This is my Oncidopsis Nelly Isler orchid – or Nelly as I call her.
I purchased her from Ikea in April 2016. I chose this particular plant out of several others partly because she looked a little sickly but she was in bloom when I purchased her (and yes I know you are supposed to select the strongest, but I’m a sucker for rescuing sick plants!)
A few days after I brought her home I decided to repot her in order to check the roots, because her pseudo-bulbs were wrinkly – an indicator that the plant is either not receiving enough water, or unable to absorb water. I was horrified when I saw the roots – it became apparent just how sick she actually was. I unpotted her to find that she had a very weak root system – about 80% of the root system was dead or in a bad condition. She also had sphagnum moss plug in the middle of the roots which was sodden with water, contributing to the root loss. With tweezers at the ready, I spent some time carefully removing all traces of the sphagnum moss. I also had to cut away any roots that were dead (after sterilising my scissors, of course) to prevent further decay and then sprayed the roots with hydrogen peroxide 3%, just to help kill off any nasties.
After repotting, I had to provide a lot of attention to this orchid. She had to be tied to stakes in her pot because her root system was so weak she would lean to one side. If she wasn’t tethered to something, any new roots were at risk of being damaged every time I moved her to check how she was doing. Every day I lightly sprayed her roots with water to help keep her hydrated and placed her in a shaded window. It took a few weeks, but eventually she started to produce new roots which began burying themselves into the bark medium.
Fast forward several months…one day I was checking her over and noticed a few new growths. This is always a positive sign because it means the orchid is being provided the right care and has built up enough energy to start growing again. Within another week or so, I realised I was wrong…it wasn’t two new growths…one was actually a flower spike! Needless to say I danced around my living room, grinning from ear to ear.
Her blooms started to open about 2 weeks ago and the smell is just fantastic! I can’t really describe it properly but there is a definite citrusy vibe going on, and it fills my living room. I absolutely love this orchid.
On a side note, Nelly’s oldest pseudobulb actually came away from the rest of the plant when I un-potted her back in April. However, it looked like it had its own roots that were still viable, so I placed it in a small bowl of water to see if it would absorb anything and plump it. To my surprise, it did!
So after 6 months, baby Nelly now has her very own small plastic pot and has produced two new growths. You can see from the photo that they have roots too.
I will be honest, at the beginning of this process I didn’t think Nelly was going to survive. It just goes to show that with patience, a little care and love, beautiful things grow!