[pleurothallid-l] Masdevallias in hydroponics, in clay balls and under lights

Ron Maunder pondeeza at enternet.co.nz
Fri Mar 19 20:25:18 EST 2004


Can't help you with that combination exactly but here are some 
comments which may be of interest.

We grew a heap of cutflower Masdevallia coccineas and their hybrids 
plus a few cooler species in one of our Disa hydroponic tanks a 
couple of years ago.  Because the tanks run continuous flow (in 15mm 
water all the time) we used Disa mix for them which is shredded 
sphagnum plus shredded styrene foam 2:1 or 1:1 to open the mix up and 
let air through.  When winter came and water temperatures dropped to 
8°C or thereabouts the Masdevallia plants started to sulk so we sat 
them on benches for winter.  They had grown beautifully in the 
hydroponics to that stage.  No hand watering required!

Come time to return them to the tanks and the Disas had taken up all 
available room so the Masdevallias stayed where they were.  In summer 
they needed drenching every day to keep them damp! In that situation 
the styrene opened the mix up too much.   We now have half our 
Masdevallia plants in 100% moss and the others in 100% pinebark.  The 
moss ones need watering at least twice as often as those in bark.  It 
is dried, not live moss.

I'm sure the Masdevallias would have done well in Flood and Drain 
(also known as Ebb and Flow) hydroponics (as do Disas) but in our 
situation a reservoir of 400 litres would be needed under each tank 
for Flood and Drain whereas a 20 L bucket is enough for the method we 

Clay pellets should work fine but you may have to experiment with the 
pellet size and the "dry" time if you settle for Flood and Drain. 
Under lights?  The Coccineae section would need higher illumination 
than some other sections I would say.  Can't help with growing under 
lights - thank goodness as electricity prices are going up 10% here 
any day!

Ron Maunder  New Zealand

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