Masdevallia Orchids – The Most Complete Guide

Masdevallia orchids are another orchid genus perfect for growing in gardens and indoors, providing the room with a decorative and eye-catching element. It is a plant that is characterized by having small petals and presents a diversity of colors that vary from lighter shades to darker ones such as red.

In today’s article of The Garden Style, we decided to talk about the species of Masdevallia, you will learn the main characteristics of this genus, which has a variety of species native to the regions of Peru. Also, we mention everything you should know about their flowers and the flowering time of Masdevallia orchids.

Another aspect that we will discuss in this content is the care you should follow such as; the right substrate, watering frequency, and lighting so you can grow this orchid at home in a fast and effective way. I assure you that you will learn everything about Masdevallia Orchids. Keep reading!

What Are Masdevallia Orchids?

Masdevallia are orchids belonging to the Orchidaceae family and are in one of the largest orchid subfamilies, the Epidendrodeae. They are the most popular orchid species and are known to some as the Kite Orchid because of the particular shape of their flowers.

Masdevallia orchids have more than 400 species that are often confused with other plants since their petals are very small and have similarities with other flowers.  It is currently considered one of the most cultivated genera by orchid lovers and in the market, it is common to find hybrids of Masdevallia orchids.

This genus was named Masdevallia orchids in honor of José Madevall Terrades, a renowned physician and botanist from Spain. The botanists Hipólito Ruiz, José Antonio were in charge of naming this plant as a symbol of appreciation and homage to their colleagues.

Masdevallia Orchids is one of the plant species with orchid species of all types, i.e., you can find epiphytic, semi-terrestrial, and even terrestrial orchids of the genus Masdevallia.  A particular aspect of these plants is that they have a variety of hybrids, although these are not so resistant to temperature changes.

If you wish to buy a Masdevallia Orchid, it is recommended that you select a pure species, in general, they are resistant plants, easy to grow, and that present beautiful blooms in two seasons of the year. There is no doubt that Masdevallia Orchids are one of the orchid genera that we should not miss and that we all want at home.

This genus of orchids is considered one of the most fascinating of the Orchidaceae family since it not only has beautiful flowers and although some of its species have a particular form associated with nature Masdevallia deceive a variety of insects with their incredible aroma which allows the pollination of the species.

what are masdevallia orchids

Characteristics of Masdevallia Orchids

We present the most outstanding characteristics of Masdevallia Orchids, among them are:

Masdevallia are plants that can be of epiphytic class, which grow on trees and absorb nutrients from moisture, rain. In addition, they are located in the highest zone of the trees to acquire the necessary illumination for their development process.

There are also semi-terrestrial Masdevallia orchids or lithophytes that grow on the rocks, specifically in the moss that is found on them, they have pseudobulbs and the roots will be responsible for acquiring all the energy and nutrients for the plant.

At present, some species of Masdevallia orchids of the terrestrial class have been confirmed that as its name indicates, they grow on the ground and the roots obtain from the ground the water for their growth. When buying an orchid of this genus it is important to know to which class of orchids it belongs, as the conditions of its development may vary.

These orchids contain their pseudobulbs or storage organ on a short subway stem where the small pseudobulbs can be seen. Its leaves are characterized by being lanceolate, which have a shape with the appearance of the tip of a spear and are dark green.

The stems of Masdevallia orchids where the flower buds arise are erect and these are formed from several clusters. As for their reproduction, like most orchid species, they require the help of pollinators and what will attract insects to Masdevallia orchids is their scent.

An interesting fact about Masdevallia orchids is that they have more than 500 species as mentioned above, but the vast majority of these plants are distributed in Peru being native orchids of this country located in South America.

characteristics masdevallia orchids

The Flowers of Masdevallia Orchids

Masdevallia orchids bloom during the summer, so they are plants that thrive in warm or cool climates. The flowers of this orchid genus vary in color according to the species, generally, you will find purple, red with an orange or yellowish labellum. Also, there are Masdevallia orchids of a reddish shade, practically brown.

This is a plant with small flowers where the petals and the labellum can be seen inside the flower.  Most Masdevallia species have long spurs on the final edge of the terminal sepals and the slender support that holds the flower is about 2.4″ (6 cm) wide and has a trigonal appearance.

It has a racemose inflorescence and is one of the most striking orchids you will find. That’s right, the combination of its longspurs, its labellum, and tongue-shaped sepals that are practically inside the flower and the variety of shades it presents make it one of the most beautiful plants on the planet.

flowers masdevallia orchids
Flowers of Masdevallia Orchids.

Where can Masdevallia Orchids be Found?

Masdevallia orchids can be found in several South American countries such as Peru where more than 150 species are distributed throughout the country.

In general, it is one of the plants that are located in various locations such as Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, and throughout the Andes Mountains. The Masdevallia inhabit places of high altitude and can be found in the cloud forests considered the realm of epiphytic plants.

Masdevallia Orchids Varieties

Here are some of the varieties of Masdevallia orchids that you can find:

Masdevallia igneous.

