Miltonias have gained a reputation for being
difficult to grow. However, their culture is
basic and the rewards of growing this beautiful
genera are many. Below are a few notes on the
successful culture of these plants.
LIGHT: Miltonias prosper under light
intensities just below the needs of Cattleyas.
They require about the same light as mottled leaf
Paphiopedilums. This would be about 900 to 1000
foot candles. If the plant is in flower it is
wise to place it in a area of less illumination
to preserve flower quality.
WATER: They should never be allowed to dry
out. They should be kept moist but not too wet
over a long period of time or the roots will rot.
Pot should have sufficient drainage holes to help
prevent root deterioration.
TEMPERATURES: The ideal temperature should be
kept below 85º F. and above 68º F. if possible.
If the temperature rises above this limit, shade
and humidity should be increased. The night
temperature should be in the 58º F. to 60º F.
range. A differential of about 10º F. between
day and night temperature is very beneficial.
HUMIDITY: The relative humidity that is
recommended is 50 to 70%. As the temperature
during the day rises, with increased light
intensity, the relative humidity should be
increased. Miltonias appreciate being
"fogged" on sunny days. In nature these
plants are found in cloud forests where it rains
VENTILATION: Miltonias like good air
circulation, as do all orchids. Air circulation
allows the plants to absorb more light without
burning since the leaf temperature is reduced.
The air circulation can be provided by fan, open
vents, or cooling system. The circulation of cool
moist air is beneficial to these plants.
POTTING: These plants are grown in many
different mixes and containers. Whichever medium
is used, it should retain moisture and at the
same time provide excellent drainage. Generally,
the mix is composed of fine fir bark, plus
additives such as approx. 10% small sized
charcoal, or 15% perlite. Miltonias like to be
repotted yearly during the cool season,
preferably when the new growth is approx. 2"
tall. Miltonias resent over-potting. A small pot,
with good drainage will allow the free watering
that Miltonias prefer without the consequences of
a soggy mix. Use plastic pots if possible.
Miltonias are very susceptible to root damage
caused by salt accumulation of which occurs in
clay pots. A Miltonia prefers to grow into good
sized clumps before dividing. It will produce
more, and better flowers if left in a large
FERTILIZING: Feed a one quarter strength
solution of 20-20-20 or 18-18-18 fertilizer every
other watering. During active growing season this
may be applied at every watering.
PESTS AND DISEASES: Miltonias are susceptible
to the same pests as most other orchids. Modern
insecticides will handle most pest problems but
they must used with caution as these plants have
tender foliage and will "burn". Poor
culture will cause fungal and bacterial rots.
Treat these areas with fungicide and remove bad
portions with a sterile knife.