Masdevallia Madness

I'm, at best, a dabbler in growing any one kind of plant.  So, when I saw an unusual orchid on the sale table at the local nursery, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, "How different could it really be?".  Several months later, I've finally had to admit the answer is "Very".

Orchidus Angrius

All the orchids are watered together - within days, this one resembles a rhododendron in winter; clearly not happy with the humidity levels.  Off to the bookcase to dig out Cullina's Understanding Orchids and look up Masdevallia [Masdevallia Heathii (veitchiana 4N x ignea 4N) to be specific].  This is not going to be easy, but it looks like it will be fun.

But will the locks hold in the orchids?

First step was getting some way to keep the humidity around the orchid at a significantly higher level than I've had it.  Shopping around, I decided to give the Exo Terra 12 x 12 x 18 Vivarium a try.  Too soon to say if it's big enough or the right pick for the job, but I liked a number of features:

  • Front access via double doors.
  • Good airflow (my thinking is that it will be easier to reduce airflow than to try and give better airflow to a more sealed design).
  • Openings at the top back designed for routing wires (should be handy as I add sensors, fans, etc.).
  • Water tight base.

Sometimes it turns out a sale isn't really a sale

I use egg crate lighting diffuser trimmed to fit in the water trays for my other orchids.  Turns out that this, plus some PVC pipe as spacers, is a standard solution for lifting plants above the water line in vivariums.  After dumping a couple inches of water into the base and closing the doors, I'm getting humidity in the mid 70s, which is a big improvement.

Next up is getting an arduino doing some monitoring of the environment inside the case.

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