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Dancing Lady Orchid: Plant Care and Growing Guide

Dancing Lady Orchid: Plant Care and Growing Guide

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Dancing Lady Orchid is a tropical plant found in many indoor gardeners’ homes; it’s easy to grow and has a unique look and vibe.

In this post, we’re breaking down the essentials of caring for a Dancing Lady Orchid. We’ve also listed some suggestions if you want to buy this plant. Read on to know more about this Oncidium’s interesting features!

What Is Dancing Lady Orchid?

Dancing Lady Orchid is part of the Orchidaceae family. Its flowers are unique: they have large lower petals, known as the lip, and are always perpendicular to the side-winged petals. They also flutter in the breeze, like the flowing skirts of dancing maidens, hence, earning them the names Oncidium Dancing Lady, Oncidium Orchids, and Dancing Doll Orchids.

There are more than 300 types of Oncidiums, but the most popular for indoor growing is the type of Orchid with small yellow flowers or the pink-flowered variety. Oncidiums grow without needing soil as their growing medium. They are epiphytic orchids; in their natural habitat, they attach themselves to the nearest tree trunk and thrive by absorbing the moisture in the air.

As a perennial, it grows well indoors near an east or west-facing window. It’s typically known for its vibrant and uniquely-shaped flowers, making it a truly appealing houseplant.

The Dancing Lady Orchid can also be raised outdoors in certain climates, ideally in hardiness zones 9-12.

Origin And Family

This Oncidium plant was first identified in 1800 by Swedish botanist Olaf Swartz. Its native habitat is in the rainforests of Central and South America and the West Indies.

Oncidium Dancing Lady belongs to the genus Oncidium in the Orchidaceae family. You’ll witness its significant large yellow, white, red, pink, green, or brown blooms 2-3 times throughout the year.

Where To Buy

Dancing Lady Orchid is fairly affordable to purchase, with prices ranging from $25 for smaller plants (4″ pots) to $45 for larger or more mature plants (blooming size). I recommend going to a nursery or a home improvement store in your area, but you can also purchase other popular species of orchids online. I get most of my plants from Etsy, where I check out listings from individual sellers instead of shopping at more prominent brands.

Dancing Lady Orchid Plant Size

The Dancing Lady Orchid, as a houseplant, reaches a height of 12-30 inches and a width of 2-3 feet. It typically grows fast. Set it near an east or west-facing window for excellent plant development.

Dancing Lady Orchid Care Needs

Dancing Lady Orchids are humidity-loving plants that need dry soil throughout the year. During the summertime, water your plant when its potting mix has dried. Pour until water oozes out of the drainage hole and empty the catch plate to avoid root rot.

Check out this more detailed guide to caring for your Dancing Lady Orchid!

Care Difficulty

In terms of care difficulty, the Oncidium Orchids is easy-to-care-for. The prime considerations for this beauty are the well-draining soil and the amount of light.

Growth Rate

The Dancing Doll Orchids plant measures 12-30 inches in height when grown indoors. The warmth of spring and summer jumpstarts this plant’s growth spurt.

Oncidium species grow at a fast speed, including the Dancing Lady.

Potting

In terms of potting material and size for this plant, it’s generally advisable to use medium or large pots or nets, depending on the size of the plant. They prefer a snug fit, so picking a pot on the smaller side is better. The main consideration is for your pot to have at least one drainage hole. Oncidium Dancing Lady does not like sitting in water; otherwise, it may succumb to root rot.

Repotting

As your plant grows and expands, you might consider upgrading from your current pot to a bigger pot on an as-needed basis. Typically, the need to repot occurs every 2 years because this plant grows quickly. When you see roots over the edge of the pot, it’s a telltale sign that you need to move this plant over to another potting container.

Take note that these plants have extremely fragile roots, so take special care when repotting these types of orchids.

When repotting, you can use a new batch of Orchid potting soil which is the ideal potting medium for your Dancing Lady Orchid.

Soil

The Oncidium Orchids do best in Orchid potting soil. The roots of this plant favor a relatively dry environment, so make sure you choose pieces with the proper moisture-retention properties for your soil. Use sphagnum moss, perlite, fir bark (or any free-draining bark), and chopped pine to create your soil mix.

Good drainage can prevent root rot and other diseases. You may also consider adding chunky and granular materials to your soil to improve aeration.

Below are some excellent substrate options for your plant:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $12.96
Burpee, 9 Quarts...image Burpee, 9 Quarts | Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix Food Ideal for Container Garden-Vegetable, Flower & Herb Use for Indoor Outdoor Plant $12.99
Sun Gro Horticulture...image Sun Gro Horticulture Black Gold 1310102 8-Quart All Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A $18.07
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix Miracle-Gro Potting Mix $16.99
FoxFarm Ocean Forest...image FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants | Plant Fertilizer | 12 Quart + THCity Stake $19.99

pH

Your soil should have a pH of roughly 5.5-6.5 for the Dancing Doll Orchids. This range is considered acidic. It won’t be a huge concern if you’re using Orchid potting soil because its acidity level is near the ideal range.

