Oncidium spp. (syn. Odontoglossum)
Are you up for a rising problem? Have you ever mastered the artwork of elevating Phalaenopsis orchids? Then it’s time to take a look at Odontoglossum orchids, often known as tiger orchids.
Native to excessive altitudes within the Andes in South America, these orchids are famend for his or her huge, vibrant blossoms that may final for months.
They’re additionally identified for being a bit difficult to develop as a result of they thrive in circumstances not usually present in most properties.
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Don’t let that intimidate you, although, it’s not inconceivable and picture how good you’ll really feel when your orchid is in full bloom in all its glory.
Moreover breeders have created a lot of adaptable hybrids and cultivars which might be a lot simpler to look after.
By the point you end this information, you’ll be an professional. Right here’s what we’ll go over to make that occur:
Earlier than we speak about methods to domesticate these orchids, we have to clear up some terminology.
I do know we frequently name them Odontoglossum, however that’s not fairly correct. They could be categorized that approach, however they won’t. Bizarre, proper? Let’s focus on.
What Are Odontoglossum or Oncidium Orchids?
Odontoglossum is a mouthful, so it helps to interrupt it down.
Odonto is Greek for tooth, and glossa is Greek for tongue. Put them collectively, and you’ve got “tooth-tongue.”
This can be a reference to the fleshy little lumps discovered on the higher floor of the lowermost petal, which is called the labellum.
Now that you recognize what the title means, you possibly can neglect about it.
Orchidists and botanists have been engaged for years in a fiery debate over methods to classify these vegetation. Effectively, fiery for botanists, which might be extra like a well mannered dialog backed by scientific analysis and glorious reasoning than an all-out argument.
For many years, many orchidists have been campaigning for the reclassification of the Odontoglossum genus.
Because the early 2000s and as just lately as 2016, the genus has been present process important reorganization. It was that Odontoglossum species and Oncidium species had been separate genera, regardless of the vegetation wanting comparable.
The previous grows in chilly areas at increased elevations, whereas the latter grows in hotter areas at decrease elevations.
Now, they’re all categorized collectively within the Oncidium genus, and people previously categorized as Odontoglossum are merely known as cool-weather or cool-growing Oncidium.
You may also see the brand new grouping known as the Odontoglossum alliance or the Oncidium alliance. The unique species within the Oncidium genus are known as lowland or warm-growing Oncidium.
It looks as if sellers haven’t caught up with the replace, so that you’ll typically discover these offered beneath their unique title, and lots of people proceed to confer with them that approach. Even some orchidists refuse to simply accept the reclassification.
These orchids are sympodial, which signifies that the expansion emerges from a horizontal rhizome within the soil relatively than a single vertical stem like a Phalaenopsis.
They’ve flat, oval pseudobulbs from which one to 3 leaves emerge. As you might need guessed, they will develop as terrestrial orchids, however they’re usually epiphytes.
The showy flowers, which could be white, pink, crimson, purple, or any mixture of these colours, usually emerge within the fall or winter, although a number of species bloom in spring. Most species have darkish speckling on the flowers, which might resemble the stripes on a tiger’s coat.
The blossoms are held on a flower stem that extends from the pseudobulbs, and every pseudobulb will kind only one flower stem.
On the high of the stem are a number of flowers, every with three sepals, two petals, and a column and lip on the heart. After the blossoms drop, that pseudobulb won’t ever flower once more, however new ones will kind to take its place.
When you’ve by no means heard of pseudobulbs earlier than, you possibly can be taught all about them in our information.
In a nutshell, a pseudobulb is a stem-like progress on the base of the plant that shops water and vitamins.
Cool-growing Oncidium orchids are usually between one to 4 ft tall, relying on the species, although there are extra compact hybrids obtainable.
Cultivation and Historical past
These vegetation develop indigenously throughout Central America and western South America from sea degree to properly over 8,000 ft.
They’re usually hardy in Zones 7 to 10, relying on the species.
