Some orchids, like Phalaenopsis and some Dendrobiums, are extremely easy to grow, and they can often be found in common flower shops. Some, like Phaius and Calanthe, are also very easy to grow, but not very well known beyond orchid enthusiasts’ community. There are also quite rare and hard to grow orchids, such as Dracula orchids. And there are Miltoniopsis orchids, which are as just difficult to grow as beautiful they are, but instead of being rare, they are quite common in flower shops. They are also called Pansy Orchids for their resemblance of those nice flowers.
Species and hybrids
Miltoniopsis orchids are Oncidium relatives. They are sympodial epiphytic and sometimes lithophytic orchids from cloud forests of Columbia, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador. They have single-leaved small pseudobulbs, and its distinctive feature is a glaucous-green color of leaves and pseudobulbs. They are small to medium sized. Flowers are extremely beautiful and look like Pansy flowers. There are five currently recognized species: Miltoniopsis bismarckii, Miltoniopsis phalaenopsis, Miltoniopsis roezlii, Miltoniopsis vexillaria and Miltoniopsis warscewiczii. Miltoniopsis vexillaria is a type species, it has beautiful 4 inch wide white-pink flowers with white lips. Miltoniopsis bismarckii has lovely pink 2 inch wide flowers. Miltoniopsis phalaenopsis has large 4 inch wide white flowers; lip is with purple splashes on it. Miltoniopsis roezlii’s flowers are 4 inches wide, fragrant, white with purple markings on sepals, which straightens their resemblance to Pansies. And Miltoniopsis warscewiczii’s flowers are 4 inches wide and white with yellow markings in the middle of a flower. There are also lots of beautiful Miltoniopsis hybrids, which are much easier to grow indoors than Miltoniopsis species, for example Miltoniopsis White Truffle ‘Bright Eyes’, Miltoniopsis Andrea West, Miltoniopsis Bert Field, Miltoniopsis Up Country Puna AM/AOS, Miltoniopsis Pink Momma, Miltoniopsis Morris Chestnut ‘H171’, Miltoniopsis Keiko Komoda, Miltoniopsis Lillian Nakamoto, Miltoniopsis Milton Brown.
Miltoniopsis species culture is not easy. Given the fact that they are preliminary grow at cloud forests, they demand specific conditions to thrive and bloom. They require intermediate temperatures – 70-80 F at day and 55-65 at night are excellent for them. They need high humidity of the air. They can tolerate warmer temperatures only for short periods of time, that’s why they are not very well suited for indoor culture, where warm and hot temperatures are common. Watering should be regular, the substrate should slightly dry between watering, but it should not be constantly soggy. The substrate should contain small to medium grade bark, sphagnum moss, and some cocoa chips. Fertilizers should be applied regularly when the plant is actively growing, and you should stop applying them when blooms become visible. Pansy orchids have a not prolonged dormancy period when you should lower temperatures and reduce watering. As we said earlier, Miltoniopsis hybrids are usually less demanding and easier to grow at home.
Difference between Miltoniopsis and Miltonia orchids
Miltoniopsis orchids are often miscalled Miltonia orchids, but Miltonia is a different genus of orchids. Both these genera belong to Oncidium alliance group, but they are quite different in care – Miltonia orchids are easier to grow indoors than Miltoniopsis species, and true Miltonias’ flowers resemble Oncidium, rather than Miltoniopsis or Pansies.