It is an epiphytic plant characterized by its tropical stems and its beautiful red flowers that bloom during the summer, it has a straight inflorescence.

Masdevallia angulate

The orchid Masdevallia angulata is one of the most popular species that can be found in Colombia, it stands out for its large purple flowers. Learn more about Colombian Orchids.

Masdevallia agaster

An epiphytic plant with small flowers, elongated spurs characteristic of the species, and its flowers are yellow, present in the interior of the flower rough texture.

Masdevallia nidifica

The nidifica is one of the species of Masdevallia that inhabit cold climates, its almost tiny yellow flowers are difficult to see with the naked eye.

Masdevallia caesia

A plant native to Colombia that has a large greenish leaf, its elongated orange flowers are distinguished from other plant species.

Masdevallia collina

The flowers of Masdevallia collina have a dark appearance, are characterized by slender inflorescence, and are found in Panama, it is an epiphytic plant.

Masdevallia deformis

Masdevallia deformis one of the native species of Peru blooms at any time of the year for a long period and develops in cool climates.

Masdevallia herradurae

A small-flowered orchid with elongated petals, its small flowers are deep purple. It is a species that you can find in Ecuador.

Masdevallia civilis

It is a plant of epiphyte class, semiterrestrial, and even terrestrial, like other species of Masdevallia orchids, is small and develops in cool climates.

Masdevallia estradae

Masdevallia estradae is an orchid native to South America, has a pleasant aroma for its pollinators, and has a thin inflorescence.

Masdevallia constricta

Masdevallia constricta corresponds to one of the species of Peru, its flowers are white and the inside of the flower has a yellow hue.

Masdevallia pumila

One of the Masdevallia species that inhabits the humid forests, its flowers are characterized for being hanging, it is one of the orchids that grow in trees.

Masdevallia aphanes

Masdevallia aphanes is an orchid that you will love for the tonality of its flowers and the shiny texture it presents. It is an orchid from Peru and Ecuador.

Masdevallia bicolor

Masdevallia bicolor, as its name indicates, has double inflorescence with two shades, you can find it in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Learn more about Venezuelan Orchids.

Masdevallia albella

It is an orchid with beautiful but small white flowers.  It develops in trees since it is an epiphyte plant.

How To Care for and Grow Masdevallia Orchids

If you are thinking of caring for and growing a Masdevallia Orchid species in The Garden Style we explain the conditions in which this genus of orchids develops:

how to care masdevallia orchid
Care Masdevallia Orchid.

How to Grow Masdevallia Orchids

Successful cultivation of our Masdevallia orchids will depend on knowing the right conditions for their development. It is important to prune them, apply organic fertilizers (Order here) and handle them delicately. Remember to transplant them and when doing so, look for the right pot according to the type of orchid.

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Lighting

Natural light for plants is indispensable to obtain the nutrients necessary for their growth. Masdevallia orchids, like other genera, need direct or indirect light, although it is best to place them near the window and during the first hours of the morning we can expose them to sunlight.

Temperatures

The temperatures of Masdevallia orchids vary depending on the species and where they are located, but it is considered that the adequate temperatures for this genus are between 65 °F and 77 °F (18°C and 25°C) at most, at night the temperature should not drop below 54 °F (12°C). However, in hot weather, it can withstand 84 °F (29°C).

Substrate

The suitable substrate for epiphytic orchids will be pine bark that you can accompany with a little coconut fiber also, the use of fern and grain is recommended. It is important to evaluate the growing conditions of our Masdevallia orchid, this will depend on changing the pot for a bigger one and renewing the substrate every year.

Learn more about Best Pots for Orchids and Best Soil for Orchids.

Watering Masdevallia orchids

In The Garden Style, we recommend evaluating the humidity of the soil every time we water our plant, the plant should not be drowned because we will end up rotting the roots. It is considered that Masdevallia should be watered once a week, but during the summer we should increase the watering to twice a week, everything will depend on our orchid.

Masdevallia Orchids Pests and Diseases

Orchid diseases are caused by excessive watering, high exposure to direct sunlight, and lower-than-recommended humidity. For this reason, it is necessary to know how to take care of our Masdevallia orchids.

As pests, aphids, snails, and mosquitoes are frequent, we recommend inspecting the plant and sterilizing the instruments when handling it.

Orchids are wonderful thanks to their flowers, aromas, and different colors, therefore, if we want to enjoy their blooms at home, it is very important to know their care and the correct way to grow them. If you have any doubt we have complete articles for the integral care of orchids.

Photos and Images of Masdevallia Orchids

There are a variety of spectacular species of Masdevallia orchids, in this content, we leave you some photos and images of one of the most sought after and cultivated orchids. Appreciate their long petals and the diversity of colors they present:

Masdevallia Orchids are distributed in Central and South America, there are a variety of Masdevallia species that thanks to artificial propagation are not in danger of extinction. Regardless of whether you want to buy a Masdevallia Orchid or a hybrid of this genus, you should know how to take care of them.

About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgan family, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for TheGardenStyle.com as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.