Maxillaria Orchid: Varieties, Care, Planting, Pests, Repotting

The genus Maxillaria refers to both lithophytic and epiphytic orchids. Grow in American tropical, subtropical forests in open areas with high humidity. Growth height from 900-3000 meters above sea level.

The genus includes over 700 species. All plants are very diverse in appearance. Some have fleshy leaves, while others are oval pseudobulbs. They differ in size.

maxillaria orchid

Maxillaria Orchid Plant

Orchid Maxillaria is characterized by an abundant green mass with many pseudobulb. Over time, it turns into a lush bush. Growing rapidly. There are a lot of this orchids varieties, therefore, they differ in size, color and temperature of content from cold to warm.

Refers to the sympodial type of growth, each pseudobulb grows above the other. Thus, a kind of ladder of bulbs and new growths is obtained. It grows not only horizontally – in breadth, but also vertically.

It grows thin, narrow leaves, reaching 60-100 cm in length, depending on the variety.

Pseudobulbs are rounded, flattened on both sides. The pseudobulb has two cover sheets. The peduncle appears from under the base of the bulb and from the leaf axil. New growth also grows from the leaf axils. The roots are thin, practically without veloman. There are species with roots that resemble phalaenopsis roots.

How to distinguish a peduncle from a new growth? New growth is always pointed, and the peduncle is rounded.

Recommended for you Miltoniopsis Orchids.

Maxillaria Orchid Flower

Usually, the flowers are small, 2-4 cm in diameter, on short peduncles, hiding among the foliage. There are species with large flowers and nondescript in appearance. Lush blooming, fragrant. The color contains bright shades: yellow, red, orange with specks or stripes on the lip.

The shape of the flowers is triangular with a pronounced lip, usually of bright color. The structure is waxy.

The duration of flowering is about a month. They have a rich smell reminiscent of spiced coconut. Although it will be individual for each species, many still have the smell of coconut.

Some of the species have the smell of ripe melon, vanilla. It does not appear immediately after the opening of the buds but after a few days. Very pleasant and quite intense with sweetish notes.

Maxillaria Orchid Home Care

Caring for the Maxillaria orchid is not very difficult if you create the right conditions, the necessary humidity, temperature, and watering without overflow and overdrying.

However, in an apartment with heating in winter, it is difficult to recreate the necessary natural conditions.

Temperature and humidity

In summer, the temperature range is desirable at night 18 degrees, and up to 30 in the afternoon. In winter, from 10 degrees at night and up to 20 during the day.

You need a difference in daily temperatures of at least 7-10 degrees. Desirable humidity in winter 70% -90%, in summer 50% -60%.

For thermophilic species, a temperature of 18-25 degrees is suitable all year round with humidity in the range of 70% -80%. And a drop in daily temperatures of 5 degrees.


Maxillaria grows well in any light. As for the Phalaenopsis and as for the Cattleyas. However, for the onset of flowering, you still need bright, diffused light all year round, 10-12 hours a day.

More suitable illumination intensity 20-40 thousand lux.


Moisture-loving look. The soil should dry out slightly in the summer before the next watering. Wrong if it stands in a very wet substrate. In winter, at cool temperatures, let the soil and roots dry out completely so that the roots do not rot. 

Under natural conditions, it grows with frequent torrential rains and does not rot. This is due to constant air circulation. It is difficult to ensure such air exchange in a room. Therefore, you need to be careful with watering, change the frequency of watering if the climatic conditions in the room change.

Observe the condition of the roots, turgor of leaves, and pseudobulb. Wrinkling of which indicates a lack of moisture in the pot, or general humidity in the room.

Do not spray Maxillaria, as moisture will get into the leaf pocket and will dry out for a very long time. Because of this, rotting often occurs.

Transplanting and Reportting

Poorly tolerates the transplant, despite the dislike for the saline substrate. Try to do it as little as possible. The best way for the Maxillaria orchid is the transshipment method, without braking the roots. In this case, he will not notice the transplant and there will be no stress.

