Masdevallia veitchiana is a suitable orchid for beginners because it grows quickly and blooms quite spectacularly, especially when many flowers bloom simultaneously.
Long regarded as the national treasure of Peru, it is rumored to be grown by the Incas centuries ago. They called the plant waqanki.
In Peru, it is known as Gallo-Gallo, meaning “rooster”, because the flower looks a red comb.
It was discovered in 1866 in the high Andes by Pearce, an English plant collector.
This cool or cold, large, sometimes lithophytic and rarely epiphytic orchid is a tufted species with upright leaves.
The leaves grow on a short secondary stalk that connects the leaf to the rhizome, surrounded by a series of tubular bracts and thick, oblong leaves that narrows towards the base.
Flowering occurs in spring and early summer with an erect, single flowered inflorescence of 39-44 cm long, protruding far above the plant. The flower has two wide apart, tubular bracts and a bloated, tube-shaped, oval bract. The flowers are orange and covered with tiny purple hairs on the flower that give an iridescent effect when they move with the wind. They are quite large: 15-20 cm long and 5 cm wide.
The plant varies is appearance and flower color and there is a large-flowered species, M. veitchiana grandiflora.
Andes: Peru, Colombia
They are lithophytic or terrestrial orchids that grow at 2,000-4,000 m altitude in the Andes, including in Machu Picchu, in a rather cold, damp and foggy climate. Usually they are found in crevices in the rock with little soil.
Masdevallia is named after Jose Masdevall, a physician and botanist at the court of King Charles III of Spain.
Veitchiana is named in honor of Harry Veitch, of the Veitch Nurseries family, through whose plant-hunters it was discovered in 1867 and who imported the orchid , bred it and first got into bloom.
Diurnal: 15-25 °C
Nocturnal: lower than 5 °C but not frost resistant
Provide a distinct difference in day and night temperatures.
Must have plenty of light to bloom regularly. The leaves should be bright green: in too much light, they are yellow and when they don’t have enough light, the they are dark green.
In general, the substrate should not dry out. The water quality is also very important as Masdevallia is very sensitive to salts in water. So certainly do not use water that has been treated by a softener. If your water contains many minerals, a regular shower to rinse the minerals from the substrate is useful.
The roots should always be damp but not wet. They should be watered a little every morning and and dried by the evening.
Mature plants can settle for less but the growth and flowering will be much slower.
A bowl of water or misting is not effective enough. It is better to use an enclosed area with adequate ventilation, such as an orchidarium.
Masdevallia can be grown in a moist mix of fine fir bark and peat moss or mounted on slabs of wood or sticks. The important thing is that they have good air circulation.
In large pots, you can use a coarser mix but the top layer must be composed of a mixture of fine fir bark and peat moss.
They are also very suitable for hydroponics.
Provide a general liquid fertilizer for houseplants once a week, but diluted to 1/8th compared with the recommended dilution.
Repot annually to prevent the substrate from rotting, Masdevallia does not resist that.
The bloom lasts about two weeks. When the flower stalk begins to appear, do not turn the pot so that the same side remains turned towards the light.
Yellowing and falling of the flower buds before they hatch are usually due to excessively high temperatures or dry air.
By seed and division, easy.
The plant has a rhizome that may be cut in pieces when the plant is mature.
Must be sown in fertile substrate under sterile conditions.
Germination: 2-3 weeks, maximum 4 weeks
Repot: when the seedlings are 2 cm high