The plant was first recognized by Westerners when German naturalist and explorer Friedrich Heinrich Alexander Baron von Humboldt discovered a specimen in Venezuela in 1799 that we now know as O. epidendroides.
It was despatched to England for identification, and plenty of different new species adopted, as they had been found by different explorers within the area.
The genus was named in 1816 by German botanist Karl Sigismund Kunth, who explored and studied the indigenous vegetation within the Americas.
In 1835, the primary Odontoglossum bloomed in England to a lot fanfare when a specimen from Guatemala of the species O. bictoniense burst forth. This species quickly turned a favourite amongst collectors and plant breeders.
Breeders and residential growers additionally targeted on O. cordatum, O. crispum, O. harryanum, O. pulchellum, O. rossii. Right this moment, many hybrids are cultivated from O. crispum and O. rossii.
It’s fully doable to propagate orchids from seed for those who’re adventurous. Our information explains the method.
Division can be technically doable, nevertheless it’s difficult and greatest left to these with a variety of expertise. Most of us will take the straightforward street and buy our first vegetation.
If you convey your plant residence, resist the urge to place it in a bigger container.
Over-potting is a fast method to kill tiger orchids as a result of they’re extraordinarily delicate to rising in an excessively massive pot, which might contribute to root rot.
If you convey yours residence, you possibly can depart it within the present container for an additional yr or two.
The right way to Develop Oncidium Orchids
As I discussed, these orchids have a popularity for being somewhat little bit of a problem to develop.
However, truthfully, for those who had been used to the proper local weather of perpetual spring, you’d in all probability be somewhat aggravated if somebody tried to make you reside anyplace much less idyllic.
The primary matter you’ll want to type out is location. Cool-weather Oncidium vegetation want shiny gentle, however they completely should keep cool, which could be tough as a result of typically brightly lit areas within the residence are additionally the warmest.
Keep away from west-facing home windows due to the quantity of warmth. East-facing home windows will work, as will south-facing home windows coated with light-filtering curtains – not sheer curtains – assuming you’re not in a extremely popular local weather.
In very heat climates, you’d be higher off preserving the plant away from any home windows and offering supplemental lighting as an alternative. Discover a develop bulb that’s low to medium gentle or one that’s dimmable, and place it about 36 inches away from the plant.
This full-spectrum develop bulb obtainable through Amazon has all the time labored properly for me and you’ll put it in a standard fixture so that you don’t have some ugly develop gentle hanging in your lounge or bed room.
These vegetation develop natively on the edges of forests in “shiny shade,” which can sound contradictory, however the shade beneath bushes subsequent to a meadow and the shade beneath bushes in the course of a forest is completely different.
Attempt to hold this in thoughts when selecting supplemental lighting or selecting a spot in your house.
As I’ve talked about, one of many foremost challenges of rising these orchids is that they require cool temperatures.
These vegetation ought to be saved constantly beneath 75°F. Wholesome vegetation can tolerate transient durations hotter than this, however not for lengthy.
At night time, temperatures ought to drop to round 55°F. Any hotter than this, the plant will in all probability not thrive.
Most species can tolerate temperatures a bit beneath this vary however will die in temperatures above 75°F. Additionally they can’t tolerate freezing temperatures, so you’ll want to hold the vegetation proper in that candy zone.
If you repot your orchid, word whether or not it’s an epiphyte or terrestrial.
Terrestrial varieties can develop in any unfastened, wealthy potting combine. Epiphytes should be potted in orchid bark. Pure bark will work, however a medium with somewhat charcoal, lava, perlite, and/or peat is best.
You’ll find a superb combine with moss, bark, perlite, and lava rock, obtainable from rePotme in mini, junior, and commonplace luggage through Amazon.
Orchid Potting Combine
No matter you employ, a medium with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8 is good, and most potting mixes might be on this vary until they specify in any other case.
With some orchids, you may get away with rising them in a normal pot, however you’ll want to use a slotted orchid pot with cold-weather Oncidium.
Be happy to position the pot inside a extra ornamental one, however a slotted container is crucial when rising delicate vegetation like these.
