Maxillaria Tenufolia – The Coconut Orchid

Maxillaria tenuifolia is a species native to Mexico and Honduras. It has one and a half inch flowers that smell like coconut cream pie. The flowers smell like coconut and are colored in red with yellow speckles. Easy to grow and flower but does like a little cooler night temps in winter. When the plant begins to produce flower buds they will emerge from between the pseudobulbs and the leaf at the base. Flowers should last a month to 6 weeks under ideal conditions.

Light: Medium light (1500 to 3500 foot candles) similar to between Cattleya and Phalaenopsis. Several articles indicate they grow well under fluorescent and high pressure sodium fixtures.

Humidity: 50 percent or higher. Using humidity trays or room humidifiers is helpful, use caution when using humidifiers.

Water: Start keeping the plant drier at the roots between watering from Late November until the end of March being careful not to allow the pseudobulbs to become too wrinkled. You may have to water every 2-3 weeks during this period. About mid-March you can begin watering normally allowing the potting mix to approach dryness between watering. Rain, distilled or reverse osmosis water is recommended. Overwatering can cause several problems such as root rot and infectious bacteria/fungus in the potting medium.

Fertilizer: Recommended to use every time you water if plants are planted in bark. Be sure to flush the mix with clear water only once per month to prevent fertilizer salt build up. For plants in moss or mounted on slabs feed every third or 4th watering as the moss holds a lot of nutrients.

Repotting: Repot in spring after flowering. The plant has a normal habit of climbing out of the pot and producing pseudobulbs up in the air one on top of the other. Repot into larger pots as the plant fills them up. Eventually you will have a specimen plant that will appear as a small mound of grassy like foliage. These plants can be divided when large but you should leave at least 6 to 8 growths per division.

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