Friday, November 7, 2008

Oncidium sphacelatum - orchid species challenge

Oncidium sphacelatum grows from Mexico south to Venezuela in low altitude rain forest. It is warm to hot growing, but does very well intermediate. It is giant sized and grows 6-foot long pendulous spikes.

As far as culture goes, this is considered a beginner plant, but not a good indoor plant because of the plant size and the length of the flower spike. Some people rig up a trellis and tie up the spike as it grows so that it is manageable.

This plant was a gift from a fellow orchidist. It was badly overgrown and in serious need of dividing and she frankly didn't want to deal with it. It was in pretty good health with some minor cold damage on the ends of some leaves.

I thought seriously of keeping the plant intact after seeing a picture of one of these beauties en situ. However, as I stood in the greenhouse I realized there was just no place for it. The greenhouse is not all that large to begin with and it is quite full already.

Dividing proceeded over a couple of days. It was very intertwined so I went slowly and carefully. I tried to get pieces of at least 3 pseudobulbs but I wasn't always able to do that.

The result was a great piece for my collection and a bunch of pieces to sell or trade. If you are interested in a piece, check the plant list.

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