Odontoglossum Orchid: Home Care, Transplantation

The genus Odontoglossum (Odontoglossum) is directly related to the rather large family Orchidaceae. This family is also referred to as the Jatrychniaceae, and it includes 5 subfamilies as well. Representatives of this family have been found in all areas of the planet Earth except Antarctica. This genus includes 65 species of different plants. In nature, such plants are found in mountainous areas of South and Central America with tropical and subtropical climates.

As a rule, they are found at absolute altitudes of 1700 to 3000 meters. But there are species that prefer to grow at even higher altitudes, where it is cool and damp.

The name of this plant comes from the Greek words "odons" or "odontos" - "tooth" and "glossa" - "tongue". This unusual name is due to the appearance of the flowers of this orchid. At the base of the lip (lower petal) there are calloused outgrowths very similar to teeth.

This genus was first described by the German botanist Carl Kunt at the beginning of the 19th century.

This genus is represented by lithophytes (plants that grow on rocks or rocks) as well as by epiphytes (growing on trunks or branches of other shrubs or trees). Odontoglossum can be either large or medium-sized. In rare cases, this flower grows as a terrestrial plant. Fairly short roots, there are flattened pseudobulbs, with rather tender rootlets attached.

On average, Odontoglossum is 20 centimeters tall, but there are varieties that stretch up to 90 centimeters.

The color of the thin leathery leaves is bright emerald, and their shape is strongly elongated. When well cared for, the foliage has a life span of several years. The growth character of the plant is sympodial. The spectacular bush consists of a whole system of shoots.

Horizontally arranged parts of the stems form a rhizome. And on the parts located vertically, pseudobulbs (thickenings) are formed. Flower stalks grow from the base of the pseudobulb, and several beautiful flowers are placed on them at once. This flower bud is situated at the beginning of the previous leaf or stem growth (this can be the location of an underdeveloped leaf axil).

Odontoglossum is almost impossible to meet in flower stores.

But there is a huge number of hybrids, created by crossing odontoglossum with other species of the orchid family. At the same time, this genus of orchid is crossed very easily. The hybrids are usually very beautiful and have a long flowering period from mid-autumn to the end of spring. Keep in mind, however, that different varieties can bloom at any time of the year. When they stop flowering, they enter a dormant period (which is every 8 months).

The Odontoglossum orchid is best suited for experienced orchidists, as beginners may have several problems with such a plant.

Home care of the Odontoglossum orchid

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation


These orchids are rather light loving and need good light. However, it should be protected from direct sunlight. Windows in a southwest or southeast orientation are great for placing this flower. If placed on the south window the flower will need shade from the scorching afternoon sun.

Shade the plant using light curtains or gauze curtains. If you want, you can glue paper or tracing paper on the glass surface which will significantly disperse the sunlight.

Temperature control

These kinds of orchids are adapted to the cold temperature conditions and therefore are recommended to grow in unheated greenhouses or colder rooms. But hybrids created by crossing with heat-loving species are quite adapted to normal room temperature. In summer such plants can be kept at 24 to 26 degrees, but the best temperature is 19 degrees during the day and 16 degrees at night.

The recommended temperature regime in winter is 13 to 17 degrees.


Odontoglossum requires increased air humidity for normal growth and development. Thus, it should be kept at 60 percent during the day and up to 90 percent at night. If the humidity is lower than normal, it will cause deterioration of the flower's appearance as well as its development. Remember that the warmer the room, the higher the humidity percentage should be and the more often it should be aired.

In summer during the hot months it is recommended to place the pot with the plant in a wide and high tray, in which you should first pour claydite (pebbles) and not too much water. The evaporation of water will naturally increase the humidity. However, make sure that the liquid does not come into contact with the pot, because this can cause rotting of the root system.

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation

How to water

Frequency of watering is directly related to the ambient temperature of the odontoglossum. So, the cooler it is in the room, the less often you need to water and vice versa.

