Here is a group of MASDEVALLIA orchids in bloom in a perfect little micro-climate I rigged up for them at the nursery. It is outdoors in total shade.These orchids grow in cool, moist Andean forests and mountain areas. They do not grow in trees, like many orchids do.I have never had much luck with them until I really thought about WHAT DO THEY REALLY WANT? They want to go home !! So, home is shady, moist and cool,with shallow streams and mossy rocks …..Inca pyramids and UFO landing strips. This is what I created for them. By accident, I found out that these orchids LOVE to sit in a bit of shallow water (DEATH to most other orchids). At the end of October, when it is still cool but above freezing, I will move their entire little habitat into a lightly heated greenhouse and place it outside again in late March.
You can see a bit of black shade cloth flipped back to let in more light on a cloudy day. This little cold frame is placed in an area where it gets no direct sun, as these orchids like shade. I leave the lid open a bit at all times to allow fresh air in – they love this.
If you want to try some Masdevallias, try J&L Orchids in Connecticut . They ship to Canada with no hassles and are the world authority nursery on this genus. WWW.JLORCHIDS.COM
I took this picture on December 20th, 2013 ! This little cutie is a hybrid Masdevallia called ‘Lollipop’ . It is growing in a 3″ clay pot and sits in a bit of water at all times. It would shrivel and die in a heated house/normal environment, but loves my cool moist mini-greenhouse shown above. I sat it in the snow for this photo, but only for a minute or two.