Today is another introduction – meet Milton. He is one of my favourite orchids for scent; it really does lift my spirits when he is in bloom and his flowers last about 6 weeks.
He was purchased from a local garden centre about a year ago, at a discount because he didn’t look particularly healthy. Wandering through the indoor plant section, I caught the scent of the most amazing smell and tracked it to Milton. The pictures below show how he looked when I bought him – the media isn’t the best and his blooms appear to have some issues. He has bloomed for me since and they are perfect.
He wasn’t in as poor condition as Nelly when I unpotted him, but he did have a few issues. Now, thankfully, these have all been sorted. The pseudo-bulbs are always plump, a good sign he is receiving the right amount of water and his roots are in good condition. Milton is a fairly easy orchid to care for so long as he is provided with the right conditions. His pseudo-bulbs take around 8 months to mature and bloom but totally worth waiting for!
I’ve written some of my observations below for you to look at if you are thinking of purchasing this orchid yourself. So, let’s look at the basics:-
Ideally suited to bright shade rather than full sun, but in the early morning or late afternoon, if the weaker sun hits the blooms, it really brings out his fragrance (it can fill a room, but I don’t personally find it overpowering).
This orchid appears to be happy with 40% – 70% humidity. At the moment he may be receiving slightly less than 40% because we have the central heating on but daily misting helps to reduce the presence of wrinkly leaves.
I provide this orchid with intermediate temperatures (18c-24c) during the day and there have been no side effects. In the winter months the growth rate tends to slow because of the cooler temperatures, but as the days become warmer I’m sure this will change.
Any orchid with pseudo-bulbs will soon tell you if they are not receiving enough water – just look for signs of wrinkling. If you are using clear plastic pots, it should be easier to see the medium and whether it appears to be dry. I don’t let the media go completely dry before watering, but when I see it is almost there, I’ll water him. Flush the pot through when you water this orchid; like most Oncidium type orchids, he loves moisture but make sure the pot drains of excess water before he goes back to his normal place.
I provide fertiliser once every two weeks. If he is starting to produce a flower spike (which he is now) then I provide him with a bloom feed. Otherwise he gets a growth feed. Make sure you flush out the media with water on the weeks you don’t use fertiliser to prevent nutrient build-up or deposits.
As with all my other orchids, Milton is growing in bark chips. I like my orchids to have ventilation around their roots and I find bark help to achieve this. It also retains enough water for me to maintain a twice-weekly watering routine in the warmer months.
This goes for most orchids, but having good ventilation is important to reducing the risk of moulds or rots developing. Most of my pots have extra ventilation holes to get some extra air flow around the roots.
So if you are thinking of adding this orchid to your own collection, you have my thoughts on caring for this beautiful plant. Of course it does depend on your own environment and abilities as to what care you can provide.
If you have any questions, then feel free to post me a comment.