Dracula Orchid

The Dracula orchid genus is closely related to Masdevallias, and care is similar. The labellum is usually larger (often resembling a mushroom to attract flies) and the flower stems grow horizontally or downward.
Dracula vampira
Dracula vampira
Image courtesy of Chris Clowes
They might not be vampires, but there is a species called Dracula vampira!

Because the flower stems often grow downward, pot them in a plastic mesh basket. This also has the advantage of increasing airflow to the plant's roots, but they will dry out a bit more quickly.

They should not be allowed to totally dry out, as they have no way to store water. They can die in a matter of hours if they dry out and the temperature is too high. Actually, they're pretty hard to overwater, so water often, though this is less important if the humidity is high.

Sphagnum moss is a good potting mix to use for these, because it helps keep the roots moist.

Humidity is very important for all pleurothallids, as most come from cloud forests in the Andes. Try for 70-100% humidity. Good air circulation (usually from a fan) will help prevent issues with rot.

Keep the daytime temperatures below 68°F (20C). They are cool growers!At night, temperatures should drop at least 10-15°F (6-8C). Pleurothallids care a great deal about leaf temperatures, so respect this. The plants also dehydrate quickly if temperatures are too high, as they cannot close their stomata to retain moisture.

Low lighting is adequate, similar to Phalaenopsis. 1000-1500 footcandles works well. The higher the lighting, the cooler the temperatures need to be and vice versa.

These orchids look really neat, and are very rewarding to grow if you have the right conditions for them.

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