Miltonia Orchids or Miltoniopsis, also known as pansy orchids because of their striking resemblance to pansies, are flat looking orchids that bear fragrant and strong-colored flowers. They begin to bloom from spring to mid-summer, usually two or three years after initial potting.
Miltonia prefers a cool and moist environment. While matured blooms prefer 50 degrees F at night, the younger miltonias prefer a bit warmer environment. Daytime temperatures for these orchids should not go above 80 degrees F.
Miltonias flourish better indoors, preferably near windows with indirect sunlight. Under tropical climates, these plants will thrive well under cool and shaded spots. It is important to provide ample shade so that the leaves will not discolor.
Miltonia orchids react and folds like an accordion if grown under extremely dry climate. However, too much water can cause rotting. Always water these orchids frequently but evenly by systematically putting the pot in a sink, with cold water running through it for about 15 seconds at most. An alternative solution will be to place and allow an ice cube to melt on the bark medium inside the pots. This will help sustain the moisture level without overwatering the plant. The best time to water these orchids is in the morning, about twice a week. If it’s not flowering season, water only once a week.
Miltonia orchids have very fine roots; therefore, only administer fertilizers at about 25 percent of its usual strength. It is wise to check the label for information on how to use and dilute the fertilizers. Miltonias prefer diluted or weaker solutions of fertilizers. For example, if the fertilizer label instructs 1 tablespoon on a monthly application, reduce the amount to one half teaspoon only. It is also best to apply fertilizer after watering the plant.
Miltonias have very simple lighting requirements. They only need approximately half an hour to a maximum of an hour of direct early morning sunlight daily. If this is not possible, it can get its source of light for a longer period though sunlight obscured by sheer curtains or under bright shades like a space inside a sunroom but away from full sunlight.
Repot miltonias yearly, but if the medium is bark repotting should be every two years before the soil starts to sour. It is advisable to mix two-thirds bark and one-third peat moss. Repotting is ideal during spring after the flowering season up to early autumn. Pull the roots apart to remove the dead roots. Try to shorten the living roots, sparing only enough anchor the plant into its potting mixture safely.
Resources and References:
MILTONIA – the Pansy Orchid
Miltonia (Miltoniopsis) and Odontoglossum Cultural Notes