Masdevallia Prince Charming ‘Yodiehead’ CCM/AOS
I have owned this cool growing orchid for about 15 years ! It is a hybrid Masdevallia that I bought in Santa Barbara at a big orchid show. It has always produced one or two (or rarely four) flowers every spring. This year it went berserk flowering ! Starting in March , the intriguing coppery- orange flowers emerged all around its 4″ pot. By September, it was amazing. I knew that the American Orchid Society had created a long-awaited regional judging centre in Vancouver, so on Sept. 10th of this year I took my plant to be judged by the team of American and Canadian judges . The process takes hours, as the experts examine all the plants brought in for evaluation that day.
My plant won a ‘Certificate of Cultural Merit’ , with a score of 85 points! As one of the judges said to me when I was leaving ‘You should be very proud , you are competing with the world’ !
I have grown orchids for over thirty years and have always found Masdevallias hard to grow ! I have killed all I have ever owned ! But not this one – it is still crazy with flowers as I type this two weeks before Christmas !
Being native to cool Andean mountain areas, these ground-dwelling plants need to feel at home – no hot air, no dry environments. I knew that, so I place mine outside in total shade for the summer and bring it into my greenhouse in October. I leave it at the cool end, away from the heat source, and water/spritz every day. I fertilize all my orchids using a hose-end sprayer with 15-30-15 mixed in it, about twice a month. The leaves absorb the food as it is a ‘foliar spray’ I am delivering this way. And that’s it- no fussing , I am too busy. It was a long wait for this reward, but worth it !
AN UPDATE :
This orchid is still going strong ….. four months after winning its big award from the American Orchid Society ! It has more flowers now than it did on judging day, Sept 10th, 2011. I cannot believe it . I took this picture on January 4th, 2012 . It will soon be one year since flowering began !