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Utter newbie with an orchid masdevallia 'copper cherub' -- help!

Posted by jayco 5b NY (My Page) on
Mon, May 23, 11 at 18:51

So believe it or not I picked this up at a plant swap.
I know zip about orchids. So please help me. What the heck do I do with this? I mean, I don't even know where to put it, how/when to water it, feed it, etc. I do not want to kill it. (And if you all tell me it's very hard to keep alive, I'll look for an orchid-whisperer to give it to.)


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Utter newbie with an orchid masdevallia 'copper cherub' -- he

Masdevallia Copper Cherub (deformis x strobelii) is a hybrid so probably easier than either of the 2 parents. Put it in the coolest place you have and keep it watered heavily, at least every 3 days with clean water.(Sparklets or any other clean water, RO if you have it) They don't like tap water but in NY I hear the tap water is pretty good. Does not need much light. Fertilize it once a week with 1/4 of the recommended strength on the fertilizer you are using. If it's in moss you probably want to water it every 2 days, the moss should not get dry.

Let us know what it's potted in, how many leaves, how many new leaves showing, evidence of past blooming.

Should work out OK, good luck.


RE: Utter newbie with an orchid masdevallia 'copper cherub' -- he

Wow, thank you!

It is potted in a 5-inch plastic pot in bark nuggets -- I felt around under and it feels like some sort of coarse but smaller stuff -- not soil -- beneath, and it still has the tag from J.& L. Orchids in CT. It has a lot of leaves, 30-40, I'd say, most seem not-so-new, but a few younger curling ones coming out of the center. I cannot detect any signs of previous blooming. There's a little metal hook-thing in the center of the pot. It's about 3" high and spilling over the edges of the pot a bit. Looks healthy.

When you say cool I start to worry. It gets very hot in NY in summer and we do not have central air. Right now it's cool and humid, which I suppose is ideal? But am I right to think it needs fairly good temperature control to thrive?

RE: Utter newbie with an orchid masdevallia 'copper cherub' -- he

Masdevallias are not typical orchids in their appearance, but otherwise you need to treat them much as you would any tropical orchid. Most Masdies originate in the foothills of the northern Andes and this should give you some idea of the conditions they like to grow in.They don't like either a lot of heat or cold so try and keep the temperature low in summer and warm in winter (50-80F). Water regularly with the purest water you can get, rain water if possible. Tap water has too many chemicals. Once a week is sufficient most of the time. Don't use a saucer. Let the water drain freely through the pot. It's Ok to let them dry out a bit between waterings. A little weak high potash (tomato) fertilizer once in a while is a good idea too. If you're growing it on a windowsill choose a NE or NW location, ideally they should get about an hour of sun a day or you can shade with net curtains. Keep it out of strong direct sunlight. In NY I would put it out of doors in a fairly shady location but where it can get rained on for 6 months from late spring onward till it starts to cool down again. Flowering can be any time but most of my Masdas bloom in late summer/fall. Good luck. - Ian.

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