This month, I feature a lovely Miltonia that I obtained via eBay from the Quinta da Boa Vista, Madeira. It came with a few more Miltonia species and hybrids back in January 2016. After having spent more than a fortnight in the post (most of which seemed to have been at a depot in Portugal), the plants arrived in superb condition and none the worse for their ordeal.
The information available on Miltonia Queen Ann is really scant, but its parentage is M. Purple Queen (spectabilis x russelliana) x M. Anne Warne (M. x bluntii (a natural hybrid between M. clowesii and M. spectabilis) x M. spectabilis). This parentage looks complicated, but there are only really three species involved here (depending on how you view M. spectabilis and its various incarnations), the greatest influence coming from Miltonia spectabilis at 62.5%*.
I have noticed with Miltonia in general that while they very much dislike drying out at the roots, it is still important to make sure that they are well drained. When I first got this plant, I put it in a 10cm shallow pot (a Streptocarpus pot, actually) in medium bark chips, but this kept it far too wet, and although the roots didn’t die on me, the plant has grown much faster and larger since I put it in a 12cm aircone orchid pot with extra crocking at the bottom (I use broken-up polystyrene as one has to be careful with polystyrene peanuts because some are made of corn starch and dissolve as soon as water is added). Since doing this, the plant has come on leaps and bounds and is producing a nice root system despite the fact that I did not change my watering regime.
You can see from the flowers, while they are smaller than the species, the influence of M. spectabilis is nonetheless very strong. I assume that M. spectabilis var. moreliana has been used here since the purple is very deep and covers the whole flower. Note also the deeper purple veining on the lip. There is a slight fragrance, spicy and quite pleasant. There are two flowers per spike. I expect the flower count to increase as the plant gets older, but I don’t expect a large number since M. spectabilis produces only one, or rarely two, flowers per spike. I am pleased to see that while M. spectabilis has had a strong influence on the flowers, this hybrid hasn’t inherited the lengthy rhizome that makes M. spectabilis so difficult to contain in a pot. Furthermore, the plant has plumper pseudobulbs and is generally faster growing and more robust than M. spectabilis.
The plant wasn’t quite flowering size when I got it (despite being listed as such), but it grew two extra (much bigger) pseudobulbs before putting out a spike. As it is, I still think the plant has some growing to do before it fully reaches adult size.
* The author acknowledges Blue Nanta for this data.