A Mixed Bag

by Colleen Rochette

Presently, a large portion of the orchids in my collection carry the anonymous (and sometimes abhorred) tag of NOID. Many of them also reside within the truly diverse Oncidium Alliance. Throughout the first year of rearing orchids, I have found myself constantly hungry, seeking out ‘mystery-color’ divisions or mix-n-matches of nameless combinations.

The large, modestly-priced boxes of these babes that I select travel cross country to me from nurseries in California and Hawaii. Because of the thin, fragile nature of Oncidium hybrid roots, they can arrive dry and paper-like if the seller does not take the time to pack them appropriately. In other instances, the small divisions of older specimens that have been freshly separated may have had their leaves and roots cut for shipping purposes. Whoopsie, I ended up with 30 of these plants for $90? A large number of extremely cheap, unknown orchids can help prepare you for growing in a variety of conditions and strengthen your ability to respond to an array of basic needs. The trial-and-error scenarios accumulate pretty quickly. Positively speaking, I would like to call this Colleen’s crash course in orchids.

About 8 months have passed since the frazzled adoptees settled in. The community of clear, plastic pots are filling with roots, continuous new growths and some blooms. Now that the Littles have been stabilized (but not necessarily identified), it is definitely an appropriate time to begin considering giving a home to some full grown Beauties (and maybe a few more Mutts.) Some of these plants have already breezed-in, but due to the recent cold snap the remainder of these ripened gals will be making their way to Brooklyn this week. I cannot wait to introduce you!