Coconut Orchid, Maxillaria tenuifolia. While most orchids are grown for their flashy blossoms, the small-flowered Coconut Orchid is grown for its pretty habit and the wonderful smell of coconut emitted by its dark red flowers. Like most orchids, bark, osmunda or even gravel are preferred potting media, since drainage and air are necessary for good plant health. Our mix includes 75% gravel plus 25% orchid bark. Do not keep the Coconut Orchid constantly wet, but allow it to dry out slightly between watering. Flower production appears to be stimulated by slightly drier winters and the natural shift in day length (blooms with increasing day length.) High humidity is good and placing the plant in a dappled shade location for the warm season can also be beneficial.The one inch flowers typically appear in late spring or early summer. Under artificial lights, blooming can happen anytime, especially when long days are simulated. A liquid fertilizer sprayed on the leaves and roots is needed; every two to six weeks is plenty. We use a combination of fish emulsion (outdoors!) and Peters Liquid. Alternate different fertilizers, but do not mix them together. When the plant climbs out of its pot, it is time to repot. Partly bury the stem in a deeper pot. Best growing temperatures are between 50°-90°F. This orchid will not tolerate freezing.
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