[pleurothallid-l] Masdevallias

Ron Maunder pondeeza at enternet.co.nz
Sun Dec 5 07:24:22 EST 2004

Hi there,

Things are very quiet on this discussion group! Lets see if we can 
talk up some enthusiasm!

Carlo has assured me that its OK to talk about anything to do with 
pleurothallids - even if Kathy in MN thinks such subjects as  "This 
talk of pollen trading is borderline "risque", "R" rated.     "Knock 
yourself out" he tells me, which he says means "Go for it until you 
are exhausted if needs be"!

I've come to again, so here goes!

Right now its not quiet pleurothallid-wise in the Southern Hemisphere 
and NZ in particular.  Its almost summer here and our maximum 
temperatures will not go much higher than 28°C. There are heaps of 
Masdevallias flowering.  Particularly the Coccineae sub-section.  We 
are pollen swapping, pollinating and dreaming of new crosses.  Even 
watching new seedlings flower.

Masdevallias grow so easily in our climate that there are lots of 
hybrids grown here. No one needs LS units or overhead lights to keep 
their plants alive but then not many here would go to the trouble to 
try to keep Lepanthes alive. I have never seen one here. They would 
probably die in the post coming from overseas nurseries!

Some of my hybridising goals are to make bigger and darker reds on 
strong, tall, upright stems.  Yellow throated ones look great. Larger 
alba coccineas, cerises and yellows that breed easier are another 
dream. I want these to add to my cut flower types or replace those 
with willowy stems.

I am selling off big, flowering plants to garden centres and the 
bright colours are very popular.  I am finding the cut flower plants 
I've bred with tall stems are really a bit too tall for pot plants so 
I am selecting colourful short stemmed plants to breed pot plant 
types with. Flowers above the foliage on erect or cascading stems. 
The super markets are taking smaller divisions and thus sell them 
cheaper than the garden centres.  I think in the long run I will sell 
more of the latter.  The mark up in both places is of course 

I'm experimenting with growing in shredded sphagnum moss too. The 
same "sweepings" that we use for our hydroponic grown Disas.  The 
plants do very well in it.  I pack it in fairly firmly.  It seems to 
dry out quicker than the bark mixes and if kept damp it soon grows 
moss and liverworts on the top. Does anyone know a product I can 
spray on the top of the pots to kill the moss and liverworts and not 
the plant? One advantage of sphagnum is that the pot can stand in a 
tray of water in the warm summer months and it saves watering.  Also 
good if you are going away for a week or two whereas bark mixes 
generally are too granular to capillary up the water from beneath and 
need someone to look after them.

I noticed that Linda S three pleurothalid-l issues back was asking 
about NZ sphagnum moss as a medium for Draculas.  Lynn replied 
advocating its use in plastic net pots or slatted baskets and Colleen 
says she uses it with a bit of large grade perlite in plastic net 

I don't grow in slatted baskets though I have a number I've never 
used under the bench. Can't say I have a problem with Dracula flowers 
burying themselves in the moss in solid plastic pots.  I keep the pot 
size small and it doesn't seem to be a problem.  Then again I don't 
go for growing large specimen plants.  As soon as they start getting 
a bit of size I divide them up and sell them off or exchange them!  I 
just grow a few like gigas, chimaera, chestertonii, vampira, 
erythrochaeta, soderoi, bella and cordobae. I have played with making 
intergeneric hybrids between Dracs and Massies but they don't seem to 
produce more than the odd flower for me and the leaves are usually 
pleated and ugly!

Well, the above rant should give rise to some discussion - or 
criticism.  Better still it may unearth a few pollen swappers or 
hybridisers.  Wait and see! Hope you guys there in the NH haven't all 
gone into hibernation for the winter along with the whistling frogs!!!

Cheers - Ron Maunder - New Zealand.

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