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Moping Masdevallias - help!

This is a discussion on Moping Masdevallias - help! within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have several Masdevallias that I bought over the past few months, and none of ...

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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Moping Masdevallias - help!



    I have several Masdevallias that I bought over the past few months, and none of them are happy. I can't figure out why. I thought they were cool growers, so I originally had them in my basement in a somewhat shadier area than my standard cymbidiums, but they just sat there, and every once in a while a leaf would go yellow and fall off. Clearly bad. Here's a pic of one of the first ones I received. (It has pretty much looked like this since I got it... except for the fact that it used to be 2 different NOID plants, but they've lost so many leaves I've now combined both into one pot.)

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    Here's what the leaves look like... shortly after arriving at my house they started getting this wrinkly appearance:

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    Anyway, they didn't seem happy in the basement, so I moved them upstairs to my kitchen windowsill, which is North-East facing and gets diffused light in the morning but is shady for the rest of the day (I have a Paph micranthum that's particularly happy there). The temps drop into the mid 60's at night on the windowsill, but hover around 72 in the day.

    The Masdies stopped losing leaves on that windowsill, but the new growths coming in all ended up flopping over or rotting at some point before making it to maturity. Here's an example... you can see one new growth coming in nicely; next to it is a new growth that just suddenly flopped over and fell off the plant. They're all doing this sooner or later.

    Name:  masdie growth issues.jpg
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    Leaf floppage and new-growth rot made me think the plant wasn't getting enough sun or was staying too wet, but less frequent watering led to more wrinkly leaves that dropped off. So then I added a top-dressing of sphag to two of them to see if that would help hold in the moisture while reducing the watering frequency, and I just discovered yesterday that the two plants with the sphag on top were rotting and slimy underneath. Major yuck.

    I am completely baffled here.

    The lack of successful new growth suggests inadequate light, but I hesitate to put them in a brighter spot on the first floor, because the brighter areas tend to get quite warm.

    Do you think they'd be happy in a bright room that gets up to 76 degrees during the day? Or is that too hot? I'm really confused, and the internet seems to say conflicting things. I also hesitate to put them in brighter rooms, because I read online that they were shade-lovers.

    As for what they're potted in... I have them potted in the same bark mix that I use for my phals and everything else... it's labeled 'Special Orchid Mix' at the big box store, and it seems to work well for my plants. Oh, and I haven't fertilized these Masdies at all since I received them.

    I'm not sure what to do to help these little guys! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!!!

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    I grow mine in all spag. moss, and very moist, outside. Mine are in brighter light than "they" suggest, as indicated Mass. can grow in very dim light, saying they are good grown in bathroom. How's your humidity?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katherine View Post
    I grow mine in all spag. moss, and very moist, outside. Mine are in brighter light than "they" suggest, as indicated Mass. can grow in very dim light, saying they are good grown in bathroom. How's your humidity?
    Humidity is good... what temps do you grow yours in? I'm encouraged by the fact that they can be grown "brighter." Fungus sets in sooooo fast in my climate that anything that stays damp needs major air movement and has to dry out fairly quickly or I get the 'nasties.' My Phrag schlimii is the only plant that stays wet that hasn't ever had fungus problems because it gets Catt light, so that counteracts the wetness. And I'm experimenting with my Miltoniopsis plants to get the brightness/dampness combo down just right so I'm not battling 'smoosh-root.' I think I've finally gotten the hang of it... I have two Milts that are about to bloom, and NO yuck-root! (YAY!!)

    Anyway, I'm relatively new to Masdies, but I just love them, and I found someone who sells them ridiculously cheap (like 99 cents for NOID divisions), so I thought I'd start with something inexpensive so that if I messed it up, at least I didn't kill anything really valuable.

    I only have that one plant(s) that has the wrinkled leaves, and I think that happened because I massively cut back on watering because I was getting mushy stuff going on. If I could grow them brighter, I could avoid the mush-root situation altogether, I think.

    Now, to figure out why my new growths keep flopping over just as they are getting going... THAT would solve my problems...

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    The species are sensitive to inappropriate cultural conditions and will show signs of stress by leaf spotting or dropping. They can generally be grown in pots with sphagnum or seedling grade wood chips although a few species produce descending inflorescences and are best accommodated in baskets.[1] In both cases the rhizome should remain at the surface of the medium in order to prevent rot.

    Most of these plants are from high altitude cloud forests and require very cool conditions and abundant moisture throughout the year. They cannot tolerate dryness, low humidity, or excessive temperatures and the plants are very easy to kill. They will simply drop all their leaves and suddenly collapse if allowed to dry completely or are exposed to high temperatures. Many members of this genus from very high altitude cloud forests defy cultivation. Most of the species from this genus are considered less difficult in cultivation than plants from the genus Dracula, and some of them are very easy to cultivate and have a 'weedy' habit such as Veitch's Masdevallia, but the majority of these species are usually very difficult to maintain in cultivation unless the plants can be kept cool and moist all the time.

    Low humidity conditions or watering the plants with a water source which contains high levels of dissolved salts will result in the leaves yellowing and rapidly dying from the tips back to the rhizome. The plants should be provided with rain water or distilled water or a very pure water source. The medium should always remain moist as the plants do not have any significant storage structures like most orchids.

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    I'm no expert, I just got my first Masd last year. It came home from the orchid show as cute as can be, then lost half its leaves and just sat and sulked for months. It's got a lot of sphagnum moss in the pot (clay) and that sits inside another larger pot with gravel that holds water for humidity (we have an exceptionally dry climate). It seems happier in my Southern window this winter and is growing its first new leaf (very slowly). I tend to be a light waterer, the window area is on the cool side but nice and bright. I'll probably have to move it when it gets hot out though, as our outside temps get to over 100 degrees in the day and the window area will warm up pretty well and be very bright. Mine is a tiny miniature plant, I'm just glad to have kept half of it alive without losing ground on it after the first month when it was obviously in shock. The other useful feature of the South window is it's over the kitchen sink and I can monitor it's dampness all the time.

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    Miltoniopsis need to have less light than the miltonias and miltassias.( I dicovered this by the yelloing leaves)....

    Massy's....My house is seldom above 65-68 and outside down to 40, however the temp has gone below 40, but I have it on a table on my balcony, so it probably is a few degrees warmer than the air temp. I took a look at the roots a couple days ago and they have very happy roots and growing new ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katherine View Post
    In both cases the rhizome should remain at the surface of the medium in order to prevent rot.
    OMG, Katherine, I think you just nailed the problem!!! I was poking around through my pots to check for new growths, and I realized that I had to dig down a ways to find where the new growths were originating. I think I have them potted too deep!! That would explain why the growths get going, but then after a little while the bases of the new growths rot and the growths flop over!!

    I just went around to all my Masdies and plucked them up a bit so they are "sitting up" more in the media. I also made sure that the bases of the growths are visible so they can get air circulation.

    I will be absolutely OVERJOYED if this solves the problem!!!!

  8. #8
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    Hope you have success! The "Public Encyclopedia" sometimes has better infor than the orchid sites

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    When I got my masdie the first week of April, it had growth sprouting up at the rhizome so I planted it and made sure not to cover the rhizome. It's already pushing out a second leaf. And I just noticed what looks like more growth sticking out from the opposite end. I'm pretty sure that was ur prob, just buried the growth too far down. Keep humidity Up up UP u should be good
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    I'm starting to be in love with the masdevallias... It's the cutest one I have. It's not taking up much space and it seems to be growing quite rapidly. Becoming my new favorite orchid I think!
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