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Conservatory Greenhouse

Oncidium crispum

waved-margined dancing lady orchid

A medium-sized, epiphytic orchid with upright, 15-30cm long, evergreen leaves. New growth appears from the base of the swollen stem - pseudobulb. Each pseudobulb is a storage organ for water and nutrients. They are egg-shaped, slightly flattened and partially covered by one or two pairs of green, leafed sheaths. The plant typically flowers in winter, spring or autumn on up to 45cm long, upright or arching stems. New flowering stems arise from the axils of young, mature pseudobulbs and the leafed sheaths. Each stem carries 8 to 20 white, star-shaped flowers, often with dark burgundy red spots and toothed edges. Each flower measures 5-10cm across.

Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
Colour & scent
Spring White Red Yellow Green
Summer Green
Autumn White Red Yellow Green
Winter White Red Yellow Green
  • Partial shade

East–facing or North–facing or West–facing

Botanical details
Native to the UK
Columnar upright, Clump forming
Potentially harmful
Skin allergen. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling

Oncidium are a large genus of epiphytic orchids; mature plants form clumps of ovoid to conical pseudobulbs, each with 1-3 mid-green, variably-shaped, leathery leaves arising from the tips. Flower panicles from the bases of the pseudobulbs widely differ in colour and shape

Name status


Plant range

How to grow


Grow in an open bark-based orchid compost with addition of perlite, sphagnum moss or coir. Provide enough bright filtered light, but keep away from direct sunlight or a heating source. Ideal temperatures are around minimum 8°C at night and up to maximum 25 °C during day. Water regularly, when the pot feels light when lifted. Ensure that all water drains away, preventing the plant sitting wet. Orchid fertiliser can be applied regularly throughout the growing season. Reduce watering and feeding in winter months. For more notes on cultivation, see oncidium orchid (cool) cultivation


Propagation by seed is only possible in a controlled laboratory environment. Mature plants may be divided when the plant overgrows its container. Each division should have at least 3 older pseudobulbs with a sufficient amount of stored energy and water, to support new growth and reduce stress after repotting.

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Conservatory and greenhouse

No pruning required. Cut off spent flower spikes.


May be susceptible to mealybugs, aphids and scale insects.


Generally disease-free. Poor air movement may cause bacterial or fungal rots. Good hygiene practice and sterilising cutting tools prevent the spread of virus diseases.

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