Masdevallia (Aurora 'Sensation' x Heathii 'Hawk Hill') is a beautiful orchid hybrid that requires some specific care to thrive. But don't be intimidated! Orchid care is easier than you think. Here are some general guidelines to help you care for your Masdevalia orchid:
Light: These orchids prefer bright, gentle light. Place your orchid near an east-facing window or provide it with indirect sunlight. They will also do wonderfully under grow lights! Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, indoors or outdoors, as it can burn the leaves.
Temperature and Humidity: Masdevalia orchids thrive in cool to intermediate temperatures. They prefer daytime temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C) and slightly cooler temperatures at night. Maintain humidity levels between 50% and 70%. You can increase humidity by placing a tray of water near the orchid or using a humidifier. Masdevalia orchids can actually be grown beautifully both indoors and outdoors in San Francisco!!!
Watering: Masdevalias are epiphytic orchids, meaning they naturally grow on trees and absorb moisture from the air and rain. Water your orchid regularly, keeping the potting medium moist but not soggy. Avoid letting it dry out completely between waterings, as this can be detrimental. Use room temperature or slightly cooler water and pour it over the roots until it drains out of the bottom of the pot. Allow the pot to drain thoroughly. I personally water my Masdevalia orchis 2 - 3x a week.
Potting Medium: Use a well-draining orchid mix that consists of materials such as bark, sphagnum moss, perlite, or charcoal. Avoid using regular potting soil, as it retains too much moisture and can suffocate the roots.
Fertilization: Feed your Masdevalia orchid with a balanced orchid fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength. Apply the fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) and reduce it to once a month during the resting period (fall and winter).
Air Circulation: Good air circulation is crucial for Masdevalia orchids. Provide adequate ventilation around the plant to prevent the development of fungal or bacterial disease.
Resting Period: Masdevalia orchids have a resting period during the fall and winter. During this time, reduce watering slightly and fertilizer application. You can maintain a slightly cooler temperature around the orchid to stimulate blooming in the future.
Repotting: As Masdevalias grow, they may outgrow their pots. Repot your orchid every one to two years, preferably in the spring after blooming. Use a clean pot slightly larger than the previous one and fresh orchid mix.
Blooming: Masdevalia orchids produce beautiful and unique flowers. With proper care, they will reward you with blooms over and over again, especially in the spring and summer.
Remember that every orchid is unique, so closely observe your plant's behavior and adjust care accordingly. With patience and attention to detail, you can enjoy the beauty of your Masdevalia orchid for many years to come.