If you want to examine your soil’s pH value, there are several affordable options online for pH meters.

If necessary, add a pinch of calcitic lime, dolomitic lime, baking soda, or wood ash to increase the soil’s pH. You can reduce it by using sulfur or aluminum sulfate.

Water

Your Oncidium Dancing Lady will want the soil to stay relatively dry in between watering schedules. Feel the soil with your finger and check when its potting mix has dried. If this is the case, drench your plant thoroughly until water seeps out from the bottom of the pot.

Overwatering is one of the most predominant causes of plant death indoors. When in doubt, it’s usually better to underwater than overwater Oncidium Dancing Lady. To ensure that your plant’s roots aren’t getting drowned, use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes.

Light

Dancing Lady Orchid prefers bright indirect light for approximately 6-8 hours daily. Remember that you’re attempting to replicate how it grows in the rainforests of South and Central America and the West Indies. In most cases, putting this plant near an east or west-facing window works fine, or you can set up a sheer curtain to protect it from direct bright light.

When its leaves are getting sunburned, you’ll know your Dancing Lady Orchid is getting too much light. Conversely, if you find the leaves turning dark green and the plant won’t bloom, it’s not getting enough light. You can use artificial light to sustain the ideal lighting condition for this plant.

Avoid putting your Dancing Lady Orchid in direct sunlight, as this could severely damage or even kill it.

Fertilizer

Here’s a common mistake by several indoor growers, they forget to fertilize. They think that water and bright indirect light are good sources of nourishment. But the truth is that the soil’s nutrients are just as vital in your plant’s overall health.

Feed your plant every other week during its growing season, the spring and summer. An organic fertilizer will work best for your Oncidium Orchid species. If you’re using a potent fertilizer, you may need to dilute it first.

In the winter months, you don’t need to fertilize at all.

Propagating Dancing Lady Orchid

There are different ways to propagate a Dancing Lady Orchid. For higher chances of success, follow the steps we’ve laid out below for each unique method.

Division

You can also propagate a Dancing Doll Orchids by dividing the stem clusters with entangled root systems.

1. Dig up. Pat the sides of the pot to loosen the soil using your small shovel. Carefully pull the plant until you get it out of the pot.

2. Separate. Separate the natural boundaries of each stem with your hands. It may be necessary to cut the roots but be careful not to damage the main root balls.

3. Repot. Fill smaller pots with the same potting media they’re used to and repot each section.

Humidity And Aeration

Dancing Lady Orchid is an appealing plant that loves high humidity levels. Maintain a humidity level between 50%-70% at all times.

Use a simple hygrometer to examine the air moisture level in your Dancing Lady Orchid’s area. If the reading is too low, you can increase the humidity by following these methods:

• Plants draw out moisture from their leaves through transpiration; therefore, keeping houseplants close together will help them.

• Set a leveled tray of pebbles and water below your plant’s pot to create your humidity tray. The evaporating water provides some nourishment to the plant.

• Purchase a humidifier for your plants. This will constantly release steam and raise the humidity in a room.

In normal indoor conditions, providing these plants with good airflow is essential to prevent conditions that encourage bacterial growth, root rot, and other plant diseases.

Temperature

Generally, warm temperatures are best for your Dancing Doll Orchids plant. This can range between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The bigger consideration for this plant is consistency. Sudden temperature changes can heavily damage the Dancing Doll Orchids. Protect your plant against cold drafts in cold weather by closing windows and sealing any openings. Keep it away from heat vents that can dry the foliage.

Flowers

Dancing Ladies produce significant flowers: yellow, white, red, pink, green, or brown. This plant blooms 2-3 times throughout the year in optimum conditions.

The different species of Oncidium bloom at different times throughout the year. Some even flower 2-3 times a year. The most common bloom is the yellow-colored flowers. Other varieties produce white, red, pink, green, or brown flowers.

The flowers can sometimes last for a few weeks or even months when they bloom.

A quick tip: The flower spikes will naturally fall off when they are done blooming. Usually, I recommend trimming the stems to encourage another growth. But I would discourage trimming as Oncidiums often bloom on the same stems over and over.

Non-Toxic

The Oncidium Orchids are not hazardous to children or pets. The ASPCA states that it will not harm dogs or cats if ingested, and there are no poisonous substances in the plant.

