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Odontoglossums

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Odontoglossums are a member of the sub-tribe Oncidiiniae. Their natural habitat is mostly to be found in the mountains of Central and South America, flowering high in mountains between 5000 to 9000 feet where apparently the rainy season is almost continuous. As the temperature falls at night mist envelopes the region, leaving the plants moist with dew and humidity.

They are considered to be among the most beautiful orchids with their many flowers on long spikes.

Culture to be considered in this country, is attempting to match their cultural environment, a greenhouse seems to be ideal. Like all plants they require food, water, light and air, also protection against extreme temperatures, pest and diseases. Water should be fresh rainwater. Feeding with any orchid fertilizer, to make watering level of approx. 450-500S, the ideal PH level seem to be 5.5-6ph.

They seem to like a fairly reduced light level of about 50% shading in the summer. Gentle air movement should be created with fans in the greenhouse.

Odontoglossums are epiphytic and thrive in compost that is open and free draining. The roots enjoy growing in the open spaces; they detest stale damp compost. Bark, sphagnum moss, perlite or rockwool seem to be the ideal types of media

Odontoglossums are cool growing orchids and cool temperatures should be considered, minimum 12c. Humidity must be created as far as possible to match their natural environment. Damping down the floors with water will help with this.

In all Odontoglossum collections there seems to be a special place for the species of the genera.

Albert Fetherston
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