I have had a Maxillaria tenuifolia for about 2 years now, but have never had it flower for me. Therefore, Dan Newman of Hanging Gardens  suggested, that I try Maxillaria dillonii, a not so common plant in cultivation, but a reliable bloomer nonetheless. So, I gambled and got a division of his specimen with about 4 old pseudobulbs and 3 developing pseudobulbs with leaves on them. Gladly though, my doubts were cleared last month, when 4 flower spikes appeared and have bloomed since.


Maxillaria dillonii is a medium sized epiphyte native to the wet forests of Peru.I grow it bright, warm and moist with daily misting during the Summer. I generally use balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer at 1/4 strength during weekly watering. Light levels are similar to Cattleya levels (about 2,500 -3,000 foot candles). The plant is a compact grower with ellipsoid pseudobulbs  with one slightly pleated, elliptical leaf about 12 inches long, per pseudobulb. I have had this plant only since this Summer, hence, so far it is a Fall bloomer for me, here in Northern California. A single flower is borne on a spike that is about 3 inches long, so the flowers are pretty low set. The flowers are very pretty, creamish white at the base, gradually transitioning to bright, lemon yellow at the tips. They have a reddish tinge on the outside edges as well. The lip is small but prominent and yellowish white in color. The flowers appear to have a very faint pleasant fragrance.

The plant is currently potted in  a fine bark and moss mix and it appears to be pretty happy. So, I will go with the old adage “if it’s working, do not change it”. I will probably just repot it into a bigger pot once it’s done flowering.