Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust
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  #1  
Old 10-26-2018, 11:45 AM
JScott JScott is offline
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Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust
Default Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust

I've had this plant for close to two years. It has just not been very vigorous or robust. It has grown some, it grew a new pseudobulb, but it is smaller than the previous one. It has three growths, and the leaf yellowed and fell of of the oldest growth, which is presumably only two years old, and my other Oncidiums keep their leaves much longer than that. It did bloom, and it had six buds, but all but one blasted.

I grew it outside in the summer and I grow it under lights in the winter. It started to spike in about July, so I brought it inside where it is cooler, as I have noticed flowers have better color when the buds develop inside where it is cooler rather than in the sweltering summer heat. I do this regularly with my Oncidiums, and I've never had the buds blast as a result of that, so although I guess it is possible that suddenly changing the growing conditions while it was in spike caused the bud blast, I'm not totally convinced that was the reason it happened. It is also not rooted very well in the pot. It has enough roots to sustain the plant without the bulbs shriveling, but it is kinda loose in the pot and wobbles a little.

Is the problem possibly a temperature thing? One of the parents of this plant is Odontioda Joe's Drum, so it is at least 50% cool growing genetically. Is the problem maybe that I just cannot keep it cool enough?

Is anybody else growing this plant, and has anybody else found it to less robust than some of the other Oncidium intergenerics? Any suggestions would be appreciated. It has two new growths just starting, maybe it will do better this round.
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Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust-20181026_091320-jpg   Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust-20181026_091323-jpg   Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust-20181026_091341-jpg   Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust-20181026_091351-jpg   Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust-20181026_091356-jpg  

Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust-20181026_091956-jpg   Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust-img_20180702_115504_545-jpg  
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2018, 03:38 PM
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Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust Male
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If it doesn't have a robust root system, it likely isn't getting vital nutrients and water resources in appropriate amounts (even if the bulbs aren't shriveling). Honestly, without any specifics in your post to help guide evidence based suggestions, the only thing I can say is focus on those roots.

Once the new growths start putting out new roots, that's the time to repot, if you think there's any chance the plant needs it. Ideally you'd repot in late winter or early spring, so if you think the plant will be fine until then, and you suspect that it will start another round of new growths around that time, plan to wait.

When new roots are developing, most of these need (or at least tolerate) surprisingly frequent watering. So, I usually stick to fast draining mixes with just a bit of moisture retention, then water several times a week or more (depending on conditions) until it looks like the growth is nearing maturity and no new roots are forming. Then I allow things to dry out just a bit more (cutting back to watering once or twice a week).

Water quality is important. You can use rain, reverse osmosis or other pure water sources if your tap is hard, contains mineral salts, or is chlorinated/treated. Just be sure to mix in some tap with the pure water and use low doses of fertilizer to return some minerals to your water.

I also recommend using supplements for struggling plants, at least to give them a better chance at recovery. Products like Superthrive and various seaweed extracts can help stimulate root growth (and protect the few roots that are available). There are also microbial innoculants that can help prevent infections from pathogens that might weaken or destroy the root system, and in some cases, may even promote additional root growth.
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Old 10-26-2018, 05:19 PM
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Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust Female
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It's hard to add anything to the above post. But, I have noticed that some of my oncidiums just are not as robust as others even when they're grown under exactly the same conditions. I don't know why that is I don't know if there's something they need I'm not giving them but I do notice there's a difference.
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Old 10-26-2018, 09:59 PM
JScott JScott is offline
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Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust
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I grow it in fine Orchiata (like I grow all my Oncidium types), and I fertilize with a time release fertilizer. I treat my plants once a month with KelpMax (one tablespoon per gallon of water), but maybe I'll try giving this one a slightly stronger solution the next time or two, and see if that helps. In the summer when it's outside, I water every day, and in the winter time when it's under the lights, I water every other day, or every third day if it doesn't quite look ready, but I use tap water.

When I bought it, it was growing in sphag, and I feel like switching Oncidiums from sphag to bark is sometimes harder on them than it is on other types, but it's been in bark now long enough that it should have had time to adjust. I can see that it has roots (I grow in clear pots), but the pot isn't just packed with roots like most of my other Oncidiums.

I'll make some of the changes you suggested, and see if these two new growths that are just starting do better. Hopefully it will. I'm limited on space, and I don't usually fuss over plants that don't want to thrive for me. If a plant won't grow well in the conditions I am able to provide, I typically find it a new home to make room for something else that will thrive for me. But I just love the blooms on this one so much, I really want it to work out. Thank you for your advice, it is greatly appreciated, and I'll give it a shot and see how it goes from there.

But do you think the temperature could be a factor? This winter, I'll grow it closer to the glass window where it stays cooler, and see if that maybe helps. This whole thing just perplexes me. I have a lot of Oncidium intergenerics, they are among my favorites, and they all thrive for me, except for this one stubborn little guy haha.
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Old 10-27-2018, 09:31 AM
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Aliceara (Degarmoara) Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink' not very robust Male
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Some plants are more sensitive to water quality than others, so it might be worth trying purer water for this plant. This is especially true if your tap water contains chlorine/chloramine.

While I don't know anything about this specific hybrid and clone, most of these named clones that go into production tend to be vigorous in the right conditions. I'd be surprised if this clone is inherently weak or troublesome, though obviously I won't rule it out.

Rather, what tends to happen is that once they've been stressed or had a set back, like many orchids, it can be tough to recover from. Some plants are worse than others in this respect. It could be that the plant was stressed in the process of going to a retailer to your home. It could be that the change of potting mix triggered a decline, or perhaps it was repotted before it was ready (i.e. when feasible, you should limit repotting unless you see active new roots starting).

Obviously temperature could be a factor, but I don't have enough information to make a determination on that, so you'll need to use your intuition. For one, I don't know enough about this hybrid and have no experience with it. I also don't know any specifics about the exact range of day time and night time temperatures and the specific duration of time the plant experienced them. There are other factors that come into play there as well, such as how much light the plant is exposed to and the humidity level while things are "hot".
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