[pleurothallid-l] Introduction

Ron Maunder pondeeza at enternet.co.nz
Fri Aug 1 10:06:17 EDT 2003

Haven't seen any postings as yet but guess there are a few other 
Massie freaks joined up out there?  Anyway here goes...!

We've been growing and hybridizing Masdevallias here in New Zealand 
for about 20 years or so.  Compared to a lot of countries our climate 
in the north of NZ makes it easy to grow all but the warmer species. 
We started with species Masdevallias and still have them but now 
concentrate on hybridizing the sub section Coccineae types.  Breeding 
bigger and brighter hybrids for cut flower export to the Northern 
Hemisphere during its cooler months is our goal. Also we make pot 
plant types using a few "squitty" species that flower well like M. 
caudata, triangularis, instar, datura and yungasensis.

Our plants are grown on mesh benches under a PVC roof with open 
shadecloth sides from ground to eaves.  We have plastic on the south 
side (cold side here) which is rolled down on a winch on frosty 
nights or in times of cold driving rain. Substrate varies from 1 cm - 
2 cm pine bark with or without shredded oasis to 100% shredded 
sphagnum moss or moss/shredded styrene foam and oasis 1:1:1.  These 
latter plants are grown in hydroponic tanks.

Our temperatures rarely go over 28°C or lower than light frosts of -1 
to -2°C.  A couple of weeks ago we had two frosts down around -6°C 
which we haven't seen for about 5 or 6 years.  Only damage to the 
Masdevallias was to drop all the buds off Masd tovarensis and knock 
some leaves off Masd bicolor.  Both were at flowering stage here. No 
Massies are heated.  Well I do take meijiana inside for a month or 
two during winter to keep it alive, but it obviously needs a bit more 
heat to flower well!

To put our climate in perspective - this is the centre of kiwifruit 
growing in NZ. Rainfall and sunshine hours are good.  Other 
commercial fruits around here are avocados, macadamias, citrus, 
persimmons, passionfruit and feijoas.  Ornamental bananas, a black 
taro and my huge Sobralias outside under shadecloth were badly 
frosted last week. We also grow thousands of Disas for cut flower 
export in the same houses as the Massies.

Sorry no Pleurothallis here but we do have several Restrepias! Anyone 
else out there growing Masdevallias?

Weather here today was wet with 14°C max and a 6°C low predicted for tonight.

Ron - Paradise Orchids, New Zealand

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