This genus of orchid was for a long time united with the genus Miltonia, from which however it differs greatly; the pansè orchid species are native to the Andean forests of central-southern America, between Peru and Colombia; the Miltonia instead come from the rainforests of Brazil. At first glance, even an inexperienced grower distinguishes the two species, in fact the flowers are very different, in particular the flowers of Miltoniopsis resemble pansies, showing very large petals and a showy spot in the central area of the labellum. The pansè orchids are not very easy plants to grow, even if in reality on the market we easily find the numerous hybrids of this genus, much more suitable for cultivation in the apartment than the species.
Origin and appearance
As we said before, the pansè orchid species come from the Andean forests, and are therefore adapted to a cool and fairly constant climate throughout the year. They prefer not too bright locations, and need minimum and maximum temperatures not too far from 15-20 ° C; therefore in summer it is important to place them in a cool and well-ventilated place, where the summer heat does not make them suffocate; in winter they are grown in a temperate greenhouse, because the climate of the apartment is excessively hot and dry. We hardly find the type species in the nursery, more likely we find hybrids, which bear the temperatures present in the apartment without great problems, in any case it is advisable to keep the plants away from direct heat sources and in summer place them outdoors, in a where they can enjoy good ventilation and not excessively hot. These plants have quite large, rounded and turgid pseudobulbs; the flowers are very large and showy, they bloom in variable numbers, 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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In addition to the fairly cool climate, these orchids need good ambient humidity; the thin roots also do not like drought, the same applies to the pseudobulbs. Therefore, remember that the substrate must remain slightly humid throughout the year; in winter we can let it dry, but we avoid leaving it completely dry. So let's water regularly, even every day in very hot and dry periods; throughout the year then remember to vaporize the leaves, using demineralized water and avoiding wetting the flowers, which could get damaged. From March to September we add orchid fertilizer to the irrigation water, every 10-12 days; during the remaining months we continue to supply the fertilizer but in half the dose.
Every year we repot the plants, changing all the substrate contained in the pot; a mixture for orchids is used, but since the roots are very thin and delicate, the substrate tends to be further broken up.
Orchidea pansè - Miltoniopsis: Some precautions
These plants certainly need some experience to be cultivated, even if, especially with regard to hybrids, they can find an ideal habitat at home, provided they are checked periodically. 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 become reddish; if, on the other hand, we cultivate it too much in the dark, the foliage will turn very dark green. If water and fertilizer are scarce, the foliage will tend to develop showing visible folds.