Caring For The Miltonia Orchid

There are two types of Miltonias differing in flower, form and cultural needs.  The Columbian species are smaller plants with large flowers.  They do best in low to moderate intensities and they prefer cool, moist conditions.  The other types are the Brazilian Miltonias.  They possess a more star-shaped flower with dots and bars. They prefer medium light and warmer temperatures.

Miltonias of both types sunburn easily.  If the plants are getting enough light, the leaves will be a light green.   Lighter than you may think is healthy if you compare them to other plants.  A slight tinge of pink indicates that the plants are receiving as much light as they will tolerate.  To avoid sunburn, shade plants or move them away from the windows during especially hot spells.

Miltonia Orchid Miltonia Orchid

Despite the presence of their water storing pseudobulbs, Miltonias can’t withstand periods of dryness.  Water them as you would Cymbidiums, keeping them medium moist - but not soggy - at all times.  If the leaves emerge pleated, beware, the plant is not receiving enough water.  Increased watering won’t help to flatten them out, but the new growth should appear to be smooth.

Miltonias are finicky about where they put their roots.  Any break down of compost puts their roots in danger. They prefer small plastic pots, so their roots can fill the pot quickly.  A potting mix of fine fir bark, amended with sphagnum moss, perlite and a little charcoal provides a good balance for these moisture loving plants.

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