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Your Guide To Simple Oncidium Orchid Care

Oncidium encompasses about 400 species of orchids with sizes and shapes that vary greatly. They are generally found in tropical climates. This organism is a great choice for a beginner. With proper care it develops quickly and will produce beautiful blooms.

Here are Some Basic Facts




The Oncidium genus contains a diverse assortment of plants. Leaves may be thin and shaped like pencils in the rat-tail variety or thick and leathery in the mule-ear type. Larger plants produce dramatic blooms, while the smaller selections have dainty charming flowers. In general, the plants grow to a height of 6-12 inches.

This plant is a sympodial orchid. Potted sympodials grow along their growing media, sometimes with horizontal stems. Plant growth can resemble fingers across the surface of the media, splitting and creating multiple buds and flowers. If mounted, one of these will grow in any direction.

Potting Needs

Bark based potting mixes are best for these types of plants. As with others, proper watering is the key to growing a robust plant. Choose an inorganic media to add to your bark, such as pearlite, to ensure appropriate drainage.

Clay or plastic pots may be used. Check the surface of the growing media prior to adding water when using plastic containers. Delay watering if the media is still slightly moist. Plastic pots are nonporous and hold on to water. Adequate drainage holes or a mesh bottom will help you prevent over watering. Clay or terra cotta pots are porous and will allow media to dry efficiently. Watch for salt buildup from hard water or fertilizers in these pots as this can cause extensive root damage. It will appear white on the edges of the pot or across the top of your growing media.

While Oncidium thrive in containers, they also adapt well to mounting on well washed wood or tree fern.

Temperature and Light

Oncidium grow best in intermediate conditions and can reap the benefits of being placed outside in the summer. In warmer climates, they can flourish outside all year long. Inside, several hours of direct or indirect sunlight will promote healthy growth. Monitor the leaves of your Oncidium for evidence of too much or too little light and adjust accordingly.

Species and Hybrids

Oncidium Ampliatum

– has a dramatic foliage display of 15 inch long leaves. Long sprays of diminutive yellow flowers bloom in the spring. This species grows well indoors and prefers intermediate to warm temperatures.

Oncidium Carthagenense

– is a mule-ear Oncidium. The large, thick leaves can be 6-24 inches in length. Tiny ruffled purple and white flowers bloom in summer.

Oncidium Cheirophorums

– only grows to 4 inches tall. Thin, short leaves accent the vivid yellow fragrant blossoms that grow in clusters. This plant blooms in fall and winter.

Oncidium Gower Ramsey hybrid

– is a good choice for gardeners new to growing orchids. Easy to grow on a sunny windowsill, this plant is not picky about its growing medium. This variety will produce many tiny dazzling yellow flowers, even on young plants.

Oncidium Sharry Baby

– has a distinctly unique fragrance. It smells like white chocolate! This hybrid grows well and produces many blooms.

Whatever variety you choose; these fragrant beauties will be stunning when you give them exactly what they need.