Toxic To Pets? Care Specifics
Botanical Name Dancing Lady Orchid
Common Name Oncidium Dancing Lady, Oncidium Orchids, Dancing Doll Orchids
Plant Family Orchidaceae
Origin Central and South America and the West Indies
Plant Type perennial
Leaf Shape linear
Leaf Color green
Recommended Home Placement near an east or west-facing window
Growth Rate fast
Light bright indirect light
Soil orchid potting soil
When To Water Water when its potting mix has dried out.
When To Fertilize every other week during growing season
Preferred pH 5.5-6.5
Humidity Range 50%-70%
Toxic To Pets? No
Common Pests & Diseases spider mites, brown tips, fungus gnuts, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, mealy bugs, drooping leaves

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

The Dancing Lady Orchid is not a plant that’s resistant to several bugs, issues, and diseases. In the following sections, I’ll lay out some of the common issues for the Dancing Lady Orchid, as well as some tips and tricks for treating them.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are common pests, particularly among Dancing Doll Orchids plants. Spider mite damage looks like small, brown, or yellow patches on your plant’s leaves at first. You might also observe that your plant has slowed or ceased to grow.

To remove spider mites, wash off your Dancing Doll Orchids using a garden hose, a sink nozzle, or a pressure sprayer. Moreover, you can spray the leaves with neem oil or insecticidal soap and ensure that all surfaces, including the underside of the leaves are covered!

Another option is to introduce natural predators of spider mites like ladybugs, lacewings, and Stethorus picipes beetles (dubbed as the “Spider Mite Destroyer”). The great thing about these bugs is that they will feed on spider mites, but they won’t harm your plant!

Fungus Gnats

Unfortunately, Oncidium Dancing Lady is a fungus gnat-magnet. Fungus gnats are small insects that consume organic debris found in your growing medium. Their larvae will devour the roots, which is detrimental to your plants.

Hydrogen peroxide eliminates fungus gnat larvae on contact and is a quick and effective way to get rid of these bugs. Spray the topsoil of your Oncidium Dancing Lady with four parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide.

Otherwise, you can drench the soil with water mixed with mosquito dunks. Mosquito dunks are dry pellets with Bacillus Thuringiensis ssp. Isrealensis, a type of bacteria that kills mosquitoes, fruit flies, and fungus gnats.

Scale Insects

Adult scales are stationary and covered in a waxy coating, but they will give birth to tiny crawling bugs.

Armored scales can be removed, but with caution, using an old ID card or your fingertips. Take care not to tear your Dancing Lady Orchid’s leaves.

To suffocate scale insects:

Apply horticultural oil, neem oil, or insecticidal soap.

Spray a general insecticide if you spot active crawlers.

After a week, repeat the application process.

We suggest the following products:

Mealybugs

Mealybugs may infest your Dancing Doll Orchids. If you discover these little parasites with their white fluff, act immediately. On contact, a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol can kill mealies, rendering them brown or orange in color. As a precautionary step, a spray of diluted Neem oil works effectively.

Brown Leaf Tips

One frequent cause of browning edges on your Oncidium Dancing Lady’s leaves is a soil build-up of salts and minerals. This usually happens if you apply too much fertilizer or use chemically-treated tap water.

Inadequate moisture is another cause of browning leaf tips. Improve your room humidity by properly watering your plant.

Drooping Leaves

A wilting, droopy appearance on your Dancing Lady Orchid indicates distress. Possible reasons for drooping leaves are overwatering, underwatering, excessive light exposure, lack of light, and low humidity.

Yellow Leaves

If you notice that the leaves of your Oncidium Orchids are turning yellow, you will need to go over any recent adjustments in your usual care practices or the weather.

Overwatering, underwatering, overfertilizing, under-fertilizing, too much light, lack of light, root damage, temperature swings, and pests can cause yellowing leaves.

Root Rot

Root rot is a prevalent killer of the Dancing Doll Orchids. Other indoor gardeners might get overzealous with their watering or forget to provide adequate plant drainage. These two mistakes are the prime causes of root rot.

Root rot is hard to treat; thus, prevention is the best option. If you do not own a metering device, get used to touching your soil to feel for moisture. Skip the watering for now if the top few inches do not feel dry!

To enable excess moisture to escape from the sidewalls, choose pots with high porosity (such as clay, unglazed ceramic, and concrete). Provide your plant with well-aerated soil to allow its roots to breathe and grow freely.

Similar Plants

Love Oncidium Dancing Lady? We have listed here; a number of the best orchids and where to buy them. And here are some of our favorite orchid species:

Cattleya Orchid: Whether you’re a plant lover or not, in one way or another, we’re pretty sure you’ve seen a Cattleya Orchid. With their large and vibrant flowers, Cattleyas are often used in corsages and is a popular choice for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Moth Orchid: With over 50 species and hundreds of hybrids available, Moth Orchids have just about every option for all kinds of use. May it be for interior decoration, garden collection, or formal occasions, you will never go wrong with this beauty.

Conclusion

The Dancing Lady Orchid is an excellent choice for plant enthusiasts due to its vibrant and uniquely shaped flowers.

If you’re looking for a new plant to include in your collection or are just getting started as an indoor gardener, use the tips you’ve learned from us to start growing Dancing Lady Orchid today!

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