Oct 092015
 

Miltonia spp
How to keep them thriving indoors in Melbourne!

Please Note: The information below is specific to this particular plant. For more detailed notes on the general growing conditions required for all indoor plants, check out our ‘Growing Indoor Plants Successfully’ factsheet.

These gorgeous orchids are one of the easier orchids to grow in Melbourne and plants double in size each year, so you can achieve a large specimen fairly rapidly. They produce copious blooms in summer when most other orchids are not flowering and come in wildly different colours and shapes. Flowers last 6-8 weeks. Leaves are more yellow than other orchids, don’t be concerned – this is normal.

Watering
Do not let these orchids dry out, keep well drained but damp. They need significantly more water when actively growing.

Light
Grow in 30-50% shade in winter and 50-70% shade in summer. If too much light the leaves rapidly turn yellow. If this happens – simply move to a darker spot.

Temperature and Humidity
Room temperature is fine, but they will cope with temperatures as low as 5C. However they do like a humid atmosphere. Both heating and air-conditioning reduce humidity. Keep plants away from ducts and outlets. Ideally group indoor plants together as this helps create islands of humidity. Regular misting or a room humidifier helps, as does putting pots on feet or pebbles to ensure free drainage and allowing water to collect underneath.

Fertilising
Feed weekly with liquid food, or use a slow release fertiliser and supplement with weekly liquid fertilising during rapid growth periods.

Maintenance
Flush your pot plant for salt accumulation several times a year. This will help remove the salts which accumulate in the pots from fertilising and tend to accumulate in the leaf tips of these orchids turning them brown. If this occurs, just trim off the brown tips.

Repotting: These need a finer potting mix then the phalenopsis or cymbidium orchids. Use a free draining mix, a succulent or cactus mix should be fine. Because of their rapid growth, annual repotting may be required. Do this at the start of the growing period.

Problems
Mealy bugs are the most likely problem. A cotton tip soaked in rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl alcohol) applied directly to the mealy bugs generally solves the problem.