the excess water needs to drain out of the pot after watering
your orchid, this will prevent rotting roots; many orchids
grow on trees in the wild where their roots are exposed to
Check this section again for more tips.
orchid seed pod can contain up to around 100,000 viable seeds.
They look like dust and are borne on the wind. In nature,
few survive to adulthood, 7 to 10 years later.
Orchid (Miltonia) Care and Growing Tips
are native to "cloud forests", higher elevation jungles of
Colombia, Venezuela and Peru in the lower slopes of the South
American Andes mountains. In this climate, whose moisture
is provided more by fogs that roll in repeatedly throughout
the day and night, there is little variation in temperature,
day length, or seasons - situated so near the equator, at
elevations of 3000 to 5000 feet, one could say that it's always
Spring. As a result, the plants have no set blooming time,
but instead generally are both blooming and sending out new
shoots to bloom in their turn, simultaneously. As a shoot
matures, it sends out one or two bloom stems. A large plant
can be blooming intermittently throughout the year.
Almost all may be kept cool or warm - by which we mean nothing
more than comfortable indoor temperatures, 50 to 60 degrees
F. at night, with a temperature increase during the day of
about 10 to 15 degrees. They readily tolerate higher temperatures,
but should really not be exposed for any length of time to
temperatures in the 90s. On the cool side, they are perfectly
happy with nights as low as 40 degrees F occasionally and
45 degrees routinely. Temperature is not a factor in persuading
Miltonias to bloom again.
Miltonias, as with many orchids, require watering frequently
enough to maintain a level of moisture in the pot that is
not dripping wet at all times, nor dry ever; evenly, consistently
moist. Of course it will be wetter just after watering but
the point is to never let the plants dry out completely. They
can be watered best by placing them in a sink and running
cold water into the pot for 10 or 15 seconds, or alternatively
an ice cube can be placed on the bark medium in the pots and
allowed to melt, the slower trickle of water providing enough
moisture to sustain the plant. In this second method, the
plants should nonetheless be watered thoroughly from time
to time to allow minerals deposited in the bark medium to
be rinsed out. Morning is the best time to water any orchids.
Twice a week while blooming will usually be sufficient for
a large plant; if more than two flower stems are present,
three times may be required. When not blooming, once per week
is usually enough.
These orchids greatly appreciate frequent applications of
very mild dilutions of fertilizer. Many commercial brands
work well, such as Miracle Grow, Peters, Dyna Grow, and so
on; in most cases, the label will provide information on how
much fertilizer to add to a gallon of water to make a solution
- but it is best to make a far, far weaker one. For example,
if the label calls for 1 tablespoon of fertilizer granules
per gallon of water, to be applied once per month, try instead
about one half teaspoon of granules per gallon, applied every
other watering. Premixed fertilizer can be kept for some time
under a sink, or in a cabinet out of reach of children (and
away from light, which will allow algae to grow in the water
in unsightly fashion).
Miltonias are plants of brightly shady forests, and so their
needs for light can be met easily. One half hour, up to an
hour, of full sun in the early morning, OR sun diminished
by sheer curtains for a longer period, OR very bright shade,
such as a spot in a sunroom that happens never to be in full
sun, are some variations any of which would provide enough
light to allow the plants to grow and bloom.
A special note of caution: do not rub the flowers. They bruise
easily, as their structure is essentially similar to a butterfly's
wing - microscopic villi (hairs) cover the entire surface,
and bear most of the pigmentation - when rubbed off, a whitish
patch that quickly turns soggy brown will develop.
The last item of concern is you! Take a little time to admire
the vivid colors; go closer and explore the intricacies of
the floral structure. With many Miltonias, you'll notice a
sweet fragrance. We think you'll find a bit of peace of mind,
a brief mental vacation in your piece of tropical mountain