Oncidium

oncidesa little dragon

Oncidesa ‘Little Dragon’

Oncidiums or ‘Dancing Lady‘ orchids are orchids of the Americas; their habitats ranging from Florida south to Argentina.  The Oncidium is a very diverse genus with over 400 species that grow at altitudes between sea level and 4000 m. In his article: ‘Oncidiums and Their Cultivation‘, OSCOV article contributor Dieter Weise provides some tips on potting or repotting oncidiums. The following are from his article.

  • Potting. Oncidiums can be grown either in pots or by tying them to tree fern slabs or wooden logs. Another way is to grow them in wooden baskets packed with chunks of tree fern. With pot culture it is important to choose pots with good drainage. I usually punch extra drainage holes in the sides of my pots to aid aeration of the root system.
  • Oncidiums should be repotted when the new growths are developing new roots, which usually happens in springtime. If possible, the newly developing growth should be positioned in the centre of the pot, so that the plant has room to grow for two years before it needs repotting again. Good quality, chunky bark should be used. A stake should be inserted to steady the plant, because a wobbly plant will never develop a good root system.

Another OSCOV contributor, Brian Milligan, shares his cultivation tips in ‘How I Grow Oncidiums‘. He explains that for many years he struggled to grow and flower oncidiums but in recent years he seems to have mastered the art and most of his mature plants now flower each autumn. His article refers to the most commonly grown types, those hybrids referred to as “crispum” types that are bred from Oncidium crispum and the closely related O. marshallianum, O. gardneri, O. forbesii and O. enderianum (all members of section Crispa)While he grows them successfully in a ‘cosy’ shade house with a solid roof, he explains that other growers manage them quite well under shade cloth alone. Their yellow and brown flowers, carried on long, branched inflorescences, are mostly produced in autumn, when they last well for several weeks.

Milligan confesses that most of his early problems in growing these colourful ‘dancing ladies‘ stemmed from loss of roots, caused by a variety of cultural faults. Over-watering in winter, poorly draining potting mixes and attack by garlic snails and caterpillars were the main problems. But finding a spot in the shade house where they receive good ventilation and an acceptable level of light is also important. (Full text article)

For further information on Oncidiums and other orchid varieties, see the Orchid Societies Council of Victoria (OSCOV) Website under the section Articles.

  • See also our Oncidium photo gallery.
  • For further information about orchid care at Southern Suburbs Orchid Society (SSOS) or membership enquiries, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.

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