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Mary Jo’s Orchid Corner – Oncidium

Mary Jo has been growing orchids for over 14 years, and in this column, she will share some of her wisdom and experiences.

Phalaenopsis (phals), Paphiopedilum (paphs) and Oncidiums (onc) are varieties that Mary Jo finds most easy to grow in the home. These hybrids are usually considered “beginner orchids,” largely because they will re-bloom under the conditions that most windowsill growers can offer. They require less light, about the same as for African violets, and will adapt to the humidity levels that are present in most homes.

Orchids can be grown on a tray of pebbles with water, which prevents the pots from sitting directly in the water while providing needed humidity. Orchids like to be kept warm during the day and a little cooler at night. It’s true that watering orchids does seem to give those unfamiliar with growing orchids the most trouble. Mary Jo waters her orchids once a week. During the summer, they get watered every five days. Basically, the hotter the temperature, the more water they need, and the colder it is, the opposite holds true. It’s all simply a matter of practice.

As your interests grow and you want to acquire more specialized orchids, Mary Jo highly recommends buying from these three fabulous growers:, and

A great resource for Orchid information is the “American Orchid Society (AOS)”and their website is:

For detailed information on Oncidiums (light, fertilizer, water, temperature, humidity) click on the following link to see a PDF file known as a culture sheet. This page will supply you with all of the basic requirements for growing Oncidiums: