Milmiltonia Sunset is rapidly becoming one of those hybrids that one can almost become tired of seeing. It’s everywhere – DIY outlets, supermarkets, garden centres, etc. Yet somehow, one only has to glimpse its beautiful flowers, and its ubiquity is instantly forgiven. My plant was from a DIY store and was very cheap for a multi-lead plant that even came with a decorative pot.
The parentage behind this hybrid appears to be Milmiltonia Norma McRae x Miltonia Goodale Moir, and it was registered in 2011. There is some confusion over the naming, as a much older hybrid also exists, Miltonia Sunset, whose parents are MIltonia regnellii x Miltonia Goodale Moir, and it was registered in 1961. It is possible that the older hybrid has been lost, but the new one is a close contender, as the parentage is similar, but it incorporates some Miltoniopsis DNA which broadens the lip and introduces some waterfall patterning, but seemingly, little else.
Whichever name turns out to be the correct one, it is a gorgeous flower and an easy grower: one of that rare breed of orchid that makes a good houseplant in its own right. It enjoys intermediate conditions, but is adaptable to both warmer and cooler temperatures. The foliage is a light yellowish-green when the plant receives the correct light levels, but care should be taken not to expose it to too much light, as this can both burn the leaves and lead to less intensely coloured blooms. As is often the case with Miltonia, the tall compressed pseudobulbs are spaced out along the rhizome, though the spacing is not as pronounced as in many Miltonia species. Roots are fine and are produced in a flush from the base of new shoots when the latter are a few inches high, but generally before flowering.
The blooms themselves are produced on a lateral inflorescence that arises from between the basal leaves of the pseudobulb, and which generally bears between three and seven flowers which open almost simultaneously. They have an indistinct but pleasant scent and bright yellow tepals with a flared lip, which is basically white, but strongly marked with pinkish purple and a red waterfall at the centre. The flowers last for several weeks in good condition and retain their colour best if kept out of direct sun, especially in summer. Occasionally two inflorescences may be produced, one from either side of the pseudobulb, and each pseudobulb is capable of producing two shoots when growth resumes. This results in a nicely clumping plant.