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Dancing Lady Orchid Care

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

If you love orchids, the dancing lady, or oncidium, is a good choice for your home or greenhouse. One species of dancing lady, the Tolumnia bahamensis, is a very rare Florida native that is related to the oncidiums. If you give your orchid a warm, humid environment and a little orchid-specific fertilizer, your dancing lady will reward you with one or more sprays of small, lovely yellow, amber or maroon flowers at least once a year.

Caring for the Dancing Lady Orchid

Pot your dancing lady orchid in a special orchid bark mixture, available at nurseries and garden centers. Plant it with the base of any new growth no more than ½ inch deep in the orchid bark. Always grow your dancing lady orchid in a pot with a drainage hole.

Maintain a daytime temperature between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and a nighttime temperature between 60 and 65 degrees.

Give your dancing lady orchid fairly bright light, but not direct sun. When the leaves are bright green, this indicates the plant is getting the correct amount of light, so watch for this coloration.

Provide high humidity for your orchid. The minimum is 40 percent, but the higher the better—this orchid favors humidity between 55 and 75 percent. You can check the humidity by placing an inexpensive humidity meter near your plant, and you can increase the humidity by misting your plant with a fine spray of water. Or you can set your plant on a saucer containing pebbles, which you keep wet.

Give your dancing lady orchid a good, thorough watering when the bark begins to look dry. Make sure not to allow the pot to remain in standing water because the roots can easily rot.

Fertilize your dancing lady orchid with a high nitrogen plant food designed for orchids (N-P-K ratio of 30-10-10) twice each month. In winter, fertilize only once a month.


Things You Will Need

  • Orchid bark
  • Appropriate light
  • Plant saucer
  • Pebbles
  • Humidity meter (optional)
  • Orchid fertilizer


  • Re-pot your dancing lady orchid every two years, making sure to replace all of the potting bark with fresh bark.


About the Author


Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.