Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oncidium NOID: the faded glory

     This oncidium NOID is the only other orchid to have survived the move with me.  I picked up the plant 2 years ago at a farmer's market with a 3 foot tall spike resplendent in burgundy blooms.  A plant so large was a sure bet to rebloom for me year after year, I thought.  If I knew then what I know now, I would have seen the signs of trouble.  Within two weeks, it dropped most of its flowers, and has sulked since.

wrinkled pseudobulbs are a sign of trouble

     Two years later, after some reading on proper oncidium care, I finally got suspicious about the state of the plant.  The pseudobulbs on this plant are all strongly wrinkled, which is a sign of dehydration.  While it is natural for old pseudobulbs to wrinkle slightly over time, the newest growth (top right of picture) should be plump.  The wrinkled state of these pbulbs are a clear sign of root trouble.  Another red flag is that the newest pseudobulb is only half the size of the two older ones.  If an orchid is healthy and growing, then new growths should never be smaller.  In the very top picture of this post, you can also see wrinkling on the two leaves at the front.  The wrinkling indicates that the orchid was not getting enough water at the time when those leaves were forming.

     When I finally got around to repotting the plant, the plant fell out of its oversized 8-inch pot... with the roots contained within the shape of a smaller 5" diameter mass.  The rest of the outside pot was filled with badly decayed wood shavings, and contained no roots at all.  Meanwhile in the heart of the root mass I found a smaller 2.5" plastic pot buried around the oldest growth.  This plant has not been properly repotted since it's very first deflasking!

    Lesson learned: always repot an orchid when you first get it.  You never know the true health of a plant until you see the state of its roots, and even reputable seeming vendors can sell orchids which are in bad need of repotting.

After I finished cutting away the old plastic from the root mass, the plant was left with very few healthy roots.  Within weeks of the repotting however, the young growths sprouted a veritable pincushion of new root tips.

A few weeks after re-potting: you can almost hear its sigh of relief

The roots today

Even a couple months after the initial repotting, the plant continues putting out roots.  Some of the initial roots have failed, while others seem to have established themselves (the white roots on the left).  Meanwhile, the leaves on the new growth have since doubled in size. 

I particularly like the purple tinge on the new growths

 I am a little concerned by the black spots on the top of the new leaves though.  I'm not sure what caused this damage, but at least it hasn't progressed since first appearing.

water damage or lampburn?

The plant still has a ways to go before it fully recovers.  Oncidiums bloom from new pseudobulbs, and since the newest pbulb has already aborted an attempt at blooming, I will likely have to wait for a new pseudobulb to grow before I can hope for a flower spike. I guess I will have to be patient before I can hope to see those gorgeous blooms again.

EDIT 3/29: Identified as Wilsonara Pacific Perspective!

1 comment:

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