Oncidium Orchid Care InfographicThe Oncidium orchid, commonly known as the dancing lady, has a wide variety of species that can produce yellow flowers all year round and some in autumn to winter. The beautiful leaves of the Oncidium orchid can grow up to three feet long.

The plant is versatile so you can successfully grow it in different potting media and can reach a height of ten feet, although most varieties are two feet tall. This article will provide you with expert tips on the upkeep of the Oncidium orchid.

What Is an Oncidium Orchid?

The Oncidium Orchid is an easy-to-care popular indoor plant with pseudobulbs that develop from the white, thin roots. The genus grows well naturally on the tree bark and has approximately 700 varieties. The Oncidium orchid has unique dress-like, golden-yellow flower petals.

Oncidium Orchid Care

The proper care for the Oncidium orchid is key to the plant as its health can be in jeopardy. Be sure to provide all the recommended plant care requirements in the correct amounts.

– Water Requirements

The Oncidium orchid with thick leaves and roots should be watered infrequently unlike the thin-rooted and leaved-one. Use the ‘soak and dry’ method when watering your Oncidium orchid. 

Irrigate the Oncidium orchid thoroughly but gently until you see the water flowing out through the drainage holes and allow half of the potting medium to dry before the next watering. You can dip a chopstick into the potting mix to check the moisture content prior to watering and if it comes out dry, it’s now time to water again.

Watering should be done every two to ten days, depending on the variety and weather. In summer, water the Oncidium orchid regularly as it is the growing season of these species. 

You can reduce the watering to once or twice every month in winter as the temperatures drop and most varieties are in the dormancy phase. You can water the thick-leaved Oncidium orchid once a month or less in winter because they store more water.

Use distilled room temperature or lukewarm water to rinse the Oncidium orchid. Rainwater is also ideal for watering these indoor plants.

Avoid using tap water unless you leave it outside in an open container for the night to allow the chlorine to evaporate, as it is not suitable for the orchids. Do not rinse your Oncidium orchid with cold water or ice cubes to avoid stunted growth.

The Oncidium Orchid

– Light Requirements

The Oncidium orchid prefers full to bright, diffused light. The orchid prefers to be in direct sun for a couple of hours in the morning when the sun is not harsh enough to scorch the leaves. 

Therefore, you can place the Oncidium orchid outdoor in the morning and return it indoors during mid-day when the sun starts to intensify. The Oncidium orchid can also appreciate a couple of hours in direct sun in winter, but you should take it indoors when the temperatures become cooler.

If your dancing lady is indoors, place it on the south, east, or west-facing window for the orchid plant to receive adequate sunlight. You can put a sheer curtain or blinds to filter the sun to protect the plant from harsh sun rays. Too much sun can burn the flowers of the Oncidium orchid.

The Oncidium orchid loves light, so if your place is dark, get a LED to grow light. Please note that the grow light should be switched off at night, especially in winter, to promote blooming. The Oncidium orchid starts to flower in winter when it gets less water, cooler temperatures, and if it is kept root-bound.

– Soil Requirements

The Oncidium orchid does not grow well in traditional potting soil as they naturally grow on tree barks.

You should use the fir bark chips that are 0.125 to 0.25 inches in size or the osmunda fiber as your potting media. The bark chips retain moisture perfectly, in addition to allowing roots to develop freely. They are also airy. You can add peat moss or sphagnum to improve water retention.

– Temperature Requirements

The Oncidium orchid thrives well in temperature ranges that are between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. This live orchid plant can also tolerate high-temperature ranges of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, you will need to make sure that the humidity levels and ventilation are also increased under such high-temperature conditions.

The Oncidium orchid prefers these warm conditions as they are usually found in misty cloud forests and semi-arid subtropical lowlands. Always protect your plant from cold drafts.

– Humidity Requirements

The humidity levels for your orchids should be 50 to 75 percent. The Oncidium orchid can also live happily in humidity levels that are as low as 30 percent.

In winter, the Oncidium orchid can experience cold, dry air, and the humidity will be very low. You might face difficulties maintaining the recommended humidity so that the humidifier can solve your problem.

