How to care for the yellow dancing lady - Oncidesa Sweet Sugar orchid ... formerly known as Oncidium.
They're Dancing Ladies ....
You'll find Oncidesa Sweet Sugar orchid sold across the UK in the houseplant department. The native orchid comes originally from Central and South America though it can even be found growing in Florida. The hybrids that you'll find for sale in the UK will tolerate warm conditions and can be grown easily in the home or in the greenhouse.
Aerial Dancing ...
Each pseudobulb can produce up to two flowering stems. While each stem can have about 10 - 15 flowers. In its natural habitat Oncidesa Sweet Sugar orchid is a sympodial epiphyte.
It's a natural tree hugger which probably explains why the orchid is always trying to grow out of its pot!
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Care Instructions for Oncidesa Sweet Sugar Orchid
- The winter minimum night temperature should be 10°c (50°F).
- The winter day time temperature should be about 15°c (60°F) but keep the plant away from hot radiators and very dry air.
- The summer day time temperature should be steady at 25°c (75°F) and they really like a natural drop in temperature overnight.
Watering - if in doubt don't!
- Give a good water once a week - more often if the conditions are warmer and you notice that the compost is drying out quickly.
- If the new psuedo bulbs appear concertina-like it's a sign of lack of water or that the plant hasn't got a good enough root system to take up the water. The psuedo bulbs act like water reserves so the orchid can withstand a short period of dryness.
- Repot every other year or if there is no more room left in the pot for new psuedo bulbs to grow.
- Use a good orchid compost that is free draining.
- The roots are very thin so don't repot in a pot that's too big.
How to repot an Oncidium Orchid
- You'll need a 15 cm clear plastic orchid pot (affiliate link)
- Orchid Focus Repotting Mix 8 Litre compost (affiliate link)
- Orchid pruners (affiliate link)
- And the amazing Orchid Myst spray (affiliate link)
Orchid Myst spray is a weak feed and a revolutionary new way to provide orchids with all the necessary minerals and nutrients. It's a plant tonic, pest repellent, growth enhancer, and leaf conditioner all in one! However, some orchids need a stronger feed after a period of time. So if you are not happy with the results you can move on to one of the stronger feeds at the end of this post.
- They enjoy lots of light from a south facing window in dark short days of winter.
- During the summer months keep it shaded from the sun or place in a west, east or north facing window.
How long does it flower for?
- The flowers should last about 6 - 8 weeks if the conditions are cool and fresh.
How to look after it after it's finished flowering?
- Once it has finished flowering the old stem can be cut back to the leaf axil to keep the plant looking tidy as it won't flower again from this stem.
- New pseudo bulbs will grow and from those a new stem will appear as the bulb matures.
How to encourage new flowers?
- Once the orchid is in growth mode and shows a new shoot move it into a cooler room until the orchid starts to show a spike forming in the new stem. Then move the orchid back to it's warmer room again to encourage the flowers to grow.
- Give a high potash feed every 2 weeks in spring and summer. However, give the orchid a drink of plain water 4 days after feeding to wash away the salt residue from the feed.
- Feed only once a month in autumn/winter.
After selling so many different brands of orchid feed over the last 18 years I can say that these are the best feeds on the UK market:
Orchid Focus Grow (affiliate link) which has high levels of nitrogen, to encourage the growth of healthy shoots and leaves and contains no urea which can damage epiphytic orchids.
Orchid Focus Bloom (affiliate link) has enhanced levels of phosphorus and potassium to support and prolong heavy flowering. Contains high levels of humic and fulvic acids for increased soil fertility, healthy and abundant growth.
Orchid Ultra (affiliate link) which is a tonic that can be mixed with Orchid Bloom or Orchid Grow. Ultra is richly endowed with pure humic and fulvic acids to encourage healthy growth and heavy flowering.
If you are interested in houseplant care I have published some more blog posts:
How to care for Calathea crocata Tassmania Blooms – The Eternal Flame flower.
How to make a bromeliad flower - which also details how to water, feed, repot, and make an indoor bromeliad tree.