This genus of orchid has been for long time reunited with the genus Miltonia, from which, however, it differs greatly; the species of orchid pansè are native to the Andean forests of Central and South America, between Peru and Colombia, the Miltonia instead provide from the rainforests of Brazil.
Already at first sight, even an inexperienced cultivator distinguishes the two species, in fact the flowers are very different, in particular the flowers of the Miltoniopsis recall the pansies of thought, showing very wide petals and a showy spot in the central zone of the labellum. The pansè orchids are not very easy plants to cultivate, even if, in reality, in trade, we easily find the numerous hybrids of this genus, much more suitable for the cultivation in apartment than the species.
Origin and appearance
As we said before, the species of pansè orchid come from the Andean forests, so they are adapted to a cool and fairly constant climate throughout the year.
They prefer locations that are not too bright, and need minimum and maximum temperatures not too far from 15-20°C; therefore in summer it is important to position them in a cool and well ventilated place, where the summer heat does not make them choke; in winter they are grown in a temperate greenhouse, because the climate of the apartment is too hot and dry.
Hardly in nursery we find the typical species, more probably we find hybrids, which bear without great problems the temperatures in the apartment, in any case it is advisable to keep the plants away from direct heat sources and in summer place them outdoors, in a place where they can enjoy good ventilation and not too hot.
These plants have quite big pseudobulbs, roundish and turgid; the flowers are very big and showy, bloom in variable number, from 5 to 12, on a long stem, which develops between the long thin leaves. The miltoniopsis they bloom in spring, but if the cultivation conditions are optimal we can easily obtain a second autumn flowering.
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Besides the fairly cool climate, these orchids need a good ambient humidity; the thin roots, moreover, do not love the drought, the same is true for the pseudobulbs. So let’s remember that during the whole year the substratum will have to remain slightly humid; in winter we can let it dry up, but let’s avoid leaving it completely dry.
Therefore, let’s water regularly, also every day during the very hot and dry periods; during the whole year let’s remember to vaporize the leaves, using demineralized water and avoiding wetting the flowers, which could spoil them. From March to September let’s add to the water some orchid fertilizer every 10-12 days; during the remaining months let’s continue to supply the fertilizer but in half dosage.
Every year we repot the plants, changing the whole substratum contained in the pot; we use a mixture for orchids, but as the roots are very thin and delicate, we tend to shred the substratum further.
Orchid pansè – Miltoniopsis: Some tricks
These plants surely need some experience to be cultivated, even if, especially for what the hybrids are concerned, they can find an ideal habitat at home, provided that they are periodically checked.
In fact, it is easy to see if the plant is vegetating at its best simply by observing its changes; in fact, if we place a miltoniopsis in an excessively bright place, its leaves will tend to turn reddish; if, on the contrary, we grow it too much in the dark, the foliage will turn very dark green. If the water and fertilizer are scarce, the foliage will tend to develop showing visible folds.