Name: Oncidium Sweet Sugar Seed parent1: Oncidium Aloha Iwanaga
Date acquired: Fall 2000 Pollen parent: Oncidium varicosum
Source: The Apple House (Terre Haute, IN) Season: Fall
Container: 6" clay pot Climate: Intermediate

Onicidum Sweet Sugar

Onicidum Sweet Sugar

Onicidum Sweet Sugar
19 September 2004
Onicidum Sweet Sugar
9 January 2010

This Oncidium was among the first orchids I ever owned.  It was unnamed when I got it, but after an internet search, I'm fairly confident that it's the Sweet Sugar hybrid.  When I first got it, the heavily branched flower stalk was sporting a giant cluster of those small, brilliant yellow flowers.

Unfortunately, when I went to repot it after it finished flowering that first time, I discovered that the potting medium was badly decomposed and as a result most of the roots had succumbed to rot.  This was one of the experiences that led me to believe that it's generally a bad idea to buy orchids from resellers that don't specialize in orchids.  The greenhouse that I acquired this plant from, most likely out of ignorance, had watered the plant so frequently that it had destroyed almost all of its roots.

That wasn't the end of the neglect of this orchid, though.  It moved with me up to Chicago and experienced a couple droughts.  By then I was ready to give up on the plant, but I was convinced to keep it, and after nursing it back to health for the past couple years, it finally put up some flowers again.  This is a good example of how tough orchids are.  They have an incredible tolerance for abuse, and although they may look dreadful at the end of it, they'll still survive.  It's getting them to look good again that's the real challenge.

This plant survived living in my dim apartment in Plainfield for three years, but never flowered during that time.  As soon as I got my house, though, it was right back in bloom.  In my cool back room, this plant opened flowers in early November and they're still going in January.

Click on the thumbnails to view detailed images.

(1)  International Orchid Register:

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Last modified 9 January 2010
Copyright © 2010 Michael Shevlin