An orchid that grows from a range of elevations from sea level to high on mountains up to 3500 metres. Maxillaria produce attractive flowers, they have the added attraction of many varieties such as Maxillaria tenuifolia being fragrant.
Like many orchids, Maxillaria are a varied group with some such as Maxillaria porphyrostele and Maxillaria sanguinea having smaller flowers and Maxillaria fletcheriana and Maxillaria rodrigueziana have larger flowers.
Flower colour also varies with a mixture of white, to brown with reds and purples mixed through. The flowers appear as single blooms on individual spikes, however they are an orchid that will form a large clump.
Care and Cultivation
As this is such a varied group, some are epiphytes, some terrestrial some lithophytes. Specific care instruction will differ according to the species.
Regular watering in a free draining potting mix is the general rule. Never wet and soggy, and never allowed to dry. More water during spring to summer, less in winter.
Good filtered light and never direct sun. More light in winter, less in summer.
This depends on the variety, some are cooler growing than other. In general 70 – 80F (20 – 30C) with nighttime temperatures lower.
- Growing Medium
A fine orchid bark works well for most. A little sphagnum moss mixed through will help with moisture retention. Try 50% medium bark 30% fine bark 20% sphagnum moss.
Most species like humidity, this varies so again try for around 60% in general, some higher some lower.
Use a general purpose orchid fertiliser each week over summer, every 3 weeks at other times, always flushing with clean water every 3 – 4 weeks to remove salt build up.