The humidifier can be easy and effective, compared to misting. The latter may cause the development of fungi on plant leaves. Misting or damping down the floor should be done when there is enough ventilation so that excess water can be evaporated quickly before causing any harm to the plant.

You can also increase humidity levels using a pebble tray. Make sure the pot is slightly above the tray so that the roots will not sit in water.

– Fertilizing Requirements

The Oncidium orchid requires more nitrogen than other nutrients. You should apply slow-release or water-soluble fertilizers with the NPK ratios of 30-10-10 or 20-10-10. Make sure the fertilizers have a higher content of nitrogen (N) than the other constituents. Do not stress if you cannot find it because fertilizers with equal ratios can also work perfectly.

Apply the fertilizer once every month during the growing period of the Oncidium orchid but not when the plant is flowering. If you use the slow-release fertilizer, scatter the pellets in the potting medium at the beginning of the growing season. 

We recommend using the water-soluble fertilizer as it is easy to apply. With water-soluble fertilizers, it is also easy to control the amounts, not to mention that it can also be used on various plants.

You can also apply the feed every week; however, it should be diluted to quarter-strength. After several weeks of using water-soluble fertilizer weekly, you should flush off the nutrients buildup. Set aside one week during which you can irrigate the Oncidium orchid with fertilizer-free water. Do not over-fertilize the plant and also make sure you are not spraying the leaves to avoid burning your Oncidium orchid.

– Pruning Requirements

Clean and disinfect a sharp pair of scissors or a gardening shear with rubbing alcohol or soapy, warm water to remove any bacteria or fungi. Prune the stem of the flower to achieve second flowering although they usually bloom once. You should wait for the Oncidium orchid to stop blooming and the flowers will naturally fall off before you cut the dead stem.

You should also trim the dead, diseased, and yellow foliage to encourage healthy growth. Do not cut through the infected yellow tissues because you may shock the plant with extensive wounds. Do incisions so that you may not cause more harm than good.

You can trim the pseudobulbs of the Oncidium orchid before flowering to reduce competition for space.

 

Propagation

Propagating the Oncidium orchid can be done using keikis, seeds, and basal offsets.

– Seeds

Seeds have high chances of failure as they may fail to germinate. You should also be patient enough if you are using seeds as they germinate after three months. The orchid seedling can be transferred to a permanent pot after nine months when it is about two inches tall.

You can use other fast methods to propagate your Oncidium orchid and then use seeds later to experiment. The seeds require too much attention and highly controlled growing conditions. A rare number of gardeners use this method.

– Keikis Cuttings

Keikis are small offsets that develop on the Oncidium orchid’s flowering stalk. They grow on the non-flowering nodes and develop roots while still attached to the old Oncidium orchid. Cut the keiki when the roots are now at least two inches long. You should cut the stem about two inches above and below the node.

Place your Oncidium orchid plantlet in a pot with fir bark. Cover the bottom half of your keiki and place it in an environment with high humidity. The spot should also provide bright, dappled light. Start to parent the new plant the same way you would for the old Oncidium orchid.

– Basal Offsets

Propagate your tropical plants between spring and summer. The mature offsets should be one-third of the mother plant’s height and have a couple of roots. Uproot the old plant and remove the potting medium to enhance a grip. Place your hand close to the nodal junction between the offset and the old plant.

Gently snap the offset by pushing it down and carefully separate the roots so that you don’t damage them. Plant the offset in a pot with orchid bark and keep it moist until it’s established. You can then start to care for the new plant the same way as the mother Oncidium.

Problems

Like any other orchids, the Oncidiums can be affected by a variety of pests and diseases. You should be able to quickly identify each problem using the visible symptoms so that you can provide the correct treatment for your orchid.

– Root Rot

If your Oncidium orchid stays in soaked soil for prolonged periods, it can be infected with root rot. If the substrate is not draining water, waterlogging may occur and cause the development of fungi. Also, make sure the orchid pots have drain holes to avoid overwatering.

