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new Oncidium catatante "Pacific Sun Spots" bad smell, mass of roots....

This is a discussion on new Oncidium catatante "Pacific Sun Spots" bad smell, mass of roots.... within the Oncidium/ Intergeneric Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; Hello, I am very new to orchids, I bought a moth orchid about 2 months ...

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  1. #1
    tash is offline Junior Member
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    Default new Oncidium catatante "Pacific Sun Spots" bad smell, mass of roots....

    Hello, I am very new to orchids, I bought a moth orchid about 2 months ago from a home improvement store for $1 since it was not in bloom. I keep it next to my violets and it's growing and doing well so today when I saw a large orchid at the grocery store for $5 I brought it home.

    The tag says it's Oncidium catatante "Pacific Sun Spots". After I got it home I took the inner pot out and saw that there was some water in the outer pot. I dumped that water since I know my moth doesn't like to sit in water for long, when I dumped it I smelled a bad smell, like a standing water putrid smell. I noticed that the inner pot had coco fiber wrapped around it and it smelled so I took it off and removed the roots from the inner pot (which only has one nickle sized hole in the bottom). I rinsed the roots in cool water (I have well water so no chlorine or fluoride in my tap water, but it is hard). There is still a smell. There does not appear to be any growing medium. Just one large tangle of roots. The roots do seem to be healthy and not mushy.

    What should I do about the potting situation? How do I untangle the roots? Should I?




  2. #2
    coeruleo's Avatar
    coeruleo is offline Night Bloomer
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    ok... what you have there is a very pretty plant while blooming, nice orange/redish/greenish flowers. one of my faves. and one of the oncidiums that has given me some real trouble growing it. i keep mine in a south facing window. they do like a bit more light than phals. yours is very overgrown. it is growing in sphagnum moss most likely, the roots have just completely obscured it. which makes repotting very annoying. i have bought a few other oncids in this condition. i have never had one survive when i just stuck it in a larger pot and filled around it. your plant is basically 'mounted' but on a ball of moss. rotting moss most likely. i would try to pull as much out of it as you can from the bottom or by gently untangling the roots. you can soak it first in water for a few hours to loosen things up. and after the moss is removed, give it a soak in weak bleach water. it only takes like a teaspoon in a sink of water to sterilize, so not too strong is ok. the existing root ball has been growing on the moss-mount, up against the plastic pot. but that is still a huge amount of air to the roots. almost as much as being mounted in a high humidity place. repotting it could and probably will harm those roots somewhat. i would wait until those new growths are forming good roots, if possible. and perhaps place some pebbles or something in the bottom of the pot to prop the plant a little higher so those new growths don't get pinched. i have decided the next time i get one like this, i will gently untangle roots and remove the moss and try semi-hydro. another option is to remove the moss, make a moss-ball and do the same thing to it, using a slightly bigger pot. take the pot, cram it tight with the sopping wet moss, and allow to dry. it will form a brick. wrap the plant/roots around it and place back into the pot. mine has been very slow growing and fussy. but the flowers are beautiful. i have heard of others telling theirs was fast growing and sturdier. i may get another. mine was in rough shape when it arrived, wrinkly, and it took repotting harshly coming out of the moss to a bark mix.

  3. #3
    ksriramkumar is online now Senior Member
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    thats a good healthy looking oncidium. concur with excellent suggestions from coeruleo. keep us posted on how it goes

  4. #4
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    Welcome. Very good advice from Coeruleo.

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    tash is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by coeruleo View Post
    ... the existing root ball has been growing on the moss-mount, up against the plastic pot. but that is still a huge amount of air to the roots. almost as much as being mounted in a high humidity place. repotting it could and probably will harm those roots somewhat. i would wait until those new growths are forming good roots, if possible. and perhaps place some pebbles or something in the bottom of the pot to prop the plant a little higher so those new growths don't get pinched. I have decided the next time i get one like this, i will gently untangle roots and remove the moss and try semi-hydro. another option is to remove the moss, make a moss-ball and do the same thing to it, using a slightly bigger pot. take the pot, cram it tight with the sopping wet moss, and allow to dry. it will form a brick. wrap the plant/roots around it and place back into the pot.
    I have it soaking now and will try to detangle this after noon. After I get the old moss out should I just stuff the roots in the inner pot? I don't have much medium, I have the cocoa it came with (was mostly decoration, doesn't seem rotted but could use a bleach soak), some more finely shredded coco, peat, sand, vermiculite, and compost. I don't have any more orchid pots, just the one it came with and the one the moth is in.

    What is semi-hydro?

    I guess I don't fully understand what to do after detangling/bleach soak. I have to go now but will come back later.

  6. #6
    tash is offline Junior Member
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    Is there a trick to detangling the roots and getting the moss out? I have been at it for over an hour and have barely gotten any moss out.

  7. #7
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    yeah, i pointed out it is annoying... just be gentle, carefully pull out all you can. once you make a bit of a dent through the roots, it will go faster. the bleach can just be a short dip in the water and then rinse off. but a minute or two to let some soak into all the moss that may be left. then pot up in bark mix, or whatever you plan on doing.

    ---------- Post Merged at 09:04 PM ----------

    semi-hydro is a growing method where you place the roots into a pot filled with little special clay pellets that absorb water and stay damp. i have not tried this yet myself, but there are several posts here about trying it.

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    tash is offline Junior Member
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    ok, I tried again last night and got a hole eventually. I used a skewer to help me pull it out. reminded me of the descriptions of Egyptians mummifying people. I think a small crochet hook would have worked better but I don't know where my daughter put hers. I think I did hurt some roots, I hope that it can recover. I guess I got maybe 75% out last night. I will try again later and then do a bleach dip. Still not sure what to put it in. Would the coco fiber I have work. It's the kind that comes in a compressed block and you rehydrate. Could that work at least temporarily until I get something more suitable? Is the pot it came with ok if I can stuff it all back in there? (basically do I want the roots compressed like that?)

    Also on the light. When you say it likes things brighter do you mean it won't be happy in an east facing window with my other orchid and my violets? I only have east and west windows, nothing south (I want to put in a bay window on the south side just for stuff like this, but don't know if/when that will be). Would it be happy outside until it gets cold? If so would it prefer a covered east facing porch, or a uncovered west facing deck?

    Thank you!

  9. #9
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    It can sit out of the pot for a while as you wait for good answers to your questions and collect what you need for it. Just dip it in a bowl of water every couple of days for a little while for a drink and it should be fine for a few days or a week or so. They are tougher than we think, as long as we don't rot them out!

    I personally don't really know, but I suspect it could use a little larger pot and that others will have good recommendations as to media for it.

  10. #10
    78Terp's Avatar
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    I have an oncidium, a $3 grocery store rescue, sitting on my kitchen, east facing window sill. It is in s/h. It has grown 3 new growths this season and is now in spike. I am guessing your east window would be fine for yours.

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