Commonly referred to as Pansy Orchids, Miltonia orchids have large, flat and brightly coloured flowers with bold patterns. They originate from the cloud forests in the foothills of the Andes in Colombia. Miltonia orchids are especially sensitive to bright, hot sunlight and the leaves will show burn-marks if they are left in these conditions for too long; they are best kept in indirect light and in a room where the temperature will not drop below 15 degrees C at night. The flowers have a light citrus-like scent which may not be noticeable from one plant, but put several together and the scent can be almost overpowering.
Miltonia orchids should be watered once a week.
Other kinds of Orchids as House Plants...
By far the best way to water orchids is to place them in a sink or other container of lukewarm water which comes up to the top of their pots. Because they are not growing in densely packed soil or compost, the water will easily rise up from the bottom of the pots and saturate the roots. The plants should be left for several hours, or overnight, and the watering should be repeated on a weekly basis (although most plants will easily survive a 10 interval if you are away). At the same time as watering, spray the leaves with a fine water mist. Feeding should be kept to a minimum and stepped up only once new growth or flower shoots appear. Never overdo it – food is not high on the agenda of survival for plants that live perched up in trees with their roots exposed!
Yes, we have many native wild orchids throughout Europe and around 30 species in the UK. Most of them are rare, endangered or in serious decline due to the destruction of their natural habitats. They will not survive being dug up and moved either to gardens and greenhouses or to window ledges. It is also an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to dig up any wild plants without the landowner’s consent.
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There are many local and national nature reserves where wild orchids can be seen at the right time of year, and the network of local Wildlife Trusts can advise you on the best time to visit and also arrange for you to take part in some of the many tours that they organise during peak flowering times.