The infected plant will have yellow leaves. The disease can also cause stunted growth and you may see rotten Oncidium orchid’s pseudobulbs. Other signs of root rot are brown, mushy roots and an unpleasant odor.

Isolate the infected Oncidium orchid and trim the affected parts. Then, use fungicides to control the disease. Drench the roots with the fungicide and disinfect the spot where the plant was using the bleach solution. Heavily infected Oncidium orchid cannot be treated so you should destroy it.

– Botrytis Petal Blight

The Botrytis petal blight can be a result of misting and very high humidity levels. Make sure the room is well-ventilated when misting or increasing humidity levels so that excess moisture can evaporate. Do not allow the Oncidium orchid’s foliage to stay wet for long.

Brown to black spots on the petals is a symptom of botrytis petal infection. The disease is easily transmitted by flowers. So, once you notice the infection, remove the flowers or you can cut the whole stalk. The Oncidiums have yellow flowers except for the Sharry baby, also called the chocolate orchid that has cocoa-scented brownish blooms.

Use fungicides to treat the disease. You can also prevent the disease by practicing good sanitation. Also, avoid overhead irrigation.

– Bacterial Soft and Brown Rot

The Oncidium orchid is commonly affected by brown rot and bacterial spot. Hot, moist environments are preferred by the pathogens that cause these diseases. The yellow halos on the soaked leaves are the signs of infection. The disease can rapidly spread to the pseudobulbs and roots of the plant and your Oncidium will produce an unpleasant odor.

The pathogens can cause serious harm to the Phalaenopsis orchid within two days. The pathogen can also cause black, sunken patches on the Dendrobium and translucent spots on the Vanda coerulea. Trim the affected parts of your Oncidium orchid and then commence treatment.

Use copper fungicides or hydrogen peroxide to control the pathogens that cause brown rot and bacterial spot. Do not use copper fungicides when the Oncidium orchid is flowering. Stop splashing water on the plant foliage when irrigating to prevent the development of pathogens that cause brown rot and bacterial spot.

– Scales

Scales are minute pests that you may need a microscope for you to see them. The pests suck the Oncidium orchid’s juice from the leaves, stems, and any new growths. You can easily identify their presence when you touch the leaves or stems and find a sticky substance. The scales excrete honeydew as they feed.

Yellowing leaves can be a sign of scales infection. Separate the affected plant from all other healthy ones and trim the infested leaves and stems. Use Neem oil, insecticidal soap, rubbing alcohol, and other insecticides that contain azadirachtin to kill the scales.

– Spider Mites

Spider mites are common in many orchids. They draw the sap from the plant’s leaves. Spider mites hide on the underside of the leaf so it may be difficult to identify them. You can prevent the infection by increasing the humidity levels and making sure your Oncidium orchid is free from dust.

Treat the infected plant with the organic pesticides that we mentioned for scale.

– Thrips

Like other common pests, thrips are also sap-sucking insects. Thrips move in groups and you can find them in different colors like black, yellow, or brown. These pests feast on the plant’s stem, petals, leaves, and flowers. The thrips bore some holes and lay eggs inside the Oncidium orchid’s stems and leaves.

You can use yellow sticky traps to catch and destroy thrips. Organic pesticides like Neem oil are also effective in killing these pests.

– Toxicity

The Oncidium orchid is not toxic but can cause nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting if ingested in large quantities. Keep the plant away from pets and kids.

Oncidium Orchid

Conclusion

You learned all the crucial tips on how to maintain the Oncidium orchid. Here is a summary of the main ideas.

  • The Oncidium orchid prefers moderate humidity levels of 50 to 75 percent.
  • The plant thrives well in environments with temperatures that are between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit but can tolerate up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • You can propagate the Oncidium orchid using basal offsets, seeds, and keikis.
  • Apply fertilizers with more nitrogen during the Oncidium orchid’s growing season.
  • Water your Oncidium orchid once or twice weekly in summer and reduce the watering in winter.

Get your Oncidium orchid variety as soon as possible. Start the fantastic journey now and make your house outstanding with these beauties!

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