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The Dancing Lady Orchids – If you’ve mastered the art of cultivating orchids such as phaelanopsis and dendrobiums, you may be ready to go on to more difficult kinds such as oncidium orchids, which are referred to as “Dancing Ladies” in the orchid community. These orchids are more finicky about their light, temperature, and watering needs, so do your homework before attempting to grow them. To get you started, here are some fundamentals.
A large number of tiny blooms are produced at the same time by the majority of oncidium orchid species, creating a magnificent display that lasts for many weeks. The large-lipped blooms are available in a variety of colors, including yellow, white, red, pink, green, and brown.
The flowers differ considerably in appearance, but they always have one thing in common: the big bottom petal, known as a lip, is always perpendicular to the side winged petals.
Oncidium orchids are known as “Dancing Lady Orchids” because of the unique form of their flowers, which are borne on numerously branching stalks. Oncidiums flutter in the wind, giving them the appearance of “dancing.”
In the wild, nearly all Oncidium orchids (pronounced on-sid-ee-um) are epiphytes, meaning that they grow on tree branches where their deep roots help them to stay put and secure their position. They like open, free-flowing air, similar to that found in their natural environments. Place them in an area where they will have good air circulation, away from heat or air conditioning vents.
Numerous species are found in tropical and subtropical environments, including the high Andes highlands, the humid forests of Jamaica, and the tropical river valleys of Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. They are endemic to tropical and subtropical ecosystems.
The one thing that all of these swaying bouquets of flowers have in common is a fondness for dampness. If the relative humidity falls below 50%, a pebble tray or a room humidifier may be used to raise the moisture content of the air in the space. Plants that are grouped together assist in regulating the humidity in the area surrounding them. You may spray the foliage as much as you like; they will not be bothered.
Facts about Oncidium the Dancing Lady Orchid
Oncidium orchids are New World orchids that may be found in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States, with one species thriving in Florida’s southernmost state. Over 300 species of oncidiums exist, but the most popular for home gardeners are the yellow or pink-flowered variants known as “Dancing Lady,” which are available in a variety of colors. These are typically big plants with long and densely packed leaves that grow in abundance.
Late summer or early autumn is the best time to see them bloom, with hundreds of flowers on many stalks that may persist for weeks or even months. They undergo a growth cycle after they have finished flowering, during which they produce new leaves. They go into dormancy in the early summer as they prepare to blossom once again in the fall.
The majority of oncidiums you’ll come across are hybrids, resulting from the crossbreeding of multiple species. These complex hybrids outperform their species counterparts in terms of flower production, bloom frequency, and growth rate. Oncidium hybrids are available in a wide range of colors and shapes. O. varicosum is a popular plant that produces a shower of brilliant, sunny flowers in the spring and summer.
The Butterfly Orchid (Oncidium papilio), which is shown on the right, is a kind of orchid. From spring through fall, this is one of the rare orchids that blooms in succession, one flower at a time, making it one of the most unusual orchids. What’s not to like about a plant that has vibrant colors and is simple to grow?
In addition to a profusion of red and white, pleasantly fragrant blooms, the ‘Sharry Baby’ orchid is a good choice for novices because of its ease of care.
The orchids known as Dancing Lady orchids like warm temperatures and low humidity. During the day, they like temperatures no lower than 80 degrees Fahrenheit and no less than 40% humidity. Temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit are tolerable throughout the night for them.
You may find it difficult to maintain the necessary temperatures and humidity levels throughout the winter months in certain climates without the use of a greenhouse. Growing orchids in this family may be possible if you can maintain oncidiums in a warm environment and give additional humidity (placing the pot on a shallow tray filled with stones and water helps).
Oncidiums are more tolerant to direct sunlight than some other orchid species. They work nicely in either east or west facing windows, but it doesn’t hurt to soften the light a little with a sheer curtain in either direction as well. Dancing ladies orchids have medium-green foliage; those with dark green leaves suggest that they are not receiving enough sunlight.
Watering oncidiums correctly may be a challenge at times. They are very vulnerable to root rot, and as with other orchids, they should never be let to remain in water for an extended period of time. Even better is to let the potting mix dry out about halfway down the container before watering it again. Introduce yourself to the mix using your finger or a wooden popsicle stick. If it still feels moist after a few days, wait a little longer. Plants’ development cycles and the time of year during which they are watered will determine how often they need be watered.
Fertilizing and Potting
Orchids need potting medium that drains quickly. Orchid mixtures consisting of bark, sphagnum moss, and other loose fillers are excellent for displaying orchids in containers. You should not use conventional potting soil or dirt from your garden for this project. Make sure the pot has holes in it so that the water can drain properly. Once or twice a month, apply a little fertilizer to the plants. When growing orchids, it is preferable to underfeed rather than overfeed.
Care & Maintenance
Allow the blooms to naturally fall to the ground as they begin to wilt. Don’t remove the flower spike until it is fully brown and dried on the bottom and sides. Oncidiums like to be relatively pot-bound, although they may need re-potting every couple of years if they are grown in a container. This necessitates the use of caution in order to avoid damaging the roots. Before re-potting, do an online search to locate a website that will guide you through the procedure.
Oncidium grows very rapidly, and it may be necessary to repot it every other year or so. Finding a sunny location to place the planters is an important part of growing Oncidium orchids. Every day, these light-loving plants need anything from one to six hours of direct sunshine. Consider how thick and fleshy the leaves of your plant are to decide how much light it requires; plants with thicker, fleshier leaves need more light, while plants with thinner leaves may survive on less.