When choosing a pot, you should take into account that the excess liquid should freely and quickly enough leave it. In this regard, it is recommended to use double pots, so that the part at the top is placed the flower itself, and the one at the bottom is designed for the flowing excess water. If the liquid stagnates in the substrate, it will lead to rot on the root system and also on the shoot.

Pouring should be frequent and abundant, and should be done without waiting for the substrate to be completely dry. Make sure that the pseudobulbs do not shrivel between waterings.

 After flowering, the frequency of watering should be reduced. And during the resting period watering should be done with a frequency of once every 7 days.

Wetting the plant with young sprouts should be done rather carefully, because they are quite sensitive to such procedures. From time to time, experts advise to give this orchid a warm (about 35 degrees) shower, which has a positive effect on the health and overall development of this flower. The more often you arrange him a shower, the more young leaves will appear, and this will also lead to an increase in the frequency of flowering.

Keep in mind that you should not use too hard water for showering. Excellent for such procedures melted or rain water. In its absence you can combine in equal proportions distilled and tap water. And still soften tap water by boiling, filtering, and it can be a good steeping. Remember that water for watering must have a temperature between 20 and 23 degrees.

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation


After the end of the dormancy period, you should start putting in special fertilizers for orchids. You can also use liquid fertiliser with a complex of minerals. Note that the nutrient mixture used for fertilisation should have a very low concentration. Fertilize the plant once a week during the intensive growth and once every three weeks during the flowering period.

After the young shoots have grown to half their normal size, you should start fertilizing the orchid with a fertilizer containing more phosphorus compounds.

In addition to foliar feeding, foliar feeding should also be done. The foliar feeding should be done with the same kind of fertilizer. Experts recommend using these types of fertilizer alternately.

Precautions on transplanting and potting

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation

For the plant to grow and flower normally, transplanting should be done once a year, changing not only the substrate but also the pot. It is recommended to transplant it before or after flowering (in spring or autumn).

Often odontoglossum itself signals that it is time to transplant, so, he forms a young shoot, which at length of 5 to 8 centimeters. Also, transplanting is necessary when the substrate is half-deposited. When changing the container, experts recommend carefully separating the old pseudobulbs.

Worth remembering that transplanting is prohibited in strong heat.

A suitable soil should be light, well permeable to air and absorb water.

So, when transplanting, you can use ready-made soil mixes, sold at the flower store, intended for orchids or for orchids and bromeliads. There are 2 variants of substrate that you can make yourself:

  • peat soil, chopped sphagnum and shredded charcoal in equal proportions;
  • mix equal proportions of pine bark, coconut chips (fibre), chopped fern roots and shredded charcoal.

Make sure to make a good drainage layer at the bottom of the pot. After transplanting, a light layer of moss should be placed on the surface of the substrate to help retain moisture in the soil. The first watering of the transplanted plant should be done 7 days after this procedure.

Propagation methods

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation

To propagate odontoglossum you can do this during transplanting, divide the overgrown bush into parts. When dividing the rhizome, remember that each division should have at least 2-3 mature pseudobulbs and one (or more) growth point. The rhizome is carefully divided with a very sharp knife.

The damaged places on the divisions must be treated and crushed activated charcoal is excellent for this purpose. The seedlings should then be gently placed on the previously crushed moss and wait until the roots begin to grow again.

Then the newly started to grow, should be planted in separate flower pots. To do this, the root system of the plant is placed in a pot with a pre-made drainage layer. And only after that, the prepared substrate is carefully poured.

Pests and possible problems

Often on this kind of orchids settle thrips, aphids, spider mites, as well as scales. To combat such harmful insects, experts recommend using special insecticides.

If the substrate will stagnate liquid, it can provoke the appearance of various bacterial and also fungal rot. In this case, experts advise to carefully remove the root system from the substrate and conduct treatment with fungicides. The pot itself should also be disinfected and the plant planted in a new substrate.

As a rule, all problems arising during the cultivation of this plant, are associated with violations of the rules of care. This can be due to inadequate lighting and temperature control, or to irregular watering.

