Dracula vampira. Sold as NBS in a suitable size pot with spagnum moss.
Dracula vampira is a striking orchid that is only found in the cloud forests of one mountain range in Ecuador. It grows on mossy trees, attached by its roots that also absorb water. It is highly sought after by orchid enthusiasts who wish to cultivate this weird and wonderfully captivating plant for its gothic beauty.The generic name Dracula means 'a little dragon' and alludes to the fancied appearance of the flowers (Luer 1986). Dracula vampira is native to Ecuador. It is found in cool cloud forests at 1,800-2,200 m above sea level.Overview : A herbaceous epiphyte, about 15-28 cm tall.Leaves: Green, strap-shaped, about 15-28 cm long.Flowers: The large sepals are the most noticeable feature of the flower; they are broad at the base and narrow into a long thin tail. The sepals are pale green but look much darker due to the purplish black veins that converge at the narrowed tips. The much smaller petals are white with purplish veins and look rather insignificant compared to the sepals. The small fungus-like lip is white with pinkish veins.There can be up to six flowers on a single inflorescence, opening one by one over the flowering season. The flowers are 20-30 cm wide (including the tails) and face downward on the pendent inflorescence.Threats and conservationThe biggest threat to this species is collection from the wild, as it is seen as a collector's item by many orchid enthusiasts. Habitat loss is also a concern, particularly as Dracula vampira only occurs in a relatively small area of Ecuador.
Min Temp 7C
Max Temp high 20s C
Humidity above 75%
Dracula vampira (NBS)
Masdevallia & Dracula
Masdevallia, a genus of some 350 species usually from cool, misty mountains of the New World tropics, is known for its showy flowers with sepals striking in their size, shape, and/ or color. Their need for a cool, damp environment makes them an excellent choice for cool, coastal climates.
LIGHT levels for this group usually are thought of as fairly low; however, some successful growers believe that the best flowerings are produced under higher light levels. Plants can be grown, but not necessarily flowered, in the same light levels as those for ferns -- 400 to 1,000 foot-candles. Most growers maintain levels adequate for Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilum -- 1000 to 1,500 foot-candles. Masdevallias can be kept in light intensities up to 2,500 foot-candles if the growing area can be kept cool. Plants grow well under four- tube fluorescent fixtures and can be summered outside in shade.
TEMPERATURES should be cool to intermediate; plants will grow slowly and eventually expire if temperatures remain high for long periods of time. Cool evenings help reduce heat stress during the day. Nights of 50 to 55 degrees F are ideal; day temperatures should be 60 to 75 degrees F. Evaporative cooling pads or humidifiers are useful in maintaining these conditions.
WATER is critical for these plants because they have minimal water storage tissue. Roots should be allowed to become just dry before watering again if drainage is adequate, constantly moist roots are fine.
HUMIDITY is important for these plants. The ideal range is 60% to 80%. In the home, mist the plants (in the morning only) and set the plants on trays of gravel, partially filled with water. In the greenhouse or enclosed growing area, humidity can be increased by misting or wetting down the floors, while evaporative coolers help raise humidity and lower temperatures. If plants are summered outdoors, automatic misters under the benches are recommended.
FERTILIZER should be applied regularly while plants are actively growing. Applications of 30-10-10 type formulations twice a month are ideal for plants in a bark-based medium. A 20-20-20 type formulation should be used for plants in other media. If weather is dull, applications once a month are sufficient. Some growers use a high phosphorus, 10-30-20 type formulation (bloom booster) as plants approach flowering.
POTTING is best done in the winter or early spring, before the heat of summer and/or as new roots are produced. Plants must be repotted frequently, every one to two years, to keep the potting mix from decomposing. A fine-grade potting medium, such as fine fir bark or treefern fiber, is often used with plastic pots. Sphagnum moss is also used, especially for establishing plants. The bottom one quarter to one third of the pot should be filled with drainage material, either broken crock, rocks or Styrofoam "peanuts." The plant should be positioned in the pot so that the newest growth is farthest from the edge of the pot, allowing the maximum number of new growths without crowding the pot. Plants growing in many directions may be positioned in the center of the pot. Spread the roots over a cone of potting medium and fill in around the roots with potting medium to the junction of the roots and the plant. Firm the medium around the roots by applying pressure. Keep humidity high and the potting medium slightly dry until new roots form. A vitamin B1 compound may help establish newly potted plants.