How to Grow Oncidium Orchids – Repotting and Care (Dancing Lady Orchids)

Today we’re looking at Oncidium orchids
and the group that’s called the Oncidium alliance for many of these are
hybridized we’re at Mount Beenak Orchids and Clive Halls is going to talk us
through repotting Oncidium orchids and then we’ll have a look at all of the
aftercare requirements that you need to know to grow these wonderful orchids
successfully. Okay today we’re going to look at repotting Oncidiums, so this is an
example here and these are an orchid that comes out of South America from
fairly high altitudes originally so they’re a cool growing orchid and they
come in a wide variety of colors that’s just one example there so we’ve put that
aside, we’ll look at repotting one of these today this plant as you can see
here hanging out over the edge of the pot roots hanging out there lots of old
leaf bracts, it’s a good cleanup so the first thing to do is to take it out of
the pot and make sure you keep the label you don’t lose it and give the pot a
really good squash as you go around to loosen all the roots up, also the plant
should have been watered before you start so that it’s not in a bone-dry
condition so we shake it out you can see the old root system is broken down
underneath the back bulbs there these are the back bulbs that have lost their
leaves these are the leaf bulbs these back bulbs don’t have any live root on
them so the simple way to get rid of a lot of the dead root is first just to
snip out your back bulbs so we take a pair of secateurs which I keep in a
mixture of methylated spirit and water keep them sterile and we just cut
through the rhizome here so dispose of that and then we have this good set of
root system here this rhizome here should be treated with a little bit of
powdered lime or sulphur or a steri- prune just so no infections get into that wound.
that wound can you see there where I’ve You can see where i hve chopped it back I’ve left that one bulb
on but looking at the plant now I think I’ll take that one out as well,
people are generally a little scared to cut bulbs away but don’t be worried
because these bulbs once have no leaves can’t photosynthesize anymore in the
wild they’re left there just as a total resort reserve of energy and water
that’s translocated into the plant as things go badly but as they’re not doing
anything on our plants in cultivation we get rid of them
then remove these dead leaf bracts here old flower spike there we are
nip it out old flower spikes in here cut them back out generally better there get
rid of all this and dead material and we’re looking underneath to make sure
there’s no insects that might have hidden away underneath the dead leaves
here because that’s where scale and sometimes mealybug can harbor, very
careful when you take those off because there’s little growths in here as you
can see and you don’t want to take those off by accident now we always pot
Oncidiums when they’re in growth because that means the root activity is
going to start straightaway and whether you can see here the little live root
tips on these roots here so it’s all pretty active it’s a little bit of dead
root back here but they’re still firm. Roots are rotten when they’re soft and
pulpy when they’re firm like this they’re just roots that are a little bit
dormant and they’ll spring to life a little bit later. The roots that were
hanging outside the pot will now go inside the pot so there we have our
plant ready to pot this is the pot it came out of which is probably a little
bit small for it now, so we select a new pot this squat pot here nicely drained
pot has little legs on it as it were so it stands off the bench a little bit and
really good drainage holes now then we needed a potting mix very simple we’re
using or Orchiata power which is a 9 to 12
millimeter-sized bark and it’s mixed with 20% super coarse pearlite . Okay so
we have our plant ready to pot we select our pot I usually just pop the plant
into the pot loose and have a look what we’re aiming for is to put the back of
the plant that is the part that doesn’t have a new growth there that’s the front
this is the back we put the back of the plant against the back of the pot
allowing room for this growth to grow for two years into the front of the pot
so once we’re happy with that they tuck the roots around you put one handful of
the potting mix or two into the bottom of the pot and firm it down with your
fingers just to make sure that it’s nice and centered the base of the bulb should
be level with the top of the pot if it’s not just adjust the height like that at
this stage it’s easy to do if you have it wrong start again okay so now we add
a little bit of fertilizer we’ve been using this for a long time it’s a slow
release by Osmocote it’s a nine eleven fifteen so it’s low in nitrogen and its
high in potash which is what these fine rooted epiphytes plants really like in a
pot this size I put three pinches it’s just dependant on the pot size so a
smaller pot so that size we just put one pinch in that’s an 85 ml pot a slightly
bigger one we’d put two and this one we put three and it’s not very exact how
much you put in a little bit too little is better than too much but don’t fuss
about it okay so we’re ready to finish off just firm it there I’m very much in
favor of potting nice and firm because the more potting mix you can get in the
pot at this stage the longer it’s going to last and the better the plant will do
if it’s undisturbed so tuck it all down. Now you notice I put the fertilizer in
the bottom of the pot orchids it’s always been said go looking for food and
I believe that’s true and if we put the fertilizer down here the roots won’t
just find a rich environment at the top of the potting mix they’ll go down
seeking for it and then they’ll get the fertilizer and it’s a much better way of
growing them to my way of thinking in the second year this plant has now made
another bulb and it won’t need repotting again you sprinkle a little more of the
Osmocote on top of the pot to see it through for the next year then after
that it will be big enough to repot as we’ve just done here make sure you put
the label back in the pot I usually put my label to the back of the pot so I
know where I can see it and face the growth to the front it should all being
well hanging the pot after you’ve potted it so obviously with really big pots
that doesn’t work quite so well. Okay so now we have our plant freshly potted and
what are we going to do with it next first thing to do after care is very
important so the first watering is important to water it in flush out a
little bit of the dirty stuff off the bark so I give it a good watering in, let
the dirty water run out of the pot then it’s ready to put back on the bench and
leave unwatered for probably two to three weeks so that it dries off again
orchids are particularly used to having a wet dry environment these are what we
call fine rooted epiphytes I showed you the little fine roots before they’re
mostly growing out on a branch or a limb of a tree
sometimes on a rock and their roots are used to spreading out underneath the
mosses and lichens which are growing on the tree so every morning and every
evening they will be covered in mist and of
material will become moist and then it will dry up during the day it become
moist again at night so this is the wet/dry cycle that they particularly
like, of course in our environment they’re not getting mist every morning
and evening so they’re being watered from time to time so we let the bark dry
out till it’s thoroughly dry and then we water them again so that’s important the
first three to four weeks of environment in the in the new pot is important if
you get it saturated straight away and leave it too wet the roots will not
develop down through the pot, we grow these plants a little bit on the dry
side at all times so where do we grow them out in the nursery
we generally run about 25 percent shade during the winter
just to break the Sun down a little bit when we do get it and during the summer
we run about 80 percent shade which is a lot but these plants because they come
from fairly high altitude are used to having temperatures in the main between
25 and 30 degrees that’s a little bit difficult to achieve but with shade we
can manage so shade important , the next thing is the
humidity in the glasshouse if you look underneath our benches you’ll see ferns
and other short growing selaginellas which hold the moisture the benches
themselves are open so that the moist air can rise up through the plants very
important that you have a moist environment and of course good air
movement it’s absolutely vital these plants come from an area that is high
mountainous there is always updraft there is always air movement you’ll see
a fan here that will be usually blowing half the day and stirring up the air in
the glass house is also another big fan up there so good air movement and good
air movement is also dependent on having your plants widely enough spaced that
the air can indeed get between them and the light shine down in between the
leaves and get onto the bulbs if you cram your plants together too
lightly you’ll spoil both the light penetration and the air movement through
the plants our plants in inertia are usually a little bit too close together
we would generally suggest that you have the size of the pot as a space in
between each one so if they’re in a four inch pot they need four inches of space
between the other pots watering depends entirely on the humidity you have in the
glass house if we’re having very dry weather humidity naturally goes down
you’ll need to water more often obviously it’s dependent on heat hot dry
weather you’ll need to water more damp cold weather you need to water less
generally speaking, and I don’t like to lay down firm guidelines, but in the
winter we’re watering about once every two weeks during the summer with in the
hot weather probably watering every day but you must water according to the
plants requirements mostly these plants are growing up on benches but you can
see we do have them on wire racks as well some of these plants do very well
mounted as I say they’re all epiphytes they like having their roots out in the
open so there’s several different ways you can grow these oncidiums, their
leaves are usually quite green they will become darker green in the winter and
lighter green during the summer months once they if you see black marks
appearing on the leaves that can suggest either they have fungal infection so
it’s if you haven’t kept up your good air movement you might get some fungal
infection on the leaves so spray with Eco fungicide, if they get burned you
will see a dark brown mark on top of the leaves insect control they are prone to
getting scale that’s number one infection weed control scale by a
monthly spray with Eco oil which we find is very effective it’s non-toxic
you don’t have to dress up in any fancy gear to do it it must be done regularly
to be effective and the plants need to be clean in the
first place it’s not very effective for cleaning up infections that are heavy on
the leaf but once the plants are clean this is very effective for keeping them
clean you may also get mealy bug and the other insect will not insect but slugs
and snails they are of course with the ground like we have them here prone to
getting around and can crawl up on the benches so good slug and snail control
is vital they do quite a lot of damage to these new young roots here that
little garlic snails particularly will eat the tips out of these roots you
don’t kind of notice it until suddenly you think the plants not doing
especially well and they’ve nibbled all those out so very important to keep up
with that . We were talking about a aphids earlier on and you can see here just on
the tip buds a few of the little beggars getting going they always start on these
tip buds another one over there and eventually we’ll end up getting on all
the buds and they do a great deal of damage so they must be sprayed the Eco Oil is fine to use on those and clean them up before they get any further into
the flower buds. We hope you enjoyed our look at oncidium orchids we’d like to
thank Clive halls from Mount Beenak orchids for further information visit
the Mount Beenak web site subscribe to the YouTube channel and as always good
luck with your gardening

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