The following are the most common problems:

  1. The flower will not grow and the foliage will turn yellow and shrivel up; this is due to too dry indoor air.
  2. White spots appear on the foliage; more airing is required due to stagnant air.
  3. Leaves turn yellow; this can be caused by direct sunlight.

Video review

Main species

The species listed below are the most popular when growing indoors because they are relatively undemanding in care.

Odontoglossum bictoniense

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation

This species stands out from the rest with its flattened pseudobulbs that are also very tightly curled.

The height of this plant reaches 18 centimeters. The underside of the bush is covered with 4-6 double-row lower leaves. On top of the pseudobulbs are 2 or 3 long leaflets in a linear shape. The upright, loose inflorescence is brush-shaped and contains a large number of not very large (4 to 5 centimeters in diameter) flowers. This inflorescence can reach a length of 30 to 80 centimeters.

The greenish-yellow flowers are composed of narrow sepals and petals, with their surface having a pattern of various brownish-brownish spots. The heart-shaped or kidney-shaped lip has a short and wide marigold. The lip is white or lilac in color, with a finely wavy rim and a pair of yellow downy keels at the base. Flowering lasts from mid-autumn to early winter. The opening of the flowers is gradual, with the first inflorescence blooming for 8-10 weeks.

Odontoglossum pulchellum (Odontoglossum pulchellum)

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation

This species has been isolated into a separate genus called Odontoglossum Schltr. The flattened pseudobulbs are very closely spaced. At the top of each is a pair of long keeled linear leaflets, which create dense and rather large formations. Thin, curved flower stalks grow from the lower leaf axils. They bear loose brush-shaped inflorescences, which consist of 4-6 snow-white, fragrant florets.

The guitar-like lip is directed upward and has a callus-like ridge at its base, which has a rich yellow color and red speckles on its surface. Under the lip there is a pair of lateral almost fused sepals, which are almost invisible because of it. It blooms in January-February.

Odontoglossum crispum

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation

The most beautiful species of the genus. On the flower stalk there are many closely spaced florets, the patterns of which are always different.

The hanging, brush-shaped inflorescences consist of no more than 15 florets with a fringed edge. The petals are colored lilac or white and have a brownish or cherry color pattern on them. The rugged lip has many brownish-yellow spots.

Odontoglossum citrosmum

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation

The inflorescences consist of lilac or light pink flowers, which number from 9 to 20. The lip is pale pink.

Odontoglossum cordatum (Odontoglossum cordatum)

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation

There are 3 to 8 large flowers. The lip has a heart shape.

Odontoglossum grande (Odontoglossum grande)

Odontoglossum orchid: home care, transplantation

The "tiger orchid" is one of the most beautiful plants of the orchid family. For the most part, it is found in the mountainous forest regions of the middle Americas, more specifically in the high plateaus of Guatemala and Costa Rica. As a rule prefers to grow at an absolute altitude of 2000-2500 meters.

It prefers sufficiently illuminated places that are well ventilated, such as: glades, forest edges, stream banks and rivers. In these places, both in the air and in the soil throughout the year there is a high content of moisture. This is aided by morning dews that form fogs at night, as well as evaporation of liquid from bodies of water. Naturalist and plant collector Ure Skinner first described this species after finding it in a mountain gorge near the capital of Guatemala in the early 19th century.

This flower is rhizomatous, but the rhizome is securely hidden under flattened pseudobulbs.

There are usually 2 or 3 such pseudobulbs. They are located very close to each other and are above the rhizome. They have leaflets covering them from below. One or two peduncles grow from the leaf axils. Inflorescences have a pinnate shape and consist of large flowers (12 to 15 centimeters in diameter), which number from 3 to 7 (less often 9).

The color of the flowers is deep yellow, and on their surface there are rather thick bands of pale brown crosswise. The petals with wavy edges are pale brown and yellow edged in the lower part, while the upper part is deep yellow. The small rounded lip is yellowish-white or whitish and has many reddish spots and strokes on its surface. Flowering can occur from the early fall to mid-winter and lasts 4 weeks. It grows well indoors, but the orchid must be kept at a cooler temperature.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *