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.