Ten Things You Need To Know About the Coconut Orchid

Ten Things You Need To Know About the Coconut Orchid

Maxillaria tenuifolia, abbreviated Max. tenuifolia, is a unique orchid that has a strong coconut scent that smells just like a Pina Coloda. According to the American Orchid Society, this orchid has recently been reclassified as Maxillariella tenuifoli.

Here are ten things you need to know about the coconut orchid.

1.) This species of orchid was discovered near Veracruz, Mexico by Karl Theodore Hartweg, a German Botanist.

2.) The coconut orchid grows at low elevations from Mexico to Central America and is recognized by its long, thin leaves and deep red blooms. The orchid draws its name from its distinctive scent, and is propagated by dividing clumps of pseudobulbs into smaller separate plants.

3.) The Orchid is native to tropical America and gets its name from the Latin word “maxilla” which means jawbone.

4.) Belize is an ideal country for the coconut orchid to grow because of its warm temperatures, good moisture and medium-high light.

5.) If treated properly, the coconut orchid will bloom every year in spring and early summer and should continue blooming for a couple of months. And the blooms are a treat; as I previously mentioned, they smell of sweet coconut and can fill a room as well as any candle.

6.) When a Max. tenuifolia does not produce blossoms during its flowering season, too little light may be the culprit.

7.) This orchid has been chosen by top orchid breeders to ensure healthy growth, abundant blooming and unsurpassed beauty.

8.)  The Maxillaria Tenuifolia orchids prefer daytime temperatures of 80-90°F with a minimum temperature of 50°F.

9.) This coconut orchid should be protected from freezing and should be watered thoroughly 2-3 times per week in warm months and once a week in cooler months.

10.) You can fertilize the Maxillaria Tenuifolia with Better-Gro® Orchid Plus® Fertilizer and Orchid Plus Bloom Booster® Fertilizer.

The above photo was taken by the Rainforest Medicine Trail at Chaa Creek. The species has been recorded in five of the six Belize districts but we believe the orchid grows in probably all six districts.

Subscribe to receive more great Belize travel content directly to your inbox!

Join over 3,700 readers and get the best Belize travel tips, photos, recipes and travel deals delivered to your inbox each week.

Blog post blog body signup

4 thoughts on “Ten Things You Need To Know About the Coconut Orchid”

  1. Hello,
    I have a very healthy full coconut orchid. The bulbs are large and it keeps getting fuller but it has never bloomed. I give it food and plenty of water. It continues to get more branches with these pods. Not one bloom. I decided to repot yesterday and give it fresh food. I popped off some of the pods that looked old. Hung it back where it gets morning sun and shaded later. I live in Clearwater Florida so you know our weather. Please is there any advice you could give me.

    Thank you,


  2. Barbara We just got our first coconut orchid but I have been raising orchids for a number of years. I am guessing that your very close to providing just what your plants need, they might want more light though. Move them around a bit. Have fun


Leave a Comment