repot it as soon as the current bloom on it drops off.

I was thinking that I could get away with watering less often if I left a little water in the saucer for the pot. Over the summer, this will evaporate, probably on a daily basis, I expect I will be watering daily or very close to it, if I leave it potted in bark, just because of how dry it is here. Will this work to help with humidity and keep the plant's feet moist and the roots cool?

Thanks for any advice you can give!
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  #2  
Old 04-03-2014, 03:25 PM
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RosieC RosieC is offline
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I grow this one in pure sphag in a clay pot and keep it always just moist.

The moist clay cools as moisture evaporates (make sure it's porous clay, some that look they they should be aren't). This cooling is great for the plant and the roots seem to love it.

I would repot spring or summer, but any time should be OK. I just always prefer to repot when they are growing. The clay will help with cooling so repoting before it gets too warm would be good. I've repotted with it in flower and not lost the flowers in the past, however I was just changing moss for fresh moss not changing the medium so there was very little change for it.

If you do go for moss then repot every year, it likes fresh enough moss. I have left it two years before but I don't think it was happy about it.

In the summer I often sit the pot in a tray of water, but lifted up by a clay pot stand so the water only just touches the bottom of the pot. This helps stop it drying out, the clay can get suddenly warm if it dries out.

I've not found humidity to be a problem, it often drops low for me in the summer. If the roots are kept damp (not wet) as described above then humidity of the air does no seem to matter.

I did find it didn't do well in my house, but that was before I discovered the clay pot/sphag method of growing. This is one of the cooler growing masdies and doesn't like to be too warm. However mine does do fine in the summer with the roots kept cool even when the greenhouse get's quite warm.
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  #3  
Old 04-03-2014, 04:25 PM
RandomGemini RandomGemini is offline
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I can put this in my basement to keep it fairly cool if it gets too warm for it. I'm guessing I'll know if it's too warm, because it will sulk. It seems to droop and wrinkle a bit when it wants water. I've been watering it about every other day in its current configuration with the plastic pot and bark and it's not even that warm outside right now.

If the trick is keeping the roots cool, then I'll try the clay pot and moss method for sure. Hopefully, the rest comes together naturally for me. I wish I could grow this outdoors, but it's just too cold/hot here for it. The light in my front patio in the summer months would be perfect and it would look beautiful there, but I know I'll be tracking down another basket of hardware store flowers this year.

I don't have enough to repot this guy in all spaghnum moss, so I'll have to order some in. I'll post an update when I have it repotted! Thank you Rosie! Thanks for your awesome post and your help.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:58 PM
jeremyinsf jeremyinsf is offline
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I agree with Rosie on most all points, and also agree veitchiana is one of the best species to try this with.

My take is that you can re-pot them anytime - being in fresh media and getting it on the right track is more important for them than the calendar.

I would 1000% say that pure fresh high-quality NZ sphag in a porous clay pot is the way to go. I think it's the right long-term decision for your case, and also the roots will acclimate to it quickly.

BTW - I swear by using seaweed with Masdevallia's.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:11 PM
RandomGemini RandomGemini is offline
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I was reading about their water needs earlier today. I have a couple of orchids that I do not fertilize, I only give them bottled water. I mist my dracula lotax with this stuff daily and I don't fertilize it, but I'm not getting good growth this way. I've joked with my husband that I'm going to put it in a terrarium with a couple of Poison Dart Frogs so that they can fertilize it.

So far, I've been doing fine with better gro orchid plus for my phals, paphs and oncidiums, but I would like to have something that would work for my more sensitive plants. Any recommendations on a product that you like?
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:16 PM
jeremyinsf jeremyinsf is offline
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Some people say do not fertilize them - however, I've met some of the best Masdevallia growers in the world - and they all say you have to do it. It's one of the first questions I ask. I'm currently using k-lite with them but I think I'm going to switch to something else, based on what a well-known hybridizer told me recently. If it works out well, I will post about it again. In the mean time, the weakly-weekly rule applies.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:15 PM
RandomGemini RandomGemini is offline
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That's what I was thinking too, I have yet to see good growth on anything without fertilizer and I have seen photos of masdevallia veitchiana grown out into these lush looking things and I want that!

Wish me luck, and hopefully I can order supplies without ordering another plant.
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:38 AM
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I fertilize mine. I use Akerne's Rain Mix (which is MSU equivalent) with something like every other watering. This is one of the ones I always keep on pure water (rain water) and a low fertiliser regime, but I do fertilise regularly.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:21 AM
RandomGemini RandomGemini is offline
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I'll be more careful about its water then. I've been watering it with tap water, but I will water it with bottled or RO water from here on out.

I may be able to get MSU locally, I was planning to head out today anyway to one of the local nurseries and see if any of them had some healthy African Violets that aren't infested with aphids or thrips. I just pitched mine because they had thrips. No more big box store plants off the clearance shelf for me... ever.
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Old 04-05-2014, 02:04 PM
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Masdevallia vietchiana is actually a pretty strong plant. It is pretty easy to grow. I nearly wiped out the orchid because I didn't have time to repot it, and the potting mix had deteriorated to the point where it was no longer providing adequate air flow to the roots. It had even withstood days of neglect where it didn't receive a whole lot of water. This orchid is growing back for me.

I grow this species outdoors all year round and the periods of low humidity it receives doesn't seem to be an issue.

I have also watered it using tap water with no seemingly ill effects, unlike some other Masdevallias I own.

It likes bright indirect light like that for Cattleyas.

It doesn't like to be warmer than 85 F.
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