The Dryadella genus has about forty species of small orchids, native to South America, especially the Andean belt; until a few years ago these orchids were included in the genus masdevallia.
They form dense clumps of small ribbon-like leaves, 7-15 cm long, slightly fleshy, arched or erect, which sprout individually from the rhizomatous roots; in autumn-winter at the base of each leaf grow stems, generally shorter than the leaves, which carry small bell-shaped flowers, single or 3-4 per stem. The dryadella flowers are generally greenish-yellow, with brown or dark purple specks. D. albicans has creamy-white flowers with purple dots. These orchids are quite easy to grow; thanks to the creeping rhizomes they tend to spread and form large colonies.
For the best cultivation of these orchids keep in a partially shaded place, but quite bright; in winter they should be kept at home, or in a temperate greenhouse, possibly at temperatures close to 15 ° C; in summer it is good to place them in a cool and ventilated position, as they fear excessively high temperatures. The temperatures suitable for the cultivation of these orchids is between 12 and 24 ° C.
It is important to water regularly, avoiding to soak the soil too much and letting the substratum dry between one watering and another so that there is no possibility of water stagnation; every 15-20 days provide specific fertilizer for orchids mixed with the water used for watering. In the warm periods of the year, and in the months in which the domestic heating is on, it is good to increase the environmental humidity, often vaporizing the leaves with demineralized water.
Dryadella orchids are epiphytic varieties, they grow in nature on the bark of other plants, with aerial roots and not buried. To grow this genus of orchid plant it in small containers, filled with shredded bark, sphagnum and vegetable fiber; the rhizomatous roots tend to widen a lot, it is therefore advisable to repot the plants every 2-3 years, so as to replace the old substrate which, with the passage of time, tends to lose its characteristics and to no longer provide the necessary support to the roots.
The reproduction of these orchids occurs by division, in spring, or in any case after flowering; the new plants thus produced should be immediately repotted in a single container, using sphagnum, shredded bark and perlite as the ideal substrate for their development. It is advisable not to use large containers in order to obtain good results, as it has been seen that orchids tend to grow better with a smaller pot.
Dryadella: Pests and diseases
The orchid of this genus can be affected by root rot or cochineal; to intervene with the elimination of these parasites, if the diffusion is contained, it is possible to use a cloth with alcohol to pass over the leaves to remove the scale insects directly. If specific products are used, take care to vaporize with moderation, mainly on the leaves. The root rot, on the other hand, can be caused by over-watering or by an unsuitable substrate.