Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rescue plants can grow in the wrong season

Oncidium onustum grows from Mexico to Ecuador and Peru. It is warm to hot growing and needs a complete dry winter rest from after blooming until new growth starts.

The genus Oncidium contains 600 species from throughout Central America and South America. They grow in a wide variety of environments. If you know a little about where the species grows, the do very well in cultivation.

An orchid friend and I were puttering in her greenhouse looking for plants to repot or bugs; generally having a good time chatting. She has three divisions of this plant and two of them were blooming. This one didn't look so good so we pulled it out of the pot to check the roots.

There were no live roots at all on the plant. It had lost them due to over watering and the division was too small, just a single pseudobulb. Earlier in the year it had started a new growth, but the roots growing from that were also dead.

All this occurred about a month ago. My intent was to look the up the plant and they put it in the backbulb section of my greenhouse. I didn't do this right away. I put the unpotted plant on my desk and promptly forgot about it.

I finally decided to take care of the nagging guilt I got every time I sat at my desk to take care of something else. I picked it up for a close inspection and saw that the new growth was trying to get restarted. There was a single, short, green-tipped root!

Now I have a new problem. The other Oncidium onustum plants will be starting the dry winter rest soon. Does being rootless count as dry winter rest? Is it in a new growth state out of season?

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