I am an orchid hobbyist, with a penchant for growing orchid species. From the time I could remember, I have been into gardening and have taken upon the challenge of cultivating hard to grow plants, including tropicals in “desert” New Delhi. My fascination with orchids began with a trip to a hill-station in Northern India. As usual, I was staring at the trees during a hiking trip and noticed plants that seemed as if they were”glued” onto the tree trunks, with no apparent root system. Subsequently, a bit of reading introduced me to the world of orchids.
I currently have a small greenhouse with a rather small collection of orchids. As is the case with almost everyone, I have made my fair share of mistakes in orchid culture, killing a few, but I have grown better at understanding them. My goal here is to converse with others on their experiences with orchids and plants in general. I have started with details on plant care based on my experience (both successes and failures) and hope to keep expanding.
Let me start of by sharing a photograph of the latest bloom in the greenhouse.
Masdevallia mystica, is a wonderful epiphytic miniature natural hybrid, indigenous to Colombia.
I grow it mounted on a slab of cork with lots of sphagnum moss to keep it cool. I find it to be an intermediate grower, which does slow down with higher temperatures in the summer, but loves it once cooler temperatures roll in during the Fall Season, here in Northern California. To keep it cool as possible, during the summer, I keep the plant on the floor of the greenhouse. Light requirements are high Phalaenopsis levels. During the summers, the plant gets misted multiple times a day to keep it cool, but with onset of cooler weather, I water it only once every week, with 1/2 strength 20-20-20 orchid fertilizer.
The plant is quite floriferous in the Fall, though I have seen it put out the odd flower spike in the Summer as well. One flower approximately 1 inch long is borne on each spike, which typically peeks out from between the foliage. The flowers are bright pink, with a fuzzy tubular structure that has a “bulge” near the base. If slugs and snails don’t get to them first, they typically last for 2 to 3 weeks and have no discernible fragrance. Unfortunately, I lost quite a few flowers to slugs this season before I laid down some snail bait. I have had this plant for about 2 years now, and it has grown to be a good sized specimen. This season I have had at least 15 blooms and a few more spikes.