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Care Instructions for an Orchid from the Oncidium Family

These care instructions are written specifically for our oncidium plants.  Other growers may have different care requirements for their orchids based on how they have grown their plants.  But if you have a Brennan’s Orchids oncidium, these rules will help you keep it happy and robust.

Rule No. 1:  If your oncidium is planted in a bark blend, let the planting mix dry a quarter to a third of the way down into the pot between waterings.  If it is potted in moss, pinch the top of the mix and water when the top is completely dry to the touch. Take the pot to the sink and water from the top with tepid water until water is pouring out the drainage holes.  Let the plant stand and drain thoroughly.  In dry or hot weather, mist your plant’s leaves in the morning.  Do not mist in the evening or on cloudy days, which could invite bacterial growth.

Rule No. 2:  Give the plant the proper light.  Morning or afternoon light is best.  That means an East, West, or shaded South-facing window.  Some oncidium can take very bright light and lots of it but I would still avoid the harshest “skin cancer” hours.

Rule No. 3:  Regular meals all year long, please.  Your orchid does not go dormant.  When not full of buds and blossoms, your orchid is growing roots, leaves, and pseudobulbs so it will have the energy to put out more blooms the next cycle.  Feed your plant every other watering with a balanced (20-20-20) plant fertilizer mixed at ½ strength or a balanced orchid fertilizer.

Rule No. 4:  Your plant is potted in either a bark blend or a moss blend.  Change the potting mix every year in the spring.  Increase the pot size only when necessary to fit the new root growth into the pot and do so by the smallest increment possible.  Moisten the mix thoroughly prior to use.  Pot the plant off-center in the pot to leave lots of room for more pseudobulbs to grow.  Pot the plant so that the mix is firm but still airy.

Rule No. 5:  Your plant will bloom only once on each stem.  After it finishes blooming, let the plant draw the nutrients back out of the stem before you cut it off.  You’ll know that it’s time to remove it when it is brown and dry.