By: Anne Baley
The Miltoniopsis pansy orchid is possibly one of the friendliest looking orchids you can grow. Its bright, open bloom resembles a face, just like the pansies it was named after. These show-stoppers, also known as Miltonia orchids, originated in the cool cloud forests of Brazil and have developed into hybrid plants with attractive foliage as well as bright flowers.
Pansy Orchid Growing
Pansy orchid growing is mostly a matter of changing the plant’s environment to most closely resemble how its ancestors grew, with temperatures that aren’t too hot in the daytime and plenty of moisture to encourage floral growth.
Study its habits throughout the year and you’ll learn how to grow a Miltonia orchid plant. These plants will bloom early in the spring and the flowers will last up to five weeks in most cases. Some hardy varieties will bloom again in the fall, giving you double the color each year. The tall stems will produce up to ten flowers and each flower can grow 4 inches (10 cm.) across.
Pansy orchids won’t flower if they get too warm or if they dry out. They’re very particular about living in a certain environment and won’t thrive unless you give them the temperature and moisture they need.
How to Grow a Miltoniopsis Orchid Plant
Miltoniopsis orchid care starts with giving the plant the right home. Their roots are very sensitive to salts and other chemicals from fertilizer, so you’ll need fresh planting medium that allows good drainage. Fir bark, sphagnum moss, or a mixture of the two will make a good home for these plants. The medium breaks down and begins to compost very soon, so repot your plant once a year right after they’ve bloomed.
Watering is an important part of caring for pansy orchids. Since they need to have clean roots that are free of deposits, deep watering is necessary. Put the pot in the sink and run warm water over the planting medium until it runs out the bottom of the planter. Allow the pot to sit in the sink until any excess water drains out the bottom. Give your pansy orchid this watering treatment once a week to ensure the right amount of moisture.
All plants need food, but these orchids do best with a very small amount. Use 10-10-10 fertilizer and dilute it to one-quarter strength. Use this solution once every two weeks and only when the plant is growing new leaves or stems.
This article was last updated on
These plants thrive in strong light, but not direct late-afternoon sunlight (although dendrobiums can handle more sun). They also need high humidity and airflow around the roots. They need regular periods of drying alternated with heavy watering. Orchids do best in temperatures above 50 degrees but below 85 degrees.
The closer you can come to creating these conditions, the more success and better blooms you will have.
Most store-bought orchids come packaged in cheap plastic pots with the roots packed in soaked moss. Obviously, this violates two of the main rules of successful growth. There is no air flow around the roots, and the roots are never given a chance to completely dry out. Thus, the plant cannot breathe and root rot is inevitable.
Orchid roots are highly specialized organs designed to soak up water very quickly and breathe. They do not extract nutrients from the soil.
Fertilize you Miltoniopsis orchid at every other watering using a diluted (half-strength) fertilizer solution. If your orchid is planted in bark you will want to use a high-nitrogen solution (30-10-10), or a balanced solution (20-20-20) if planted in other media. In order to help with flowering you can use a low-nitrogen, high-phosphate fertilizer (such as 10-30-20) every fourth or fifth feeding. You should always water your orchid very thoroughly once a month so that the excess fertilizer build-up can be removed. Miltoniopsis are especially sensitive to buildup, and leaf tips will blacken as a result.
Easy orchids to grow
Daunted by orchids? We highlight the easiest types to grow.
Published: Tuesday, 22 September, 2020 at 8:39 am
Orchids are increasingly popular houseplants and you’re likely to find several different types for sale, in addition to the much-loved moth orchid. Many of them are easy to grow in most homes, producing gorgeous displays of exotic blooms.
Always keep the plant label, as different types of orchid need slightly different care. But, broadly speaking, grow in specialist orchid compost, avoid watering too much, and feed with orchid fertiliser from spring until autumn.
Most orchids like bright but indirect light – an east or west-facing windowsill is often perfect. Too much light can scorch the leaves, so don’t stand in direct sunshine. Most indoor orchids come from humid, tropical regions, so like a humid atmosphere. In most centrally heated homes the air is dry, so mist the foliage every two to three days using tepid water (avoid spraying the flowers), or stand the pot on a tray of damp gravel.
Find out about some of the easiest orchids to grow.
Miltonia are also known as ‘pansy orchids’ as their flowers have ‘faces’, just like pansies do. They prefer cooler temperatures from 12-15°C (55-60°F) but are forgiving of temperature fluctuations. Keep them somewhere bright, but not in full sunshine.
Cymbidium orchids prefer cool conditions – a minimum 10°C (50°F). To flower they need a distinct drop in temperature between day and night from mid- to late summer – you achieve this by putting the plants outside from June to September. In the house, they need bright but indirect light. Watch our video guide to caring for cymbidiums.
Unlike most orchids, odontoglossum orchids do well in low light levels – a north-facing windowsill is ideal. They hail from the Andes, so like cool, fresh, airy conditions and a minimum temperature of 10°C (50°F). They like high humidity so place on a tray of damp pebbles.
Dendrobiums likes a temperature of at least 16-18°C (61-65°F) and less humid environment than many other orchids. Reduce watering in autumn, and move plants to a bright windowsill or porch, where they can remain cool and dry until spring. Then, when temperatures start to increase again, increase watering and bring indoors.
Moth orchids, or phalaenopsis, are widely available and easy to grow. They do well in centrally heated homes (they like a minimum temperature of 16°C (61°F), in a spot that has bright, filtered light, such as close to an east-facing window. They like humidity, so do well in kitchens and bathrooms.
Paphiopedilum, or slipper orchids, like humidity and moderate temperatures – at least 13°C (56°F). Types with spotted leaves like it warmer. They grow on the floor of rainforests so are adapted to low light but need high humidity. Move to a cool, bright spot in winter.
Oncidium orchids, or dancing ladies usually flower in summer and may go dormant for a while. They will appreciate a spell outside in summer. They like bright light – close to an east window is ideal and a moderate temperature of around 12-15°C (55-60°F).