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oncidium Photo Credit: www.OrchidPlants.info


'Dancing Ladies' is the nickname for oncidiums which, as you can see, truly resemble little women with long full skirts and bonnets.

This little gem is an equitant hybrid, potted in a 2 inch clay pot. The plant itself is about 2 inches tall, but produces several spikes over a foot long with about a dozen delightful dancing ladies.

Equitants provide lots of color in a very small space and require a minimum of care. Lots of water and occasional fertilizer during the growing season - less after growth matures. We have an assortment of these in various shades of white, pink, red and yellow. All are either spotted or banded with other contrasting colors. They can always be counted on to bloom with abandon over several weeks in the spring and will sometimes re bloom out of season.

Equitants have a very fine and delicate root structure. When the plant outgrows its container or the potting medium starts to break down, repot with as little disturbance to the roots as possible. Tap the plant out of its pot (or run a knife around the inside edges of the pot) and shake off any loose medium. Pot on to the next pot size with a mixture consisting of equal amounts fine grade lava rock, charcoal and tree fern. Oncidiums like to breathe! We use clay pots to avoid effects of over watering.

There are about 750 different species of oncidium which vary widely in appearance and cultural needs. Most, but not all, require filtered sunlight somewhat less intense than cattleyas and slightly dryer conditions during the cooler months. oncidium

One that is always a show stopper is the oncidium species 'sphacelatum'. It has rather sturdy 4 to 6 inch long oval-shaped pseudobulbs topped by two long thin leaves. After its resting period in spring, one or more inflorescences arise from the base of each bulb and can attain a length of 5 feet. We keep ours in a wire basket, suspended from the greenhouse rafters where the cascading flower spikes display a spectacular golden yellow shower of blossoms. This plant also does well when summered outdoors either in a screened area or suspended from a tree limb.

Many new hybrids of sphacelatum and other oncidium species have been introduced by cross-breeding, especially with odontoglossum, to produce smaller more compact plants with larger blooms of heavy substance. These are well worth pursuing and growing and will reward you with unusual brightly colored orchid flowers.
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