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Mary Jo Lally has been with American Plant Food Co. for 17 years and was the greenhouse manager for 7 years. The past 5 years Mary Jo has specialized in orchids and is responsible for purchasing, merchandising and care of orchids at both American Plant Food locations.
She is a member of the National Capitol Orchid Society and regularly visits local growers and events to keep up with the latest in the world of orchids.

The Oncidium Alliance Orchid

Orchid expert Mary Jo Lally describes cultural requirements of the Oncidum alliance.

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This expert: 216,484 views

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Hi, my name is Mary Jo Lally and I am the orchid specialist for American Plant Food Company. What I would like to talk about now is what something that we call the Oncidium Alliance and what this is, these are orchids that mainly are in the Oncidium family and they are called exotics or intergenerics.

And they are all blended together; they are so hybridized because the growing conditions for the parent plants of these orchids are very similar. So that when they all blended together, then we create a new variety, a new breed. The intergenerics, now there is just a few of them.

This one is not -- technically this one is the Miltonia, the nickname for that it is called a Pansy orchid. These are fabulous as you can see -- and they are also fragrant. As you can see that there smell, there are very orchid showier than this one.

Now the Newtonian are -- they are cooler weather orchids. In other words when it starts to get hotter, when the summer month come we will not have Newtonian, right now in the spring and in the late winter and in the spring, early spring they are wonderful and they bloom anywhere from four to six weeks, sometimes longer.

This particular one has eight flower spikes and there are still several flowers spikes have not even opened yet. So the bloom cycle on this one will probably be at least a couple months and like I said the lighting for a Miltonia unlike some of the intergenerics is the same lighting as for a Phalaenopsis which is a bright light not necessarily direct sun. The Phalaenopsis and the Lady s Slipper Orchids are the ones that in the home can go in the least bright, indirect amount of light and they do quiet well. Now the other part of the intergenerics as I am calling them, these are all just different varieties and they are just gorgeous as you can see.

There is like Beallara, there is Tahoma Glacier, there are several varieties and what it is, why they are called intergenerics is their parent plants of a lot of these are Odontoglossums and they are from their home ranges the Andes Mountain. So the thing about the intergenerics in your home is that -- they will bloom out just fine, just put him in a nice bright light window and they will just bloom out for you and they will be just wonderful.

But, to get them to rebloom in your home that is going to be difficult. In this area which is we are outside of Washington DC in the south of Maryland what we advice people do is to take them outside in the summer, put them in the shade, protect it.

Just protect your orchid, do not fit them under a tree and wait for the snails to get in there. You have a shady patio or whatever that would be great, but to get back to this to bring them outside to let them go through their growth cycle, fertilize them with a Foliage Fertilizer in the summer, let them really grow and you have to leave them outside.

These are the intergenerics now; you have to leave them outside until probably like mid October because they need that chill. They need a real probably of 15 to 18 degree differential between day and night time temperatures. They need cooler night time temperatures to set spike and we really in our homes we just do not have that the Phalaenopsis and the Miltonia are little better with that but the intergenerics do need that specialty, but once you do that they react very nicely. So, they are very good for blooming in the home to get to rebloom you either need a greenhouse or you should bring them outside and put him in a protective spot until like mid October. As you can see with just the difference -- the many different varieties and colors, they are well worth trying.

But, start out with a Phalaenopsis and move your way up to intergenerics and there is just a world of pleasure in orchids in your home.