Severely Dehydrated Pseudobulb on 'Sharry Baby' Oncidium
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Severely Dehydrated Pseudobulb on 'Sharry Baby' Oncidium
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Old 07-21-2021, 03:50 AM
plantparent4655 plantparent4655 is offline
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Severely Dehydrated Pseudobulb on 'Sharry Baby' Oncidium
Unhappy Severely Dehydrated Pseudobulb on 'Sharry Baby' Oncidium

I've had my 'Sharry Baby' Oncidium for a little while now, and the pseudobulb has slowly become severely dehydrated and very wrinkled. It's bowed like a potato chip, and it's very hard. It's still very green, and all of the leaves are fine, and it's even putting out a second flower spike! It's currently in full bloom, and all buds opened without a problem. I've been watering frequently, as it's indoors and I have low humidity. Today, however, I examined the roots to find the possible issue with the dehydration, and found the roots are wet and squishy, but the bark was nearly dry. What is causing this? I also noticed that the flowers have hardly any scent, which is disappointing because I've heard they smell like chocolate... I repotted it with a mix of bark and sphagnum moss to help hold moisture. I've refrained from cutting the mushy roots because I don't want to cause root shock and lose the perfect bloom. The roots are the typical white/light beige color. There is no blackening or curious colors even on the mushy roots. Any advice on how to keep this baby healthy? If I were to guess, I would say she is 3-4 years old. If that helps at all. This is the first Oncidium of any kind that I've owned so I'm still learning. Cheers.
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Old 07-21-2021, 05:06 AM
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SouthPark SouthPark is offline
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Sometimes ----- if the water stagnates (doesn't move much or at all) within the medium, then the roots can drown --- not enough oxygen.

And if the roots drown and die ----- then the dead roots can't get water into the plant. So the plant can just dehydrate after that. The leaves are still staying hydrated maybe ------ as it is drawing whatever it can from the bulbs.

You mentioned that the roots are wet and squishy ----- but also mentioned that the bark is nearly dry. Hard to say what's going on there. Is the bark nearly dry because you recently decided to let the bark dry out a bit for a few days?

Also - has this orchid been growing in the same spot for that time you mentioned ---- about 3 to 4 years? When you mentioned you've had this one for a little while ------ how long roughly? This is to get an idea about roughly how long it has been growing in that location. If it had been growing there for 3 to 4 years in the same spot --- without issues and no significant changes to the growing method or external growing conditions ----- and it then abruptly develops root issues, then at least we know more about the history. Sometimes - the effect of organisms attacking the roots could be considered (eg. fungal). Hard to say right now what happened.

Any recent change in conditions - such as very cold and very wet for a long time?

Also - regardless of whether the bark was dry or not ...... one thing we know about bark is that ---- if it is allowed to get very dry, then dry bark can repel water. So watering the bark can mean the water running straight off it - and won't penetrate the bark to 'wet' it.

Another thing that is known ----- is that under some conditions, fungus can grow on the bark, and the fungus (with cilia) can repel water. So if an orchid pot (with bark media) feels unexpectedly light (a short time after watering ----- after water has drained out of the pot) ----- then it will be necessarily to check the media.

Last edited by SouthPark; 07-21-2021 at 12:45 PM..
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:18 AM
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Shadeflower Shadeflower is offline
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Severely Dehydrated Pseudobulb on 'Sharry Baby' Oncidium

hey plant,
I agree with the above but need a picture to make further assessments. Sharry baby roots are very thin so it can be tricky to determine if they are still ok. A whitish color is a good sign but I'm more concerned about other things you have mentioned. Like an orchid can generally recover from losing all its roots which happens quite frequently from store bought orchids.

But in this situation I say we need a picture (which always helps) as to me what I am picturing is one potato sized bulb - with mushy roots - and 2 flower spikes coming out of the one bulb.

If that is the case, that is not good.

To some this might not sound too bad but let me explain, one single bulb would not have the energy to produce 2 flower spikes. What that means is that one big sharry baby plant was brought to flower and then divided into individual bulbs with a flower spike on each to sell.
Again this might not sound too concerning but to me it is.

A sharry baby needs a minimum of 3 bulbs in order to have the energy to produce a 4th. With just one bulb the plant can grow but it takes years longer to gather the required energy.

If you add no roots to the mix the plant will be using up all its reserves for the flower spikes and will have no energy left to grow afterwards. Plants that lack roots and are flowering often lack scent when they are supposed to have one. One thing I have learnt by now is that just because an orchid is flowering does not mean it isn't stressed.

I personally doubt a single bulb with no roots that is diverting all its energy reserves into producing 2 flower spikes will have the energy to carry on growing after that.

It is a recent sales tactic I have seen which I am obviously not a fan of as it's done for a fast easy sale but the plant cannot ever physically recover.

Maybe I am jumping the ball, need a picture to confirm but one sharry baby bulb is generally not enough to grow a sharry baby. With a Cattleya it can be done but I have never managed with an oncidium.

Last edited by Shadeflower; 07-21-2021 at 09:25 AM..
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baby, bark, oncidium, pseudobulb, roots

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