Miltonia clowesia

Miltonia clowesia

Miltonia spectabilis

Miltonia spectabilis

Pronunciation: Mil-TONE-ee-ah

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Subfamily: Epidendroideae
  • Tribe: Maxillareae
  • Subtribe: Oncidiinae
  • Alliance: Oncidium
  • Genus: Miltonia, Lindley 1837

General Characteristics

  • epiphytic
  • waxy, nonspurred flowers
  • elongate, widely spaced pseudobulbs
  • foliage typically yellow-green to mid-green

Miltonia, abbreviated Milt in horticultural trade, is a small genus described in 1837 by John Lindley based on the Brazilian species Miltonia spectabilis, principally found in Brazil. They are named after Lord Fitzwilliam Milton, an English orchid enthusiast.

These epiphytic orchids occur from Central to Southern Brazil down to Argentina. These orchids have one or two leaves, arising from a pseudobulbs, covered with a foliaceous sheath. The inflorescence consists of waxy, nonspurred flowers. The lip is large and flat and lacks a callus at its base. They possess a footless column with two hard pollinia. The flowers have a delicate, exotic scent.

The species in this genus are sometimes confused with Miltoniopsis or “pansy orchids’ that have flowers that closely resemble the pansy. Almost everyone except for the most serious orchid hobbyists use these names interchangeably, which may cause confusion. Miltonia looks more like Oncidiums than Miltoniopsis.

Miltoniopsis is the pansy orchid with huge showy flowers. They grow in cooler climates and are more challenging to grow than Miltonias.


  • Temperature: Warmer growing Miltonias, as for Cattleyas, enjoy day temperatures of 75˚F to 85˚F, and night temperatures of 60˚F to 65˚F.
  • Light: Prefer high light (partial sun).
  • Water & Humidity: Miltonias, like Oncidiums, should almost dry out between watering. If kept too wet, the roots will rot. If they are too dry, they will dehydrate and die. Prior to dehydration, the new leaves will become crinkled or accordion pleated, as a warning.
  • Fertilizer: Miltonias are very accommodating, fertilize according to the amount of light, and they are not very fussy.
  • Potting: Miltonias will grow in a regular bark mix or mounted on slabs. They should be repotted every year after flowering, as they are very sensitive to the breakdown of the mix.


Natural Hybrids


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