In the places of origin the masdevallia grow up in shaded areas; at home, they prefer luminous areas, but, in any case, not in direct contact with the rays of the sun, which burns the leaves causing brown spots on the leaves. In summer, they can be taken outside, taking care to protect them from the sun, especially during the hottest hours of the day. They fear a lot the cold, the ideal temperature of cultivation is around the 15-20° C and should never go down under the 7 °C.
This type of orchid loves damp and windy environments, but without cold air currents and temperature changes that could cause serious damage.
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Like many other orchids, the masdevallia need abundant humidity, in this particular case, as they do not have pseudobulbs for storing water, it is good to remember to provide small quantities of water very often, keeping the substratum constantly moist.
It is advisable to vaporize the leaves to increase the ambient humidity, especially during hot days. Add fertilizer to the water of watering every 2-3 weeks, from April to October.
These plants have very thin roots, therefore, it is good to check that the soil does not remain soaked in water, as dangerous root rot could occur.
The ideal room temperature for these orchids can be as high as 70 %.
These plants develop better inside a greenhouse, where you can keep the degree of humidity and temperature constant.
To plant the masdevallia use an orchid compost, prepared with chopped bark, sphagnum and osmunda fibre; to increase drainage, a small amount of perlite or pumice stone can be added.
These orchids should be repotted every year, as many varieties have a fairly rapid growth, and also the continuous humidity of the substrate can cause the decomposition.
In spring, it is possible to divide the heads of leaves, taking care to keep at least one healthy root for each head, which is immediately to be repotted in a single pot, utilizing the best compound for the orchids, the one formed by sphagnum and shredded bark.
Masdevallia: Diseases and parasites
Orchid plants can be subject to many different problems, linked to environmental factors and incorrect cultivation techniques. One of the major problems can be caused by an excess of water in the soil which can cause serious root rot if not countered promptly.
Orchids can also be affected by aphids, cochineals and mites, which can be counteracted with special insecticide products, or, as for cochineals with manual intervention with the use of a cotton ball with alcohol.