Articles About Orchids
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Articles About Orchids
     Do you like pansies? These are not the kind that most people grow in their gardens however. I am talking about another orchid with a descriptive nickname of the common pansy.
   Pansy orchids are the beautiful Miltonia and Miltoniopsis species and their hybrids. Even though they are a little harder to grow than some orchids such as the Cattleya and Phalaenopsis alliance you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful blooms you have ever seen. If you want a challenge, try just one and see how you do with it.
   The Miltonia genus was named in 1837, in honor of Charles Wentworth-FitzWilliam, 5th Earl FitzWilliam, Viscount Milton (1786-1857), three times President of the Royal Statistical Society (1838-40, 1847-49 and 1853-55).

    You will find many books and hobbist that still refer to the Miltoniopsis species as Miltonias. The Miltoniopsis orchids are a favorite of many orchid hobbyist, because they produce some of the most fascinating and colorful blooms in nature.
   The flowers are rounded, flat and come in an array of colors like the common garden pansies. The centers of the blooms which are called the "mask" are the center of attention. Many blooms have a waterfall effect made from small dots and bars and others have faces like cartoon characters.
   The blooms are borne on small spikes and are often very large compared to the plant. As cut flowers the blooms do not last long but on the plant they can last up to 60 days.
   The leaves are sword-shaped and are light green in color, which make this a very pretty plant. The blooms come in colors of creams, purples, pinks, and browns.
   I have always preferred to purchase my Miltonias and Miltoniopsis in bloom because of the array of differences that can be found in the blooms. When I cannot purchase the orchid in bloom I try and see a photograph.
   I love the types displaying beautiful "waterfall" patterned flowers.
Miltonia spectabilis forma Moreliana
   The cultural requirements are really not that difficult. For many years growers have divided the Pansy orchids into two groups; the warm-growing Brazilian orchids are placed taxonomically in the genus Miltonia and the cool-growing Andean or Colombian species and hybrids are placed taxonomically in the genus Miltoniopsis.
   This may be confusing because the temperature range is about the same for both types. Both groups like a temperature range of 55-60 °F (13-16 °C) at night and up to 80 °F (27 °C) during the day and they require the lower night time temperature to promote blooming.
   In reality, the greatest difference between the two groups is the different light requirement. The Brazilian types prefer 1500-3000 foot candles of light and the Colombian types require 1000-1500 foot candles of diffused light.
   If you observe the leaves, the orchid will tell you when the light is just right. Dark green leaves mean you need to increase your lighting. Yellow leaves mean you need to decrease your light.
Miltoniopsis warscewicii
   If the leaves have a slight pink tinge, that indicates the plant is receiving the maximum amount of light. Red leaves are a sure sign of too much light.
   Both groups do very well in a cool basement grown under lights. Both groups also like to be kept moist so do not let them dry out (If they do not receive enough water the new leaves crinkle like an accordion).
     Although the Pansy Orchids may be a little more difficult to grow, if you buy well established healthy plants and you can provide the necessary temperature and lighting requirements you can discover the joys of having a Pansy orchid growing in your home or greenhouse.