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How to keep your Oncidium healthy!

Commonly found in florist arrangements, Oncidiums are moderate growers and are among the easiest to grow.  Their flower spikes develop on the mature new growth of the plant and typically bloom in the fall.


Light:  Bright to moderate indirect light. Ideally, early morning indirect light as in a southern facing window.  East and west facing windows are good too, provided direct sun is not on the orchid.  Early morning and evening sun is okay.  The foliage should be medium green color, indicating the orchid is getting enough light to flower.  Oncidiums thrive with good air circulation.


Temperature:  The ideal temperature during the day is 80-94°F.  Some Oncidiums can tolerate higher temperatures to 98°F for short periods of time.  Night temperatures can range from 50-60°F.


Watering:  Watering should be done in the morning hours.  You can water heavy overhead, or soak potted orchid in the sink for ten minutes.  In cold areas, the water temperature should not be below 45°F.  Watering with ice cubes in NOT recommended.  Water is an essential nutrient for plant development.  In moderate light water one to two times a week in winter, and two to three times a week in summer.  This may need to be increased in bright light conditions.  When in doubt, check the bottom of the pot, if it looks dry, then water.


Special note:  Orchids in decorative containers should be watered once a week with 1/3 cup of water.  Allow 1-5 minutes of soaking, then tilt container to drain excess.


Feeding:  Oncidiums are moderate feeders and require fertilizing at least every third watering. Use Gubler’s Pro Blend Orchid Food 19-8-16. This formula is exactly what we use to grow our Oncidiums.  By feeding at least every third watering, you will be feeding more during the longer days of summer when the orchid has more light to grow, and less in the shorter days of winter.


Repotting:  Should be done once every 12 to 18 months.  It is best to repot after the Oncidium is done flowering.  Plants that have overgrown their container should be potted into a suitable container the next size larger.  Make sure the container you choose had good bottom drainage, this will allow the roots of your Oncidium to get the air they need.  We do not recommend however, pots with slits on the side.  Transplant using Gubler’s Orchid Grow Mix- Fine Grade for all container sizes.


What to expect:  The small, yellow or brownish flowers of the Oncidium, with their branching spikes, have been popular for decades.  The Oncidium genus itself has flowers that are one quarter to two inches in diameter.  Flowers should last approximately four to six weeks, depending on your growing conditions.  The “Shari Baby” hybrid also has small flowers, but produces a wonderful “chocolate” fragrance.  Oncidiums are excellent for the beginner, and will have long lasting appeal.


Oncidiums are a member of the Odontoglossum tribe.  The genus “Oncidium” is one of the most interbred orchids and have offspring of more than 50 new genera (types) in their Alliance.  Nicknamed “Dancing Lady”, their flowers have small petals with a large lip that appears to be a flowing, yellow ball gown.  Their multiple branches of flowers “dance” with little air movement.


(The Dancing Lady)

Dancing Lady Orchid
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