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Oncidium spp. (on-SID-ee-um)
Dancing ladies, Dancing dolls, Dancing-lady orchid, Dancing-doll
orchid, Butterfly orchid
Most Oncidiums are found in sprays, with dozens of delicate
florets that are 1 to 1.5 inches across blooming along a central
Oncidiums have multicolored blossoms. Yellow and brown is the
most common combination although there are a few species that
have red, maroon, green and white colorings.
Oncidium blooms can last from 15 to 25 days or longer, depending
upon the care the plants receive.
Oncidium plants are available year-round.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Bright, indirect light
is best. Inadequate light levels will result in spindly stems
and thin leaves with few or no flowers. Keeping the plants in
east or west windows in the summer and fall, and south windows
in the winter and early spring will give them plenty of light to
thrive. Extended exposure to strong light or abrupt exposure to
high temperatures in the presence of strong light can quickly
cause permanent sunburn.
WATER Water every five to
seven days, allowing the potting medium to dry slightly between
TEMPERATURE Most Oncidium
plants require warmth to grow and flower. A temperature range of
70 F to 85 F during the day and 60 F to 65 F at night will
satisfy the needs of most hybrids. Lower temperatures during
blooming will make the flowers last longer. The plants should be
stored at temperatures no lower than 55 F.
HUMIDITY Humidity levels
should be high. Humidity can be increased by placing the plants
on pebble trays.
FERTILIZER Apply an orchid
bloom fertilizer at each watering when there is active growth.
Otherwise, fertilize at every other or third watering. Allow the
excess water to drain freely.
REPOTTING Do not repot
Oncidiums unless the new growth has come out of the pots or the
medium has decomposed.
GROOMING Remove individual
flowers as they fade. If lower leaves turn yellow, they can be
removed without damaging the plants.
Oncidiums show little sensitivity to ethylene gas.
PESTS Wash off any spider
mites, aphids and mealybugs with insecticidal soap. You also can
dab rubbing alcohol directly onto mealybugs with cotton swabs.
BLOOMS Check for signs of
discoloration on petals, which indicates old flowers or
temperatures that are too low.
FOLIAGE Avoid plants that
show blackening on foliage.
WHAT’S IN A NAME “Oncidium”
comes from the Greek word “onkos,” meaning “tumor” or
“swelling.” It refers to the warty callus of the lip of the
FAMILY Oncidiums are members
of the Orchidaceae family.
ORIGINS The plants are
native to Central and South America.
HISTORY The genus was
established in 1800 by Olaf Swartz, who chose Oncidium
variegatum as the original name.
Some information provided by:
The Chain of Life Network®,
Flowers and Plants Association,
The North of England Orchid Society,
Aloha Orchid Nursery,
You may reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
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