Miltonia's region of origin extends from the Andes in Colombia to Peru and Ecuador. Miltonia is an epiphyte. In its home region the plant grows on the fringes and in open spaces in mountain forests on moss-covered branches.
Miltonia is also called the ‘pansy orchid’. There are hundreds of species which vary greatly in terms of shape and size. The supply is year-round, with a peak in the spring. There are large-flowered and small-flowered variants. It is mainly the large-flowered species that are grown commercially. Miltonia is a pseudobulb-forming plant with one or more branches and around five flowers on each branch. The plant has between one and four (or even more) branches.
Miltonia comes in many colours: white, yellow, pink, red and purple. The most eye-catching feature is the ‘mask’. There are various scented species of Miltonia.
Miltonia needs a light spot, but cannot tolerate direct sunlight. The plant needs to be shielded from the sun in the spring and summer. Do not place the plant over a heater. Miltonia likes to be at room temperature during the day, whilst a cooler position is preferable at night. The plant flowers for five to six weeks. It is important to ensure that Miltonia is kept moderately damp all the time: the soil should not dry out. Immersing the plant in tepid water (preferably rain water) once or twice a week gives the best result. Allow the plant to drain thoroughly before returning it to its spot. Include orchid food in the water once a month in the summer and once every two months in the winter. The plant can also be placed in the garden or on the balcony in the summer, provided that it is in the shade.
After flowering place the plant in a light spot, but not in direct sunlight. Feed every two weeks when the pseudobulbs have formed. In terms of water and temperature, the same applies as during flowering. When the orchid has finished flowering, cut away the stem. Then place the plant in a cooler spot for eight to ten weeks. The Miltonia will then produce new pseudobulbs, from which fresh branches will emerge later. Miltonia needs to be repotted every year, preferably after flowering. Use special orchid soil for this.
It can take a year before the plant blooms again. Miltonia is not easy to bring to flowering. The natural flowering period is the spring. The new pseudobulbs form canes, from which new branches grow.