Miltonia cuneata – 365 days of orchids – day 1871

Another star species opening its flowers in time for the RHS Orchid Show – two weeks from today – at Wisley is the lovely Miltonia cuneata. This is a species we have had the joy of finding flowering in in Eastern Brazil where it grows in colonies on tall trees in wet evergreen forests at around 1100m altitude. (Species flowering in habitat below)

Our plants are just coming into flower and in the UK where they always flower in March and April. In Brazil (in the southern hemisphere) of course it flowers in October. This is the end of the dry season and an ideal time for orchids to flower as plants can expect plenty of rain and nutrient when growing seed pods.

We find the species does best in a basket as it has a fair distance between bulbs on the rhizome and so tends to ‘walk’ out of pots. We keep plants damp all year but wetter in the summer.

Flowers are large and dramatic with their large white lips and we have had spikes with up to ten flowers from strong plants. For more information on growing this species and other cool growing orchids from the Americas check out our culture article here.

As I have noted before, seeing this plant in flower always reminds me of a very pleasant lunch break under its host trees, on a trek with the students on the 2006 expedition to Brazil. Oh for a picnic in a rainforest 🙂

Lunch under Miltonia cuneata near Macae de Cima, Brazil.


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