It was finally time to repot the little seedlings I bought from Ecuagenera in flasks at the orchid show in Gothenburg 2008. Since deflasking them I have grown them intermediate/warm in a small mini-greenhouse and communal pots with sphagnum moss. It is recommended you grow all small seedlings, even cool growers, a bit warmer but now I thought they had grown large enough to move into the cool vivarium with the grownups. They have been progressing slowly, oh so slowly, over the past two years… you have to be very patient to grow orchids from flasks… I needed to deflask them almost immediately after arrival since the agar had begun to mold inside, you can see it in the first flask photo below, this slowed down their progress some. It is best to let them grow inside the flask as long as possible, until they no longer fit or the nutrients in the agar is spent. But at first sign of mold you have to take them out since mold can quickly overtake the whole flask, killing the seedlings. It is not unusual that you get mold however with pressure changes in air transport allowing air to get inside the sterile flasks. This is the chance you take when you buy flasks. The Masdevallia were of a decent (but not great) size when I got them and established nicely outside the flask. I have an almost 100% survival rate among the Masdevallia infracta. The Dracula babies however were very small, less then a centimeter tall, and I was unsure they would even make it at all. Many of them did not, but I have 3 very strong seedlings left. In all fairness, the Dracula babies would have done a lot better with a bit higher RH than I could provide in my nursery and many of them have simply whithered away. Unfortunately most of the Masdevallia decumana babies were lost to mold when we were away on vacation about a year ago, I have one very tiny seedling left, we’ll see how it does now… I mounted the Dracula babies on EpiWeb and potted all the Masdevallia in a couple of communal mesh pots in EpiWeb substrate. The easiest way to do this without damaging the roots is to simply sandwich the seedling between 2 or 3 pieces of EpiWeb nuggets, then place them side by side in the pot kind of like stacking Lego. I am [...]
I picked up this little gem from Ecuagenera at the Sofiero orchid show in May and it obviously did not object over the long journey from South America since it is already blooming. I just adore this little thing… the sepals remain fused together and the flowers look like some sort of an alien… a hungry alien. This is why I love orchids so much. There are no rules! Flowers can look any which way, be hairy, scary, weird or just downright stunningly beautiful. I am a captive of this great, wondrous creativity. Masdevallia mendozae is a miniature epiphyte from Southern Ecuador. The flowers measure about 1,5 cm and are bright orange in color. It grows in the cloud forests at elevations of 1800 to 2300 meters. Apparently the species enjoy brighter light than most other Masdevallia and is also a bit more tolerant of warmer temperatures as long as air circulation is good. I grow mine mounted on EpiWeb in the cool vivarium.
Mmmm… German grower Orchids & More just returned from Ecuador and Peru with a huge shipment of orchids – and there are a lot of really cool orchids on their new list. I just have to get my hot little hands on a few of them! Luckily I am not the only one feeling this way, and in no time at all I had found an order to piggyback on for this town… I picked out several Masdevallias and Draculas I have been thinking about for a long time now, and my very first Coryanthes. Oh this is going to be good!! Stay tuned.