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How to Grow: Oncidium Orchid Care

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

General Information

The Oncidium family is very large and includes many flower varieties. The most common flower variety is often referred to as the "Dancing Lady". Oncidiums are popular indoor and florist orchids for a very good reason, their large sprays of flowers often sag with dozens of blooms. They have been freely hybridized. There are actually several hundred recognized oncidium species, but the naming is not stable, so there is considerable flux as experts reclassify plants.

Oncidium orchids are among the most diverse orchids in the world. One of the most famous cultivars is Oncidium kramerianum, originally from Colombia and Ecuador. This one is called the “butterfly orchid” because of its golden-yellow flowers with brown freckles. Another popular cultivar is Oncidium known as “Sharry Baby.” Oncidiums may originate anywhere from sea level in the tropics to the high elevations of the Andes. This makes cultural generalizations hard. So it is prime to know the Natural Habitat of your Oncidium.

They are often described as temperamental and difficult to grow. However, with proper care, it’s possible to grow them relatively easily. It’s important to know what to do and what NOT to do in order to successfully grow these beautiful orchids. This instruction sheet deals with Oncidium types that have thin leaves, pseudobulbs, and branching sprays of bloom.

Light Requirements

Oncidium orchids are specific when it comes to light requirements. It depends on their growth stage as well as the time of day and season. When they are first starting to grow and blossom, they need direct sunlight for several hours per day. Once they start to blossom and give flowers, it’s important to move your orchid to a cooler place without direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can actually burn blossoms. Generally speaking, it’s best to keep your orchid in a semi-shady to semi-sunny environment.