One of the star orchids of the greenhouse in early summer is Masdevallia coccinea.
Masdevallia coccinea is a very rewarding species and produces masses of large brightly coloured flowers in a range of colours including white, yellow, red and pink. It comes from Colombia and Peru where it grows in cool wet forest up to 3000m altitude. The long flower spikes hold the flowers well clear of the leaves for its hummingbird pollinator. Our first clone to flower is always this slightly smaller growing light pink form. It benefits from being a good grower and producing lots of flower spikes.
This clone is followed by our pure white ‘alba clone’ with longer flower spikes but an equal profusion of long lasting flowers. We have other dark pink clones that are in bud and will flower during May, June and July (previous flowering shown below)
We grow all of our Masdevallia coccineas in baskets and find that they enjoy the moist conditions and excellent drainage, allowing the thick roots to flourish. Baskets also keep plants inaccessible from slugs and snails that are very partial to the root tips, new growths and flowers.
We still have a few flowers left on our other ‘coccinea’, Cattleya coccinea (below) as well as Masdevallia vietchiana (below) – it is so bright in the greenhouse with all these hummingbird pollinated species, we may need sunglasses!