Growing Odontoglossum Orchids

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Growing Odontoglossum Orchids

Cool growing orchids need a minimum of 7C - 10C (45 - 50F) during the winter and a maximum of 24C (75F) during the summer

Odontoglossum's and similar types - butterfly orchid

This type of orchid comes in such a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours you must be able to find a spot for one or two in your house. The flowers of this type of orchid are usually formed many on a flowering spike and are almost ready made flower sprays. Some but not all are highly fragrant too. 

Oncidium Sharry Baby 'White Flash' As with Cymbidiums they don't like draughts of either hot or cold air but do like a good air circulation. Keep these orchids in at a minimum of 10C (50F) during the winter months rising to no more than 20C (68F) during the summer. Applying a fine mist with a hand sprayer once a week is also beneficial as they do like a little more humidity than Cymbidiums. Another way of providing this humidity is to stand the plant pot on a tray of wet pebbles or stones, but not standing the pot in water as DEATH will certainly be the result.

Left: Oncidium Sharry Baby 'White Flash'

Light requirements

Odontoglossum's are similar to Cymbidiums and like high levels of sunlight but not directly otherwise the leaves will scorch. You can keep Odontoglossum's outside during the summer months in a similar position to that required by Cymbidiums but less exposure to wind otherwise they may blow over as they are a much lighter plant. During the winter keep your plants in the brightest position you have but again keep out of the direct rays of the sun otherwise the leaves may get scorched.

Right: Beallara City Glasgow 'Langley Pride'

Beallara City Glasgow 'Langley Pride'
Odontoglossum 'Starlight'

Watering requirements

These plants have thin(ish) roots which like being kept evenly moist all year round.  During the summer months they can be watered a couple of times a week in warm weather, less often if it's cooler. Don't be tempted to give a 'little drink' to your plant because it is damp and not quite dry as they don't like it - give it a couple more days and give them a good flush through. This also helps to flush out any unused plant food. Water during the winter at 10 - 14 day intervals and water them by flushing the pot through with tepid water - not cold from outside or the tap as this will shock the roots.

Left: Odontoglossum 'Starlight'

Below: Beallara Tahoma 'Glacier Green'

Feeding requirements

During the winter months feed the plant no more than once a month otherwise the roots may be burns by unused plant food. From spring mid summer feed them every 2nd or 3rd watering with a high nitrogen plant food which will encourage strong growth and big pseudo bulbs to develop, from mid summer through to the following spring use a high potash feed to harden the pseudo bulbs and encourage more blooms.- Dilute the plant food to quarter the recommendation your pack suggests.

Beallara Tahoma 'Glacier Green'

Re-potting schedule

Repotting Odontoglossum's should be done in the spring annually as the new growth has started, wait until the new emerging growths are approximately 2 - 3 inches high and use an well drained compost such as medium grade bark chippings. New roots will quickly grow to take advantage of the fresh compost. Splitting the plants can also be undertaken at this time of year and each division should have at least one new growth and two back bulbs. See Division for instructions.

Here's some useful equipment you may need with summer on the horizon
Thermometers | Thermostats | Humidity Gauges

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