Miltonia orchids

Miltonia orchids

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The miltonia orchid plant

The Miltonia Orchid is a genus of orchids that has a fair spread also in the eastern and western developed world. First of all, it should be noted that there has always been a great controversy in this group of the Orchidaceae family, concerning the precise and correct classification of the species that belong to it. In particular, the scientific world is unable to agree on which species belong to the genus Miltonia and which to the genus Miltoniopsis; this happens because, however, the two genera are very similar in aesthetics, and the main differences are found in small internal components or even only in some cultivation characteristics.

Miltonia orchid

The orchids of the genus Miltonia are the Miltonia proper, the "original" ones; they come from Brazil and are characterized by pseudobulbs and green leaves, with compressed and oval pseudobulbs, with two leaves. Their feature is that they are temperate greenhouse plants.

Miltoniopsis orchid

The orchids of the genus Miltoniopsis, on the other hand, are the Miltonia from Colombia and Peru, and in particular from the Andean (and therefore mountainous) areas of these two South American countries. They are also called "thought" because they have a certain resemblance to the pansies. They come with pseudobulbs and leaves of varying colors between blue, gray and light green; they have joined pseudobulbs and with one leaf and are cold greenhouse flowers.

Environment and exposure

Both genera of Miltonia come from the temperate and humid forests of the American continent, therefore for large lines they desire the same environment; however, there are differences above all in the temperatures tolerated, and in particular the Miltoniopsis prefers, being of a cold greenhouse, slightly lower temperatures: at night it can even drop to 8 degrees centigrade while during the day it can reach a maximum of 20 degrees centigrade. Miltonia, on the other hand, can reach 25 degrees centigrade during the day, while at night it can drop to a maximum of 10 or 12 degrees centigrade. It should be noted that the difference in temperature between day and night must be there, because it has been noted that it particularly favors flowering. These two orchids love fresh, reciprocated air, so there must be ventilation; however, there must not be a sudden circulation of cold air that would damage them. As for the light, they do not like direct exposure because in their natural environment they are covered by taller plants, but the environment must still be bright enough. Miltonia requires slightly more light than Miltoniopsis.


The soil for these two orchids must be soft and spongy, with a fairly small size, it must guarantee a certain humidity that is always present but also must guarantee good drainage. Therefore, the ingredients that we recommend the most are bark, foam rubber, charcoal, perlite and polystyrene (in any case the bark in a much higher percentage).

Planting and repotting

For the planting of this plant it must be remembered that inside the pot (which can be as you wish, but not too large) it must be placed in a decentralized position, because it has a sympoidal development and therefore this arrangement is excellent for making it grow as you prefer. As for repotting, it is advisable to do it every year because both Miltonia and Miltoniopsis have a very rapid growth especially in the roots and therefore other new space must be guaranteed. The best time to do it is the end of winter (therefore between February and March), just before the vegetative restart begins.


The watering of Miltonia and Miltoniopsis must be carried out bearing in mind that the substratum must never dry out completely; this means that the frequency of watering will depend on how much you will be able to observe your plant and how much you want to care for it. Indicatively we can say that the smaller the pot is, the more frequent the watering must be as it will dry out sooner, and vice versa. The humidity to be guaranteed must be 60 - 70 percent, and can be reached especially with frequent nebulizations to the canopy.

Orchid roots

The roots of miltonia and Miltonipsis are similar to other orchids; this means that they are fragile and must be handled with great care as a small damage to them can compromise the health of the entire plant. In addition, as regards these two particular genres, we can say that the roots are even smaller and therefore even more delicate. On the other hand, these roots have a large and very rapid development, so much so that annual repottings are required.

Miltonia orchids: Reproduction of orchids

In the literature there are not many testimonies of reproduction of these two genres, as there are mainly hybrids on the market. However, their reproduction certainly occurs by dividing the plant, an operation that must be done with incredible care in cleaning tools at home.

Comment entretenir un Miltonia?

Les Miltonias present des pseudobulbes de forme oval, surmontés de 2 feuilles d’une vingtaine de centimètres, d’une couleur vert plutôt clair aux tonalités parfois gris-vert.

Ces orchidées produisent des racines abondantes qui s'épanouissent à l'extérieur du pot au fur et à mesure quelles grossissent en touffe le long de leur rhizome.

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ORCHID for indoors or as a gift, place in a bright position but away from direct sunlight. Irrigate regularly. Use suitable soil for orchids (sphagnum and bark) fertilize regularly with fertilizer for orchids. Autumn summer flowering.

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Miltonia multiplication

The plant propagates by seed and by division of the tufts or rhizomes. The rhizomes are multiplied by division in spring or autumn using well-sharpened and disinfected shears.

Each portion, bearing at least 2 leaves, must be immediately potted in the specific soil.

Repotting of Miltonia

Repotting is done every year by completely changing the substrate. The roots of this plant tend to expand in a short time, occupying all the available space.

Caring for Miltonia and Miltoniopsis orchids

Let's see what are all the little tricks that a fan of gardening cannot not know.


An easy way to monitor the health of theorchid miltonia is to observe the color of the leaves: they must be a nice light green, if it becomes too dark it means that it does not receive the right lighting, if they turn yellow it means that too much light is coming and the sun is causing the plant to burn.

The roots of these species are thinner than other orchids for this reason it is necessary to be very careful when handling the plant.


Orchids need a lot of water, but without allowing water stagnation that could ruin the thin and delicate roots.

It should therefore be watered twice a week by increasing the frequency of watering if necessary: ​​if the leaves tend to crouch it means that it is necessary to water the plant as soon as possible, which will produce new leaves, allowing the old ones to dry out.


For these plants the humidity in the house must be 65%: difficult to obtain in a home, the ambient humidity must be maintained by vaporizing the miltonias with distilled water. The roots must always sink into a humid substrate, but without water stagnation.

It is recommended not to get wet the leaf axilla where rots are more easily established. Also useful are the saucers filled with expanded clay and water to be placed near the vase.


To avoid the onset of fungal diseases, a good one is also important ventilation: the miltonia plant should be kept outdoors as much as possible if the temperatures allow it. If kept at home it is recommended to change the air often, avoiding cold drafts.

Soil and fertilization

This type of orchid must be repotted every year, after flowering: the soil to be used must be a specific compost for orchids (generally consisting of osmunda bark or fiber, bark, charcoal, perlite and polystyrene materials which retain moisture).
It is essential to use a specific fertilizer for orchids, which must be administered once a month at a full dose or half a dose every 15.

Attention: before fertilizing, the roots must be watered abundantly to prevent the fertilizer from damaging them.

Parasites and diseases

Miltonias do not get sick easily but can be attacked by da aphids and from mealybugs. In this case, products should be used pesticides specific. If, on the other hand, the problem is with the roots that are damaged or dehydrated, first of all, clean all the damaged parts, then prepare the so-called bath with water and fungicide specific by leaving the roots immersed for 2 hours.

Leave to dry well on a newspaper and prepare the treatment with sphagnum (the roots are coated and left to rest at 25 degrees).

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