By the Orchid Man’s Son
One of our new members won Oncidium (Onc.) Twinkle at the February 2021 JOS Raffle Table. Following are a few thoughts on growing Onc. Twinkle that I’ve gathered from personal experience as well as a number of sources (see References) with some remembered and some originating from a lecture or two over the past decade.
Onc. Twinkle is a hybrid composed of two species of orchids: 50% Onc. cheirophorum and 50% Onc. sotoanum. These and all members of the Oncidium family are “New World” orchids and as such originate in the Americas. Onc. cheirophorum grows natively from Nicaragua to Columbia at higher elevations and Onc. sotoanum grows natively in northern Central America at lower elevations.
The parents of this orchid like shaded to bright shaded light. It should not get direct sun although early-morning sun is probably okay.
The general guidance for orchids with thin roots, such as Onc. Twinkle is that they should be watered frequently. These orchids are commonly grown in either clay or plastic pots and that means the hazard of retaining too much moisture. Ideally, like most oncidia, these orchids want to be watered heavily and then dry out, but not totally. Do not allow these orchids to dry out during the growing season. In our area of Florida, you’ll need to investigate the type of water you have, but city or tap water is typically fine. However, that is with a caveat. DO NOT USE SOFTENED WATER. Soft water acquires that characteristic by the addition of Salt. Importantly, most orchids are not very salt tolerant. It is also a good bet that you can use a balanced fertilizer (i.e., 20-20-20 and water at 1/4 to 1/2 the listed concentration).
Onc. Twinkle grows best in cool to warm conditions with nighttime temperatures of 75°F to 58°F. As with all orchids, they will tolerate warmer temperatures best if accompanied by sufficient airflow.
Fir bark is commonly used as a medium to grow this orchid. However, as with all orchids, Onc. Twinkle will easily accommodate itself to whatever media you have available. The key is to ensure that it does not retain too much water in relation to how you water. What does this mean? If you tend to use a lot of water or you keep your Onc. Twinkle outside where it receives large amounts of moisture, the media must drain rapidly. On the other hand, if you tend to under water or perhaps grow Onc. Twinkle inside, you might want to consider a more water retentive media. Let your growing conditions and how you water determine your media choice.
Onc. Twinkle, like many orchids, needs a rest during winter. During this period growth slows or even comes to a stop, reflecting the area where this orchids parents evolved. Occasionally water the orchid enough to keep the pseudobulbs from drying out and then return to your normal heavier watering in the Spring.
This orchid will easily adapt to being grown inside the house as if you are comfortable, it will be as well as long as you meet its other culture requirements. However, be sure to remember that it should not get direct sun although early-morning sun is probably okay. In addition, this is a compact orchid, so it doesn’t take up much space. If you have the room, this orchid is a good one to have in your collection.