Miltonia orchids (Miltoniopsis) bear large intensely-colored, sometimes fragrant flowers that look like pansies. In fact, they are sometimes referred to as the pansy orchids.
Flower stalks arise from the miltonia's narrow pseudobulbs. Each one can bear as many as 20 blooms.
Plants begin flowering at 2 or 3 years old and become more floriferous as they age. The blooming period is from spring to mid-summer.
Blooms last for a month or more. Unless you cut them.
Miltonia flowers wilt quickly when cut.
This is a cool growing highland species that likes to be kept moist. Night temperatures in the 50s F. are suitable for mature plants, but juveniles should be kept slightly warmer. Daytime temperatures under 80 degrees suit them best.
They do well in a mixture of sphagnum peat and live sphagnum kept open with bark chunks. The same type of media you might grow a cattleya in. The leaves of a Miltoniopsis that is kept too dry will fold like an accordion. Too much water will cause rot. The roots are fine so fertilize at 1/4 strength on a weekly basis.
Fragrant Miltonia Orchids
M. roezlii bears 2-5 sweetly fragrant white flowers on each spike. The blooms are 3-4 inches wide and feature a purple spot at the base of the petals. This Columbian native blooms from late spring into early summer.
M. flavescens from Bolivia displays tall sprays of 3 inch white flowers. Each bloom sports a ruffled lip spotted plum. M. spectabilis var. virginalis from Brazil blooms twice a year. The blooms are a sparkling white with an egg yolk yellow center.
M. oncidium 'Hawaiian Sunset' bears sprays of lightly fragrant blooms 2-3 feet tall. The flowers of this miltonia oncidium cross are deep redish purple, gold and white.
You should be aware that the aroma of fragrant miltonias is not always pleasant. I have heard growers refer to a couple of cultivars as smelling like moldy socks or rotten fruit.
Not something you want in your living room.
This orchid should be repotted yearly if grown in the media described above. If you are using bark, you may be able to let it go for 2 years before the media begins breaking down.
Bright but not direct light will keep the plant healthy and encourage blooming.