bunn (bunn) wrote,

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Miltonia / Miltoniopsis

I originally bought my one non-phalenopsis orchid labelled as 'miltonia'. Someone later told me it should have been miltoniopsis, and that's what I'd been calling it, as it just had a handwritten label spiked into the pot.

I have been doing some research, and have found that the miltoniopsis orchids were until relatively recently included under the name 'miltonia'. Many websites still give cultural instructions that purport to cover both types of orchid.

This seems to be wrong. Miltonia orchids, according to this site: http://www.orchidlady.com/encyclopedia/m.html are from Brazil and Columbia, and according to http://www.orchideeeninfo.com/ukverzorging.php require a cool, relatively dry environment. I'm fairly sure this is what I've got, as it's thriving on a sunny Cornish windowsill and is now even putting out buds!

Miltoniopsis orchids are from Costa Rica and Peru, live in cloud forest, are much more delicate souls than Miltonias: they like it wet, they don't like full sun, they like it warm and cannot cope with draughts.

I'm fairly sure that there are probably cultural differences at the species level, but it looks like Miltonias have been hybridised to the point where if you don't have details of their preferred lifestyle from their creator, you just have to guess. Bummeroonie.

Most of the orchid resources say that both miltonias and miltoniopsis require low light levels, but from the perspective of the UK, our light levels are pretty much always 'low' even in full sun. I may move Mme Miltonia onto an inside shelf for midsummer, but most of the year the low sun here is unlikely to burn her.

Annoying things
It's annoying that botanists change the genus of plants so often, so that it's really hard to look up relevant info on culture because you don't know if your resource is using the new genus names or the old ones.

It's annoying that gardeners don't update their resources, stick to the old names, and give advice that assumes that all members of a genus require similar conditions. It's also annoying that discussions about the differences focus on things like 'and miltoniopsis looks more pansy-shaped'. MORE PANSY SHAPED? What does that MEAN??? Pansies don't look like orchids: wrong colour, for one thing. And what about a description of the LEAVES??? Grrrr.

It's also annoying that people write things like 'low light' and 'cool' without specifying whether they are in California or Dundee.

It's very annoying that garden centres assume you are going to kill the damn thing in a week anyway, and don't usually care about the correct culture or derivation of the plants, so you usually can't trust anything they tell you.

However, it's excellent that the thing has buds on. Hurray!

Tags: orchids

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