This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Among Orchids, Oncidiums are probably one of the best for an amateur to try his hand on. Though, as a whole, they have not the beauty or fragrance of many other species, their easy culture, free blooming, and comparative cheapness recommend them strongly to beginners. Yellow, striped, or speckled with light brown or chocolate, are the predominant colors, though there are some noted variations, which I will notice later. Owing to the length of the flower spikes, most Oncids show to better advantage grown in hanging baskets, which should be made of red cedar (Juniperus Virgini-anus) or the locust (Robinia pseud-acacia). If well made, using strong copper wire, they will last many years. They also give a more natural appearance to the plants, the roots of which will soon attach themselves to the wood. The baskets should be half filled with broken crocks and charcoal, using fresh green moss next to the plants. All Orchids should be set on top of the moss, just inserting the plants deep enough to keep them steady until the roots have penetrated the moss. By having the plants above the moss, it will be easy to see the young growth, which should never be kept very wet, as they are apt to rot off in their early stage of growth.
Oncids differ in their growth more than any other species of Orchid that I have seen. Some varieties have short corrugated bulbs. Some others have long smooth bulbs, and other varieties, such as luridum and Lanceanum, have no bulbs, but thick, succulent leaves. Then, again, there is a little group with long terete leaves, and no bulbs, of which 0. junceum is a noted example. In the shape of the flowers there is great similarity, except 0. Papilio (the Butterfly Orchid, which many botanists consider a different species, and not a true Oncid. I will now give a short description of some that I have bloomed, commencing with the bulbless group, having thick, fleshy leaves. I will here remark, that all Orchids with thick fleshy leaves are apt to spot if kept too moist and cold from November to February.