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Orchids are as easy as A - B - C!

Always wait until the bark or moss is completely dry before watering.

Be sure to keep your orchid out of direct sunlight.

Confidence that you will be successful! orchids are easy to care for.

The Oncidium genus is very diverse and includes many orchids from widely varying habitats with different cultural needs.  This genus originates in the New World, from southern Mexico to tropical South America and even the Caribbean. Oncidium flowers resemble flamenco dancers with the wide ruffled skirt. Sometimes the flowers are called dancing ladies. Because of the great variety, these plants can be small or large, the flowers can be red, pink, purple, yellow or white or any combination of these colors.  Leaf texture and shape also vary significantly from smooth and thin to thick and leathery.

oncidiumLight

Oncidiums prefer bright light.  If your plant is kept inside, make sure that is has a good light source. An eastern, western or southern exposure is ideal. A plant that has the adequate amount of light will have bright green foliage. If the leaves are dark green, it is receiving too little light, while if the leaves have a reddish color this can be an indication of too much light.

Temperature

Oncidiums like night time temperatures between 55-60 F. During the day they like it to be between 75-80 F.

Oncidiums can withstand temperatures up to 90-95 F.   It  is important to remember that if the temperatures gets high, you should increase the humidity, water and air circulation around the plant.

Water

This element is the one that causes the most confusion among orchid lovers. Over watering is the number one killer of orchids.  Oncidiums need to moderately dry out before watering. Oncidiums have water storage bulbs; therefore they do not need to be watered as often as the Phalaenopsis.

Frequency of watering depends on the climate and potting medium.  During the winter months the plant can be watered less, while during the summer months the frequency of watering will naturally increase.

The quality of the water used is also of some importance.  Orchids prefer rainwater; they really do not like water that has a lot of chemicals, such as chlorine or salt from water softeners. If your water is heavily treated, you might consider buying some distilled or purified water, although catching your own rainwater can be fun and will give you a great sense of satisfaction!

Water your plant early in the day and at the base of the plant to prevent moisture from settling on the plant over night.  This will lead to root rot, crown rot and other diseases.

Furniture friendly pots, those without drainage, are designed to protect your furniture from moisture and soil.  However, these pots require close monitoring when it comes to watering your orchid. A simple and effective approach is to “water” your plant by placing about 5 ice cubes on the bark about once a week.

Humidity

Oncidiums need 55% to 75% humidity. This element works in conjunction with the other care elements mentioned. If the temperature is hot and dry, you might need to place the orchids on a tray with gravel that has water on the bottom. Never let the pots sit in water as this will cause root rot. On days of high humidity make sure there is good air circulation around your plants. Do not expose the plant to cold drafts.

Feeding

Orchids flower best and are at their healthiest when fertilized on a regular basis during their active growing season. Use a well balanced formulation such as 10-10-10 or a ratio that is similar. It is common practice to feed twice a month.

These numbers correspond to the ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the fertilizer. These elements are responsible for vegetative growth, flower development and flower production, respectively.

Repotting

These orchids should be repotted about every 24 months. It all depends on how much the growing media has decomposed. It is recommended that they are repotted after the flowing is completed. You may use fine to medium orchid bark.  When transferring the plant be very careful not to damage any part of the plant, especially the delicate new roots. In selecting the correct pot you want to make sure that it has adequate drainage and aeration.

To repot, remove the old medium from the roots, trim soft, rotted roots. Spread the remaining roots over a couple of cups of medium in the bottom of a new pot. Fill the rest of the pot with medium, anchoring the plant with orchid pins if necessary. Allow for high humidity conditions after repotting. Mist as needed. Regular watering should resume after you see new roots forming.

Costa Farms is the largest producer of indoor plants in North America and the second largest in the world. Founded in 1961 by Jose Costa, the third-generation family business specializes in foliage and bedding plants with operations domestically in South Florida, North Carolina, and abroad in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. Visit: www.costafarms.com.


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