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Maxillaria tenuifolia
Care and propagation of Maxillaria tenuifolia – The Coconut Orchid

Maxillaria tenuifolia is a long time favorite because of its strong coconut scent, it smells just like a Pina Coloda.

The coconut orchid is an easy to grow orchid that smells like fresh coconuts.

Care is simple - keep it moist & high light like Cattleya.  It can take a wide range of light and will take bright light up to about 5000 foot candles. It likes to stay moist and will tolerate large amounts of water on its roots.  Not much more except to enjoy the scent in March - April when they bloom.

General good culture like any other orchid is desirable.  Good air circulation - fertilize regularly 

coconut orchid  maxillaria teniufloria


Coconut orchidWe grow ours outdoors in Florida in sphagnum moss. During the rainy season, they will get several hours of water every day. You can wring out the moss like a sponge and the plants accept this heavy water supply around its roots. Before the rainy season when the weather gets very hot the plants may dry out for several days without experiencing problems.

The plant grows up and bushes at the same time.

When pot bound they grow up and, when in wide baskets like the plant on the right, they grow very wide very fast.

Coconut orchidIt can be propagated by division. The roots grow loose and can be separated with just a little effort. Pick any place in the plant and cut or break it apart into the number of plants desired.coconut orchid









 Unique with this plant is the way the pseudobulbs grow up on top of each other. This looks like one growth but actually each pseudobulb has roots that grow under the papery coating and all the way down into the medium.coconut orchid

coconut orchidGrowth of these pseudobulbs starts as a thin spike and fills out with time. Propagation  is as simple as removing as little as a single pseudobulb. Propagation will be better if you see new growth before removing the section. You can remove the papery coating or it can be left on the stem.



coconut orchidcoconut orchid

We plant ours in Sphagnum and use Essentials rooting hormone on them.  Within 4-6 weeks we have strong root growth. Just in time for flowering season March-April.