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Sticky Secretions. Is it sap?

This is a discussion on Sticky Secretions. Is it sap? within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I'm fairly new to growing orchids, and while I have limited experienve with the different ...

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  1. #1
    TMurphy is offline Junior Member
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    Default Sticky Secretions. Is it sap?

    I'm fairly new to growing orchids, and while I have limited experienve with the different varities, I've had success with phalaenopsis, oncidium, and dendrobiums for many years. Last year I got my first Cymbidium, and have it in my office window with plenty of light. The plant seems to be doing very well, but it's got some sticky droplets on a new bloom spike that I'm not so sure about.

    The leaves surrounding spike for the bloom is the only part of the plant that appears effected. The drops are primarily along the ridge of leaf, but not limited to that area. I don't see any signs of aphids, mites, or scale, and all the leaves appear very healthy. It's even put out a good bit of new growth this past summer.

    Any idea what this is and if it's a problem??? This is a great looking plant and I don't want to lose it.
    Thanks,
    Todd
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  2. #2
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    wogga is offline OCD - Orchids, Cycling, and Drinking
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    Ive had the same thing happen a lot, to many plants. In one case, it was actually from ants biting the spike to get to the fluids inside. Every other time, though, it seemed to just be a natural secretion. I dont know the science behind it, but i know that it never caused my plants problems, and the ones that had it werent any worse for the wear. Dont worry.

  3. #3
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    This is a common occurence, not only with orchids but other plants as well. The sticky secretion is sometimes referred to a honeydew. Ants often feed on it, as will aphids if they get the opportunity. It is normal, and you should just let it be, unless you do get some ants.

    Nice looking bloom spike.

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    Tindomul1of9 is offline Senior Member
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    I have been getting the same thing on my Oncidium 'Sharry Baby'. I didn't see any infestations of anything, so I just let it be and chaulked it up to a preview of sweet the blooms will be

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    ditto to ehat Diane has to say

  6. #6
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    My Brassias do that, I just rinse it off when I water.

  7. #7
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    It looks like sugar droplets... if you conjure up some courage and taste it, the sap should be pretty sweet...

    -Pat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahon View Post
    It looks like sugar droplets... if you conjure up some courage and taste it, the sap should be pretty sweet...

    -Pat
    i did that exact thing. i was confused
    because i had thought it was a water droplette, but the water should have evaporated, and, you know the rest.

    since then i've just ignored it, but i have no idea why it happens.

  9. #9
    TMurphy is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks everyone. This puts me at ease.

    And Mahon, was right, it is pretty sweet. It has a strange aftertaste though.

    Todd

  10. #10
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    Some nasty critters secrete 'honeydew' and it can become a natural reaction to freak when you see the droplets, either on the plant or your table.

    But orchids support their flower spikes with essentially a hydraulic system filled with the sugar-water that feeds the plant. This is why they need more water when in spike and bloom. Scotty, I need more power to the engines!

    If you look at the flower spike of many genera, you'll see nodes or bracts. These actually serve as little check valves that help maintain the osmotic pressure of the nutrient-filled water that gets pushed up the spike. As the diameter of the spike narrows, the internal osmotic pressure increases, and it's common for a bit of sugar-water to seep or get pushed out from the bracts or other joints in the flower.

    It's always good to check for bugs, but a blooming flower creates its own drops of honeydew quite naturally. Understanding the process is good, though, because it reminds us to provide a bit more water to a plant while it's setting its spike and blooming. Keep that power going to the engines!

    McJulie

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