Miltonia (lat. Miltonia) is a genus of perennial herbaceous plants of the Orchid family, which has small oval pseudobulbs at the base of the trunk. The natural habitats of these epiphytic orchids are the rainforests of northeastern Argentina, central and southern Brazil. In nature, they are found at an altitude of 600-800 m above sea level.
Miltonia has light green pointed leaves, blooms with fragrant velvety flowers, which in appearance resemble the well-known Pansies. The color of flowers is varied: there are specimens of red, white, yellow, pink.
The orchid got its name in honor of the discoverer - English Viscount Adligen Milton.
According to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has 11 species of this orchid and 6 naturally occurring hybrids. Also, about 40 artificial intergeneric hybrids are known, obtained by crossing the Miltonia orchid with orchids such as Brassia, Oncidium, Odontoglossum, Cochlioda, Aspasia Compare (Aspasia), Comparettia and others.
Other names for Miltonia: Pansies
Miltonia - popular varieties:
Miltonia snow-white (Miltonia candida) - it got its name from the snow-white lip. In autumn, it produces inflorescences of 3-5 large star-shaped flowers, up to 8-9 cm in diameter, brown in color.
Miltonia clowesil is an orchid with tiger-colored flowers: brown stripes on a yellow tone. In inflorescences are collected in 8-10 flowers, the lip is white, at the base - purple. The shape is similar to the previous species and resembles Cumbria.
Miltoniopsis phalaenopsis, or moth (Miltoniopsis phalaenopsis) - the flowers of this species resemble the average between the Pansies and the Phalaenopsis orchid. Small, up to 5 cm, flowers with red and yellow spots on a white background. Blooms in summer and autumn. Prefers cool-moderate content and dim ambient light.
Miltassia is a hybrid obtained by crossing Miltonia and Brassia. The flowers are large enough, star-shaped and of the most varied colors. Prefers temperatures 18-24 ° C and bright lighting. Blooms in autumn.
Quite a whimsical orchid that needs maintenance. It is better to choose a place for it protected from direct sunlight, drafts and sudden temperature changes. If you ensure proper watering, sufficient humidity and temperature, then perhaps Miltonia will delight you with lush flowering.
Lighting. No direct sunlight, when placed on the south windows - shading is a must! You can shade with gauze, translucent paper or blinds. It is optimal to place the orchid on windows facing west or east. From the excess of the sun, the flowers can turn pale, and spots appear on the leaves. In normal light, the leaves will have a slightly pinkish color.
Temperature. At normal room temperature, Miltonia feels comfortable, but has a negative attitude towards sudden changes. In summer, the temperature of the content should not be higher than 25 ° C, and in winter - not lower than 15 ° C. The optimum is within 18-22 ° C. This orchid loves airing, but drafts and a drop in temperature below 12 ° C can lead to plant disease.
Air humidity. The average humidity level in the apartments is in the range of 40-50% and it will be too small for Miltonia. It is recommended to create a more humid atmosphere in the place of its content (about 60-70%).
This can be achieved as follows: a) place vessels with water or wet expanded clay near the flowerpot with the plant; b) Spray the area near the orchid 2-3 times a day (but not the plant itself). You do not need to spray the orchid itself; water getting on the leaves and flowers can lead to the appearance of spots or, worse, insects and pests.
Miltonia leaves can curl and bend when moisture is severely deficient.
Watering. Miltonia is moisture-loving and, especially in summer and during the formation of new shoots, it is watered abundantly. The frequency is approximately 1 time in 4-5 days. However, the water should not stagnate in the container, otherwise there is a risk of root rot and pseudobulbs. Therefore, the pot must have drainage holes through which excess moisture will escape.
In winter, watering is moderate; during this period, miltonia is better to dry out than to pour. Frequency - about 1 time in 3-4 weeks.
Top dressing. Begins during the growing season and active growth. Use a special fertilizer for orchids and epiphytes. Fertilizers are applied in half the recommended dose (on the package) at intervals of 1 every two to three weeks. Overfeeding it is highly discouraged. In winter, feeding is stopped.
Transfer. Plastic pots are more suitable for transplantation purposes; unlike ceramic ones, moisture from them lasts longer.
The substrate is suitable for purchased orchids; larger pieces of bark can be placed on the bottom of the pot, they will serve as drainage. Agroperlite or vermiculite can be added to the purchased mixture, they accumulate moisture and gradually give it to the roots.
Like other orchids, Miltonia does not like frequent transplants. Usually this process begins in the spring, once every three to four years. Signals for transplanting can be: salted or spoiled substrate; an abundance of roots protruding from the pot; slowing down or stopping the growth of an orchid; a large number of rotten / dry roots.
You can clearly see: Phalaenopsis transplant - for the Miltonia orchid, this process is similar.
Trimming and shaping. Does not need. If necessary, remove dry leaves.
Bloom. The flowering period of this orchid is 5-6 weeks. But for this you need to create certain conditions. In addition to competent care throughout the year (watering, feeding, light, humidity), it is necessary to transfer it to a rest mode from the end of autumn. To do this: lower the temperature of the content to 15-16 ° C, reduce watering to 1 time per month, stop feeding.
If everything is done correctly, after a period of rest and with a bit of luck, a peduncle will begin to grow. At this time, watering and feeding are resumed and the usual temperature and light conditions are provided. After a certain time, the beauty Miltonia will delight you with wonderful flowers. After flowering, you need to remove the peduncle.
Reproduction. Like other sympoidal orchids, Miltonia is propagated by dividing the bush. In the spring, before transplanting, the bush is divided in such a way that there are 3-5 shoots on each division. The places of the cuts are sprinkled with crushed coal, the cuttings are seated in a fresh substrate.
If your orchid has pseudobulbs with roots, you can also try to root them in separate pots.
Diseases and pests. Miltonia can get sick from excessive watering, from salinity of the substrate with minerals from water / fertilizers, as well as from insect damage.
In the first case, the removal of decayed parts of the plant and transplantation into a new substrate helps, in the second - insecticides and the removal of affected leaves and orchid flowers.
Miltonia in winter. Even if the orchid has not hibernated, it still needs to organize a rest period. To do this, it is advisable to place it in a cooler room with a temperature of 16-18 ° C, reduce watering to 1 time per month and not feed.
PHOTO OF MILTONIA