Botanical Name: Miltoniopsis orchid species and hybrids
Miltoniopsis is commonly known as pansy orchid because it carries a striking resemblance to those popular garden flowers.
Their velvety, rounded petals are flat-faced, in colors ranging from white to pink to red, often with contrasting waterfall lines radiating outward from the center of the flower.
These charming flowers are fragrant and last about 4-5 weeks.
You can expect these evergreen orchids to bloom prolifically year after year.
Most will bloom in spring, with some giving a second show of blooms in fall. Miltoniopsis orchid has pseudobulbs, with 1 tall leaf growing from each tip. Tall flower stems carry as many as 10 pansy-like flowers, each growing up to 4 in (10 cm) wide.
Shed some light. Put your orchids where they'll get plenty of light, but out of direct sun. If you don't have a spot near a window, fluorescent light works beautifully. Use 1 warm white tube and 1 cool white tube under a reflector. Place orchids about 8 inches (20 cm) beneath the light for 14-16 hours a day. It's also important to give them darkness at night. Orchids need a rest, too.
Without question, Miltoniopsis loves humidity. If relative humidity drops below 60%, use a humidity tray or room humidifier to increase the moisture in the air. Grouping plants also helps to maintain the humidity around them.
To repot...or not. Fir bark medium breaks down after a couple years and needs replaced. The best time to repot is in summer, shortly after blooming. Don't over-pot, though. Miltoniopsis blooms best when slightly pot-bound.
Deadhead spent blooms. Each flower lasts about a month, then it'll look wilted. Cut off spent flowers right away.
Got a reluctant bloomer? Give your orchid slightly cooler nighttime temperatures to spark blooming. A 15° difference will do. Pansy orchid will tolerate varying temperatures from 60° nights up to 85° days. They usually flower in spring, with some giving a second show of blooms in late summer or fall.
Origin: Central and South America
Height: 1-2 ft (30-60 cm)
Light: Bright indirect light. Some direct sun in winter is fine.
Water: Water thoroughly and allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. These orchids store water in their rhizomes, and some species have water-storing pseudobulbs, making them more tolerant of dry soil than wet.
Humidity: Moderate to high, preferably at least 60% relative humidity.
Temperature: Will tolerate temperatures between 60-85°F/16-29°C.
Soil: Orchid potting mix
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks with an orchid fertilizer in spring and summer, while plant is growing and flowering.
Propagation: Division. Divide the rhizome in summer, leaving each section with at least 2 pseudobulbs attached to each piece. Using a sharp knife, cut through the rhizome that joins them. Pot them separately.
Orchids like free-flowing air as in their native habitats.
Put them where they'll enjoy plenty of air circulation, but away from heat or AC vents.
You'll find miltoniopsis orchids for sale in florist shops and online nurseries in spring and summer, when most of them are in bloom.
Many species are available to choose from, with new hybrids introduced all the time.
Pansy orchids are epiphytes in the wild, growing on trees where they anchor themselves with thick roots.