Orchids are one of the most diverse groups of plants in the world and are known for the large variety of flowers they grow. Each orchid has evolved to produce flowers that attract a single species of pollinator. This grow guide will focus on the Masdevallia and Dracula genus.
Masdevallia and dracula orchids can be potted in a mix of sphagnum moss, orchid bark, and perlite. We recommend a mix of 60:20:20 respectively. However, these two genus prefer it on the wetter side, compared to other families of orchids, and can be potted up to 100% sphagnum moss. It is important to use a potting media that is conducive with your watering schedule. Orchid growers have had success with a large variety of different potting materials over the years. In general, adding more sphagnum moss will keep the plant moist longer so the watering frequency will be less to avoid root rot. Dracula orchids often bloom from the bottom of their containers and should be potted in net pots.
Orchids are prone to root rot via overwatering. In general, you should wait for the orchid to dry out a little between watering. Good drainage from the potting media will help prevent root rot if the orchids are kept consistently moist. Most masdevallia and dracula orchids will appreciate intermediate to highland conditions. We recommend day temperatures in the 70-80s and a nighttime temperature between 60-70F. As with most other species of orchids, they also appreciate higher humidity between 60-80%. They also appreciate periodic fertilization. Diluted fertilizer such as MaxSea can be used up to twice a month. Only fertilize your orchids if you feel comfortable and able to rinse the media with water the following day. Fertilizers will introduce more nitrogen which will break down the potting media quicker. As a result, you may have to repot every year depending on the quality of the media over time. Repotting is best done during winter or early spring.
All plants are coming from an intermediate/highland tropical greenhouse environment where the humidity is constantly over 70%. Many plants, especially hybrids, can be acclimated to household and windowsill conditions. If your humidity is low, you can put a bag over the plant as it acclimates. Alternatively, you can keep a shallow tray of water to increase localized humidity. Just make sure you are not keeping your orchids in deep standing water.