You may also choose to mount them on wooden, wire, or one thing comparable. In truth, I might advocate you mount your vegetation for those who’re conversant in this rising methodology.
It’s exhausting to overwater them this fashion, and it extra intently mimics their pure habitat. Your solely concern is preserving the substrate as moist as a well-wrung-out sponge.
Subsequent, we have to speak about water. These vegetation like a number of water, however the substrate should drain rapidly and totally.
Additionally they want good high quality water. That doesn’t imply you’ll want to purchase them the premium bottled stuff, although it wouldn’t harm, however don’t use municipal water.
You should utilize filtered water, rainwater, or purchase distilled water – ideally you need it to have a pH between 6.0 and 6.8.
The substrate ought to by no means be allowed to dry out, nevertheless it shouldn’t keep soggy and moist, both. Of their pure habitat, these orchids obtain constant moisture year-round.
As soon as the pseudobulbs begin to shrivel and wrinkle somewhat, they’re telling you they want moisture. You’ll be able to be taught extra about watering orchids in our information.
These orchids like a humidity degree of between 55 and 80 %. Plenty of properties are drier than this, so use a humidifier or hold vegetation within the lavatory if it has the precise gentle and temperature.
You may also group vegetation collectively to extend the ambient humidity round them.
Feed each different week in the course of the spring and summer season and weekly in the course of the winter. If you’re preserving your plant primarily in bark, it is going to want a stronger formulation than these grown in soil.
For a bark combine or soil, use one thing like a 3-1-2 NPK. For pure bark, use 6-2-4 or comparable.
Liquid Indoor Plant Fertilizer
Leaves and Soul makes a 3-1-2 meals for houseplants that you will discover in an eight-ounce bottle at Amazon.
- Develop in shiny, oblique gentle and funky temperatures of beneath 75°F in the course of the day and round 55°F at night time.
- Present humidity between 55 and 80 %.
- Develop in a bark or bark combine.
Pruning and Upkeep
Most new orchids you buy from the shop are available in a four- or five-inch pot. Depart your specimen on this for the primary yr.
Then, you’ll want to exchange the substrate yearly and repot into a bigger container when needed.
The perfect time to repot or change the substrate is within the spring or fall.
Take away the plant from its pot and gently knock out all the substrate. Study the roots and clip off any which might be mushy, damaged, or useless.
Maintain the roots within the new pot and gently fill in round them with recent substrate. Agency the substrate across the roots in order that they’re packed sufficient you could raise the plant by the stem, and the pot gained’t fall away.
If you begin to see a variety of roots popping out of the slots within the pot, this can be a sign that it’s time to go up a pot measurement.
When you’ve got the plant mounted, you will have to take away the outdated substrate yearly or two and substitute it, growing the scale of the bottom barely.
In case your plant is mounted, it is going to usually be in a moss or bark substrate that’s held along with mesh, string, or comparable. You will have to exchange this each few years because it breaks down, as properly.
It is advisable substitute the substrate periodically for potted vegetation, as properly, as a result of salts will construct up from municipal water and fertilizer, and the substrate will break down over time.
You don’t have to repot the orchid, simply take away the outdated substrate and substitute it with new.
Some species will rebloom commonly each 10 months or so, no matter what you do.
Others should be uncovered to temperatures about 10 levels decrease than regular for a month or so to encourage flowering. For extra ideas and the total run-down, take a look at our information.
Oncidium Hybrids and Species to Choose
As I discussed, there are a selection of recent cultivars and hybrids which might be a bit much less fussy than the species vegetation. Let’s have a look at a number of stand-outs.
If caring for Odontoglossum orchids feels overwhelming, search for O. x cambria hybrids.
They’re somewhat simpler to develop in that they gained’t quit the ghost for those who don’t hold their rising surroundings simply excellent.
Cambria is the title for varied hybrid crosses between vegetation within the former Cochlioda, the previous Miltonia, the previous Odontoglossum, and Oncidium genera.
