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October 2021 - Oncidiinae

October 2021 - Oncidiinae


Welcome back!

This year is going to be remembered for the rest of our lives as the year of trouble and turmoil. Yet, on the bright side, your orchids should be looking and growing better what with all those hours of care and attention you were able to give them with no other pressures to take your time. You will be up to date with your repotting if the number of bags of bark, fern fibre and sphagnum moss we have sent out lately is any indication from our customers. If you haven’t got all your necessary supplies, go online to our shop and check out the accessories category.

As spring approaches don’t forget to increase your fertiliser frequency. Here in Auckland we have had almost no Orchid shows with very little opportunities for fellow Auckland orchid growers to get their orchid fix. Whilst we have been able to have a small shop front presence at Level 3, once we move to “Stage Two” we will be able to open our full showroom and have our own orchid show together with all our orchid friends.

During lockdown we have carried on growing many new varieties of orchids and can offer a great new selection of plants to tempt you filling all that extra space. Our plans include (but delayed, of course) a new website (almost able to talk to you, the customer) and to get rid of all those annoying glitches we often have, and new staff to help Susan with customer relations through social media, etc.

Over the last 12 months we have worked very hard on producing a huge range of Cymbidium seedlings as there doesn’t seem to be many available. Also, lots of new Cattleyas, Odontoglossums, Dendrobiums, Sarcochilus, Zygopetalums and lots of new species as well as plenty of other orchids, Hoyas and a few house plants.

I hope to see you soon.

Some of our new releases


 Now that spring has sprung and the weather is beginning to warm up we have to consider the changing environments our plants are in – stronger light, longer daylight hours, etc. It is time to consider moving plants that have been sheltered from the cold to cooler positions allowing for the warming temperatures. Also consider moving plants that have been in brighter light over winter when the sun has not been that strong to positions where they are protected from the growing intensity of the sunʼs rays.

Another consideration is the plantsʼ individual watering regimes. With the warmer weather and longer daylight hours your plants will be photosynthesising more and therefore require an increased frequency of watering. Remember, you are primarily looking after your plantʼs root system when watering and feeding. If you have your plant positioned in the correct light and temperature conditions, when you look after the root systemʼs needs, the roots will look after the rest of the plantʼs needs.
Just one last tip, observation is key. Look for signs that your plant is unhappy and is not carrying pests and diseases. Identify and treat as quickly as possible.


We would like to specially thank you for your support during the latest lockdown. We received quite a large number of orders and we greatly appreciate them in light of the lack of sales from our shop and the orchid shows. Because we were unable to send out any orders whilst we were stuck at Level 4, (everything was considered non-essential items) we had a mammoth task ahead of us trying to get all these orders out once we moved to Level 3. Resources were pulled in from other departments so that we could get as many orders out in as quick a time as possible. We can now say that we are up to date. We thank you for your patience as we worked through this issue.

Some more of our new releases:


Oncidiinae, traditionally were Odontoglossums, Oncidiums and intergenerics (see below) Odontoglossum means toothed tongue. (Greek) They were very much in fashion at the end of the 19th century, with intrepid explorers sent to South America to plunder as many plants as they could find for the orchid enthusiasts of the era that could not get enough of them. Sadly most did not survive the trip back to England and now they are scarce in the wild. They have recently become more popular again but who knows the amount of fine genetic material that was lost forever by the greed of a few growers. There are a 100 or so species which originate from the mountainous regions of Central America to the northern parts of South America. The plants will hybridize freely, with many crossings having been made with other related genera such as Oncidium, Miltonia, Brassia, Cochlioda and Rhynchostele. Many intergeneric hybrids have been made, which has contributed to their rising popularity, and breeding with Oncidiums has made the plants more tolerant to varying cultural conditions.  

An interesting note, thereʼs recently been lots of taxonomic changes made with the Odontoglossum/Oncidium family of orchids, for example, Odontoglossum crispum is now called Onc alexandrae, Odm pescatorei is now known as Onc nobile & some of the Oncidiums have moved to the Gomesa family. It does get a bit confusing for us all. Changes are still continuing to happen and we have started changing our plant labelling to reflect these changes. The RHS recognises this and will receive registration forms showing the old taxons but will register them under the new names.

Popular Intergeneric hybrids include:  
Odontocidium – Odontoglossum x Oncidium (Odcdm) (now mostly Oncidium)
Odontioda – Odontoglossum x Cochlioda (Oda) (Now mostly Oncidium) Wilsonara – Odontioda x Oncidium (Wils) (Now Oncidium or Oncostele) Odontonia – Odontoglossum x Miltonia (Odtna) (Now Rhynchonia or Miltonidium) Miltonidium – Miltonia x Oncidium (Mtdm)
Beallara - Oncidium x Miltonia x Brassia (Now mostly Aliceara)
Dancing Ladies e.g. flexuosum, Sweet Sugar (now Gomesa)

Now you see why it’s driving us nuts with all the name changes. Sigh….


Oncidiums are another orchid which will grow alongside your Cymbidiums. Generally, the culture of these plants is the same – small bark for small plants, and larger grades of bark for the larger plants. Water regularly every week with Tuckers Growing or Flowering Fertilizers. 

Some plants, especially the varicosum or Dancing lady type, have the bulbs are joined together by a longish rhizome, and this can have the habit of each new bulb growing upwards. This gives the indication that these Oncidiums love to climb, either out of the pots or on slabs. Some growers are extremely successful with slab culture for Oncidiums and create magnificent displays. Our best effort has been with Onc flexuosum, grown on a slab for over 20 years and it flowers every year with over 20-30 stems and hundreds of flowers. It grows outdoors hanging on a plum tree and gets a little fertilizer now and again. 

Keep the Twinkle types in small pots; they will flower in 7cm tubes in No 2 bark. Repot as the plant grows, but it will remain compact and flower its heart out.  
Flowering times of Oncidiums are typical of other Odont alliance plants. When the growth matures, it flowers at any time of the year – sometimes several times a year.

Light: Oncidiums must be given plenty of light or flowering will be inhibited. Leaf colour should be light green and sometimes, may even have a pinkish tinge.  
Watering: Oncidiums love it when there is a rapid alternation of wet and dry conditions. For this reason they often do well grown on slabs where they can be watered daily and dry rapidly. Most Oncidiums require a short rest period after flowering. 

Feeding: They are not heavy feeders, but benefit from a weekly liquid feed of Tuckers Flowering Orchid food when they are growing rapidly. No feed is required during their rest phase. Ventilation and Humidity: They like about 60% humidity and constantly moving air which quickly dries out their roots and prevents spotting of the flowers and leaves.  

Temperature: Most will do very well in the intermediate greenhouse. A minimum night temperature of 12oC is average. 

Repotting: Perforated plastic pots or clay pots are ideal as the roots can dry quickly. Bark mixes are usually satisfactory and keep the pots on the small side. Repotting can be yearly or every second year. 

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