Alphabetical Plant Listing

Odontoglossum (Butterfly Orchids)

Butterfly Orchids, Ornithidium, Osmoglossum (Odontoglossum)


Native to western South America, Odontoglossum (Butterfly Orchids) is a genus of 70 species of medium to large epiphytic or lithophytic orchids found at high elevations, where cool temperatures prevail year round. Known for their striking sprays of flowers, these orchids produce clusters of large, usually brilliantly colored flowers that last for weeks. Their colors range from pink, red, orange, yellow, to white, often heavily marked and spotted. Many Odontoglossum orchids are very easy to grow, but some can be quite challenging.

Odontoglossum orchids are cool to cold growing orchids with compressed pseudobulbs, bearing 1 to 3 leathery or fleshy leaves.

These orchids are sympodial in growth habit (they produce multiple stems) with erect or arching inflorescences that arise from the bases of the flattened pseudobulbs.

Blooming mostly in late autumn and spring, Odontoglossum orchids are popular among growers thanks to their lovely shapes and striking colors. The flowers last for a long time, even as cut flowers.

Odontoglossum orchids are closely related to Oncidiums and several species have gone back and forth between the genera. They have been much hybridized, both within the genus and with other related genera.

Growing Odontoglossum Orchids

Light
Odontoglossum orchids require bright filtered light. In the home, place your orchid in an east or shaded south window or under artificial lights.

Temperatures
Odontoglossum orchids require cool to intermediate temperatures between 55-60°F (13-16°C) at night and 75-80°F (24-26°C) during the day.

Water
Odontoglossum orchids need a moist medium - never soggy. Roots should be allowed to become almost dry before watering again. Accordion-pleating on leaves is a symptom of insufficient water or humidity. The plants should be provided with rain water or distilled water or a very pure water source. Good-quality water is imperative for success.

Humidity
Maintain adequate humidity (40-80%) for most of the year by setting the plant in a tray of damp pebbles. Provide good air circulation at all times.

Fertilization
Fertilize regularly while plants are actively growing. Use 30-10-10-type formulations twice a month for plants in a bark-based medium. A 20-20-20-type formulation should be used for plants in other media.

Potting
Repotting should be done as new growth becomes about half mature, which is usually in the spring or autumn. A fine-grade potting medium with excellent drainage is required. Keep humidity high and the potting medium slightly dry until new roots form.

Pests and diseases 
Odontoglossum orchids are generally disease free. Keep an eye out for aphids, glasshouse red spider mite and mealybugs.

Guide Information

Plant Type Orchids
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 3' (30cm - 90cm)
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Landscaping Ideas Patio and Containers

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Plant Type Orchids
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 3' (30cm - 90cm)
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Landscaping Ideas Patio and Containers

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