When transplanting, remove old, rotten roots, pseudobulbs.


  1. Lay 2-3 cm of the drainage layer at the bottom of the pot.
  2. Place the plant in the middle of the container as new growths appear from all directions.
  3. Cover with pre-prepared substrate, tamping slightly. There should be no voids in the pot.
  4. Lay a small layer of moss on top of the soil.

Potting Mix Medium

Best suited as a substrate:

  • fine fraction pine bark;
  • perlite ;
  • coal;
  • sphagnum moss for adding a small amount to the soil and on top of the soil.
  • expanded clay for the drainage layer or large bark.


The pot is suitable from any material, the main thing is that there are drainage holes at the bottom for excess water to drain and air circulation. To monitor the condition of the root system and soil, it is better to choose transparent plastic pots. Especially suitable for beginners in the cultivation of this type of orchid, then there will be fewer mistakes in care.

Choose a pot a few centimeters larger than the root system so that there is room for future growth and the roots do not dry out quickly.

With sufficient humidity, block landing is suitable.


Complex mineral fertilizers are suitable for orchids with an equal content of M-PK: nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium. Dilute according to instructions or slightly less than indicated on the package.

Species with thin roots must first be shed with clean water and then with fertilizer. In order not to burn the thin roots. Feed during the growth period once a month with watering. Soak the pot in the nutrient solution for 10-15 minutes. Fertilizers should not be applied during flowering.

Take a look at Using Vermiculite for Orchids.

Diseases and pests

Often, due to waterlogged soil, rot occurs on the roots, the bases of pseudobulb, and fungi also appear in the form of dark spots on the leaves.

Leaf spots often appear when kept in cool temperatures and very high humidity. The fight consists in revising the irrigation schedule and treating the plant with special preparations from rot and fungi.

Settle on Maksillyarii mites, scale insects. The plant must be observed and periodically treated for insect pests to prevent their appearance.

There may be several reasons for the appearance: the plant is under stress, as well as low air humidity. Acaricides and insecticides will help in the fight.


To get several of these orchids, you need to divide the rhizome into parts. Leave at least 3-5 pseudobulbs on each section.

Separate only with a sterile instrument. Sprinkle the cuts with crushed charcoal and cinnamon. Plant each bush in a separate pot. Drizzle with the addition of an anti-stress drug. For example, ” Epin Extra”.

Difficulties in growing Maxillaria Orchid

Why does not it bloom:

  • lack of lighting;
  • excess fertilizer;
  • frequent transplants;
  • division of the mother plant;
  • waterlogging or prolonged drying;
  • frequent movement from one place to another;

Yellowing of Maxillaria Orchid leaves:

  • sunburn;
  • insufficient air circulation;
  • in thermophilic species, such a reaction to cool temperatures;
  • after transplanting, there is also a small percentage of yellowing of the foliage when the plant is stressed.

You may also like Do natural blue orchids Exit.

Maxillaria Orchid Varieties

maxillaria orchid varieties
  • Maxillaria schunkeana: The dark color of the petals gives it a black tint. Therefore, it belongs to the types of black orchids.
  • Maxillariella porphyrostele: Possessing a rich vanilla scent.
  • Maxillaria tenuifolia: A popular species among collectors of rare orchids. She won such love thanks to the bright flowers, the structure of the bush with thin, long leaves, miniature pseudobulbs, and also thanks to the rich aroma of coconut. Because of the scent, she was nicknamed “coconut orchid”.
  • Maxillaria rufescens: Has a very pleasant vanilla chocolate aroma.
  • Maxillaria variabilis: Flowers with a slight vanilla scent.
  • Maxillaria picta: Has an intense honey aroma with bitter pepper.
  • Maxillaria Grandiflora: Large flower 5-6 cm in diameter with a caramel smell.

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