Masdevallia rolfeana – 365 days of orchids – day 1253

Our masdevallia rolfeana plants are looking a real picture this week. The majority of Masdevallias produce single flowers like Masdevallia rolfeana but, as you can see, a mature plant produces masses of flowers.

Masdevallia rolfeana is native to Central America and we have seen it in Costa Rica growing on the trunks and lower branches of trees in dense forest at 1200m on the slopes of the Poas Volcano (see photo below) in our schools expeditions to this wonderfully bio-rich country.

The photo shows the mossy trunk that was covered in Masdevallias. The temperatures here go down to a minimum of around 12C with no distinct dry season. We grow the species both mounted, like the plant at the top which won Best Masdevallia at the Malvern Show in 2018, in baskets and in pots. We spray plants daily.

We are sometimes asked about black spots that appear on Masdevallia leaves and it is interesting to note that wild plants have these spots on older leaves too. One of the reasons for black spots in our greenhouse is excessively high temperatures causing heat stress in the leaves so don’t forget to shade plants and keep them well watered when the weather gets in the summer.


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