Whereas they weren’t included within the unique hybrids, fashionable Cambrias can even embody vegetation within the Brassia genus.
Charles Vuylsteke, a grower in Lochristi, Belgium, bred the primary Cambria out of Cochlioda, Miltonia, and funky climate Oncidium in 1911. The ensuing shiny crimson and white flowered plant was named O. x vuylstekeara in honor of the breeder.
In contrast to different cool-weather Oncidium varieties, many of those hybrids bloom each 9 months relatively than yearly.
The looks of the vegetation could be very numerous – with a wide range of completely different leaf configurations and dimensions, and flower colours and sizes.
Some folks confer with any Oncidium alliance hybrids as Cambria, however now you recognize higher.
Equitant or O. x tolumnia orchids are smaller than your typical Oncidium alliance specimen.
They not often develop greater than eight inches tall and should by no means want something bigger than a four-inch pot.
The spring flower spike could be as much as 18 inches lengthy and are available in colours which might be uncommon for orchids reminiscent of lavender, orange, pink, brown, burgundy, white, cream, and yellow.
These orchids tolerate hotter temperatures – as much as the excessive 80s in the course of the day and mid-60s at night time.
O. nobile is a reasonably frequent species available on the market, and that’s certainly due to its flower stalks, which have clusters of as much as 100 extremely aromatic blooms.
They flower within the spring for weeks and weeks with blossoms in a variety of colours from white to deep purple or crimson.
Managing Pests and Illness
Regardless of their fussy popularity, these orchids aren’t notably troubled by pests.
You would possibly see aphids or spider mites. Each of those sap-suckers use their mouthparts to extract the sap of orchids and plenty of different houseplants.
Each could be eradicated by spraying them off with a robust stream of water after which treating vegetation with insecticidal cleaning soap.
The one illness to fret about is root rot. It may be brought on by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, nevertheless it’s often brought on by drowning the roots in an excessive amount of water.
Orchids are infamous for being vulnerable to root rot, and Oncidium species are much more so. You completely should make sure you don’t overwater, and it’s essential to develop your plant in a well-draining medium, like bark in a pot with drainage holes.
You also needs to you’ll want to commonly substitute the rising medium as a result of it is going to break down over time, lowering the quantity of oxygen that may attain the roots.
Be taught extra about potential orchid issues and methods to cope with them in our information.
Finest Makes use of for Oncidium Orchids
Most individuals choose to develop their orchids in pots, they usually look pretty that approach.
The long-lasting flowers and low-light tolerance make them excellent as a show on eating tables, bookshelves, espresso tables, and desks.
However in addition they develop properly mounted on one thing like wooden or mesh. Not solely does it make for an attention-grabbing show, nevertheless it reduces the prospect of the plant contracting root rot.
Fast Reference Rising Information
|Evergreen epiphytic or terrestrial sympodial orchid
|Bicolored, orange, pink, crimson, white, yellow/inexperienced
|Central and South America
|Low gentle for brief durations
|Hardiness (USDA Zones):
|Orchid bark or bark combine
|Winter or spring
|Vibrant, oblique gentle
|Time to Maturity:
|As much as 5 years
|Makes use of:
|Container-grown or mounted houseplant
|Identical depth as earlier container
|As much as 4 ft, relying on selection
|As much as 2 ft, relying on selection
|Oncidium (syn. Odontoglossum)
|Frequent Pests and Ailments:
|Aphids, spider mites; Root rot
|Blandum, constrictum, cirrhosum, gloriosum, harryanum, nobile, odoratum, tenuoides, tripudians, hybrids
The Orchid With Tooth
Odontoglossum, Oncidium, Oncidium alliance, tiger orchids – no matter you name them, they’re undeniably lovely vegetation with long-lasting flowers in placing colours.
Are you operating into any issues rising yours? Possibly having hassle encouraging it to rebloom? Tell us within the feedback and we’ll see if we will help.
Eager about extra details about rising orchids? In that case, have a learn of those guides subsequent: