Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Dancing Ladies

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Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Dancing Ladies

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October 28, 2016- A delightful plant in bloom right now is the Dancing Lady orchid or Oncidium spp. Oncidium species are usually epiphytes, meaning they grow harmlessly on other plants, while some grow on rocks.

There are about 600 different species of Oncidiums. They are extremely diverse, as species grow from sea level to 13,300 feet, throughout South and Central America, the Caribbean and Florida.

They grow well in "intermediate" temperature and light. We have them growing in the shade on the side of the house and they seem to do well without much care. We do put them in the greenhouse if temperatures are likely to drop into the 30's.

Oncidiums do not like overly wet soil. To give the soil the right amount of aeration and drainage, you should use sphagnum moss or perlite mixed into the potting medium. You might need to upgrade the pot size every other year.

There is a native Oncidium called the Florida Dancing Lady. However, its range is limited to Palm Beach and Martin Counties. It's found in pineland scrub areas usually near coastal rosemary and palmetto plants. Its flowering season is May through June.

So pick up a Dancing Lady at a local nursery. While some grow orchids indoors near a window, it is also a wonderful addition to any garden.