Saturday, November 22, 2008

Some rescues are my own fault

Masdevallia princeps grows in central Peru near Tarapoto. It needs cold conditions and low light. Flowers bloom consecutively and a well grown plant will have several flowers open all the time.

The genus Masdevallia contains 350 species and are found from southern Mexico to the southern Andes. They are cold to cool growing and can be in a seedling mix or sphagnum. Almost impossible to over-water.

Almost impossible to over-water but it can be done. I know, I have done it. This particular plant was quite large and had 5 spikes when I bought it. The next year it had 4 more.

This summer I decided to divide the plant. It was plenty large and I could see 3 distinct clumps of growth. I cut off the spikes and pulled it out of the pot.

I was shocked! The top of the plant looked good but underneath it had no roots.

The only thing to do was to move ahead. I made the three divisions and potted them. Two were in a small sphagnum wrap in a pot full of pea gravel and the third was in plain pea gravel.

That was four months ago. I checked the divisions this morning and two of them are just now showing signs of new growth.

This brings me to the other reason to know about backbulbs and rescues. To know how to recover from my own mistakes. In this case the mistake was not replacing the sphagnum moss because the plant was in bloom.

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