Miltonia Orchid

Miltonia Orchid

  • Scientific name: Miltonia Orchid
  • Common name:  Orchids Thinking
  • Origin:  Brazil and Peru
  • Orchid type : Epiphyte
  • Flowering:  Spring to summer, with flowers that last up to 8 weeks
  • Location:  intense lighting, without direct sun
  • Watering:  One or three times a week, depending on the season
  • Humidity:  High 60% -70%
  • Level of difficulty:  Low

Miltonia orchids, also called orchids thought, is a group of orchids a bit controversial. 
Within this group included several types of orchids that have now been divided into two different, on the one hand, Miltonia orchids and Miltoniopsis orchids on the other. 
It is the latter, the Miltoniopsis, that have the closest resemblance to the flowers of thoughts(violas). The Miltonia also have a slight resemblance, I think that is one of the reasons why at first they considered themselves as orchids of the same genus. 
We will leave their own section to Miltoniopsis orchids, which deserve it, and today we will dedicate ourselves to Miltonia.

Table Of Contents

  • 1 Characteristics of Miltonia orchids
  • 2 Care of Miltonia orchids
    • 2.1 Light needs
    • 2.2 Temperature
    • 2.3 When you have to water a Miltonia orchid. Humidity needs
    • 2.4 Subscriber
    • 2.5 How often do Miltonia orchids have to be transplanted?
    • 2.6 Substrate for orchids Miltonia
  • 3 Miltonia orchid bloom

Characteristics of Miltonia orchids

The Miltonia are a genus of orchids to which 10 species of epiphytic orchids belong , all originating from the temperate climates of Brazil, except one found in Peru. 
We will distinguish that we are facing a Miltonia orchid discovering its main characteristics:

  • They have perennial leaves of a yellowish green color, which can measure about 30 centimeters long. They are thin and thin sheets in the shape of a sword.
  • Its roots are much more delicate than those of other orchids. They are thin and whitish and fragile, they must be treated with great care when performing a transplant.
  • From some compressed ovoid pseudobulbs , some floral rods of about 50 centimeters are born, crowned by flowers of about 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter very perfumed.
  • Its flowers have a slight resemblance to the flowers of the garden or violas thoughts, although they also remind a bit of the flowers of the Oncidium orchids .
  • The flowers can appear solitary or forming groups of up to 10 flowers, which will remain in good condition during a period that ranges between 15 and 60 days.
  • As the plant grows and matures, the flowers are larger and the blooms more spectacular.

Miltonia orchid care

If you are an orchid lover, amateur or experienced, you will know that each orchid, despite having common characteristics of the group, needs its own special care . 
Miltonia is not different. It is an orchid that is not difficult to care for, especially the hybrids that have appeared during the last years in the market, which improve the resistance of their parents. 
If you follow the advice in this guide, you will probably have Miltonia orchids growing happy for many years in your home.

Light needs

The Miltonia orchids, and not those of the genus Miltoniopsis, require intense illumination, typical of the tropical forests where they live. 
What they can not stand is direct sunlight, so we should place them near the window, receiving a sifted light. Lighting should be sufficient, but the sheets should remain cool to the touch. 
As with most orchids (not all) , if we expose them to the sun their leaves burn.


The Miltonia require temperate temperatures to grow in perfect conditions, so the maximum nighttime temperature in summer has to be around 16ºC, while the diurnal temperature can reach 25ºC. 
In the winter the night minimums should not fall below 10ºC and during the day, they can be above 12ºC.

When you have to water a Miltonia orchid. Humidity needs

miltonia orchid

These are orchids that need constant humidity, so it is not advisable for the substrate to dry completely. 
The frequency of the waterings varies according to the seasons of the year, being more frequent during the summer (two to three times a week) and more spaced during the winter (once or twice). 
They should be watered in the morning with warm water and preferably bottled or treated with osmosis, so that they do not have any of the typical salts of tap water. 
These salts are deposited on the substrate and end with the roots of the plant. 
We can know if the orchid is receiving the proper irrigation, observing its leaves.
If we appreciate that the leaves are wrinkled in accordion form, it is that they do not receive all the water they need. 
In terms of environmental humidity, they need to move around 70%. Less moisture causes stress in the plants and an excess could produce the appearance of diseases, in any case the room or greenhouse where we grow orchids, needs good ventilation

Nutrients And Fertilizers

Orchids do not need large contributions of fertilizer, but it is always a good idea to fertilize when the growth period begins, to facilitate flowering. 
When applying the special fertilizer for orchids, we must take care that the substrate is moist, so as not to damage the roots. 
Regarding the composition of the fertilizer there are gardeners who prefer a balanced 20-20-20 and others who prefer a greater contribution of phosphorus and potassium to accelerate the flowering, in this case it would have a composition 10-30-20.

How often do Miltonia orchids have to be transplanted?

Most orchids are transplanted once every two years, either by the growth of the orchid itself or by deterioration of the substrate. 
With the Miltonia you have to change the chip, and we must make flowerpot changes every year. The reason is that they have a much faster growth than most, and the pot is too small for them quickly. 
The right time is when spring arrives, when we observe that the first new shoots begin to emerge. 
When removing the old pot, we will have to proceed with care because it has very fragile roots. 
You have to act very clean, with very well washed hands and / or gloves. The scissors must be very well sharpened and disinfected. 
Should beeliminate the damaged or dead roots, we distinguish them quickly by their brown color. 
The cuts should be treated with coal dust or cinnamon, which act as a scar. 
Once the transplant is done, we will leave them at least one day without irrigation, so that the wounds of the cuts heal, in a place protected from the light, so that they do not need to be watered. 
To avoid that the orchid can suffer from the risks, nebulizations can be made in the morning at first hour , so that from time to the plant to absorb the humidity and the leaves are not affected by the attack of fungi.

Substrate for orchids Miltonia

In the nurseries we can find many substrates for orchids, as if they were all suitable, but that is not the case. 
Most substrates are designed for the Phalaenopsis orchid , which with pine bark is sufficient. 
The appropriate substrate for Miltonia orchids should contain pine bark, mixed with pearlite and some peat to help retain moisture, but without becoming a garden soil. It is also recommended to add a small portion of charcoal. 
The substrates for the orchids should always be light, so that the air circulates enough, so that they do not produce waterlogging that would seriously affect the roots.

Miltonia orchid bloom

If we want our Miltonia orchid to bloom, the plant has to notice that there is a change of season. 
This is achieved by modifying day-night temperatures. 
The flowering usually takes place between spring and summer, although it can vary from one variety to another, especially when there are a great variety of hybrids. 
The flowers can last up to two months  and depending on the variety, have several flowers per floral rod or only one. 
The characteristic that is generic to the whole group, is that, as the orchid grows older, the flowers are larger and the flowering is more profuse.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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