Miltassia

Miltassia is considered an orchid genus in some reference material. However it is a hybrid of Brassia and Miltonia orchids. Again, I’m not terribly preoccupied with the technical definitions of orchids, but find it fascinating to see what characteristics of various genus’ seem to predominate in hybrids. In this instance, the Brassia influence makes the flowers more “spidery” in nature, as you’ll see in the following photos. I have never had much luck with Miltonia’s. They always seemed to fragile for me. I wasn’t able to keep them healthy and flowering. But this combination is very vigorous and easy to keep.

The Milassia seem to have the look and characteristics of Oncidiums, and that’s logical because both of the Miltassia parents, Brassia and Miltonia, are in the Oncidium Alliance.

Mitssa C M Fitch ‘Isumi’

Regardless of what you call them, they have a large smooth pseudobulb emerging from the bark in clumps, with footlong medium green leaves growing upright form the pseudobulbs.

This photo shows a pot-full of healthy bulbs from  the Mtssa C M Fitch ‘Izumi’ orchid. This pot is obviously quite full and the plant will need to be divided when it is next repotted.

Mtssa. C M Fitch ‘Isumi’

Here is the flower of this Miltassia. It is beautiful and the plant has great vigor. It’s easy to grow and presents large numbers of these showy flowers every year. Each spike generally has 4-6 flowers on it. The flowers, like most Oncidium-type orchids, last a few weeks. There are longer lasting orchids. But not many that are any showier or impressive!

My Miltassia orchids tend to bloom mid- to late-summer. This photo of the Mtssa C M Fitch ‘Izumi’ was taken in August in Kentucky, which is just about the exact mid-point of summer weather here. This particular plant was purchased from a large greenhouse operation that specialized in garden plants. They do a HUGE business each spring in garden plant starts for food production. But they had a beautiful small display of blooming orchids in their main office/checkout area. While they don’t specialize in orchids, they appeared to be very healthy, were in full bloom, and could be carried home immediately without the stress of shipping (which often sets plants back as much as 6-12 months in blooming.) I couldn’t resist! I talked my wife into buying me two as birthday presents!

Mtssa Shelob ‘Webmaster’

Here is my other Miltassia. It’s called Mtssa Shelob ‘Webmaster.’ As you can see from this picture it has the Oncidium-type structure with the large pseudobulbs emerging from the bark with tall leaves protruding.

The Mtssa Shelob ‘Webmaster’ is an extremely vigorous, prolific grower. In this picture you can see plenty of room around the existing bulbs. By the time this plant is repotted and separated a year from now, there will be enough bulbs for THREE pots!

Mtssa Shelob ‘Webmaster’

The flowers are unusual. With the typical spidery-look of the Miltassia’s in general, these are almost chocolate-brown, with huge pink lips. It is not unusual for this plant to have 5-10 blooms on a spray at one time.

WATER: Water regularly. Miltassia’s like my twice-per-week watering schedule. I take them to the sink, soak the bark, fertilize, then return to their usual spot.

LIGHT: Like Oncidiums in general, they like good light. I keep them on the lower shelves of my East facing window. They get soft, direct morning sun, then bright light the rest of the day.

MEDIA: I use my usual coarse bark for the Miltassia.

TEMPERATURE RANGE: Normal household temperature ranges. I can’t speak to its ability to survive either extreme, but it does fine in our normal household range of low- to mid-60s as the winter lows and low- to mid-80s as the summer highs in the house.

CARE: Very easy to care for. They are vigorous, prolific, and easy to get to re-bloom regularly. My normal orchid care, watering and fertilizing twice a week, and keeping in high light locations is all they need. They are also, coincidentally, very pest-free, which is an added bonus!

BLOOMING: Develops beautiful sprays of colorful, spidery flowers annually, typically blooming mid-summer.

REPOTTING: Annually in coarse bark. Unlike many of my orchids, these develop extremely good root systems and because they are not terribly tall, and the heaviest part of the plants, the bulbs, are right on the bark, they are very stable plants. I typically use orchid clips out of habit, but they aren’t absolutely necessary for these plants.