Orchids forum: Icky aroma?

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Sep 26, 2015 1:16 PM CST
My most vivid experience with orchids was to go into a whole room of them at the NW Flower Show years ago. I was about knocked over by the rancid smell - reminded me of old gym socks - and I quickly turned tail. Was this just a fluke? Too many divergent smells together? Perhaps whatever scent they have just doesn't sit well with me? I'm also not a fan of lilies for the same reason. So may just be my nose. But, I'm often intrigued by the strong interest in orchids and trying to 'get' it. What draws you to this plant? No offense intended, just curious.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 26, 2015 2:06 PM CST
I am drawn to orchids because some of them have long lasting blooms like Phalaenopsis, blooms lasting up to 6 months at times. Then there are some with really wonderful lilac scent like Zygopetalums, or interesting scents..smells like chocolate for Oncidium 'Sharry Baby', like coconut for Maxillaria tenuifolia.

A lot are not scented, but they have such beautiful blooms that are really lovely and sometimes comical. Dracula orchid blooms look like monkey blooms Big Grin but it needs cooler conditions to grow. I guess it depends how you look at it..after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

It does take a lot of discipline and understanding of the culture of these plants. If you are after instant bloom gratification, this is not the one for you. If you want easy growing, it depends on your existing microclimate and discipline. A lot of times, people think that being tropical plants, they need daily watering. But it is not often the case. It varies from orchid to orchid. Understanding which ones are epiphytes and terrestrial, their temperature and light needs, watering and humidity, sympodial and monopodial growth pattern.

I used to think I cannot grow even one, but after trial and error, further reading, and following discussions here in ATP, I found which ones I can best deal with. Maybe I love the challenge it poses to grow them, it is really heartbreaking at times when after a long wait it still fails..just got to learn from it and move on. Smiling
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
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ctcarol
Sep 26, 2015 2:53 PM CST
There are a few that do smell bad. Bulbophyllum (some) comes to mind, but many smell delicious.
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
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hawkarica
Sep 26, 2015 3:26 PM CST
Only one genus of orchids has a reputation for smelling badly ( Bulbophyllum) and there are 800 genera world wide. It must have been your lucky day. In addition to that, there are more than 125,000 registered hybrids, making orchids the most numerous plant in the kingdom. They grow naturally everywhere except in major deserts and artic areas. As Terev pointed out, many orchids have no scent, others have wonderful scents and a few of the Bulbos smell like old socks. Some are fragrant at night only. It depends on the pollinator.

I used to grow roses but the black spot in humid Florida convinced me to try something else. Orchids are much easier than roses, at least in my location. Also, the variety of beautiful blooms are unmatched. They are for the most part portable so you can share them with friends. Let me post just 6 flower pictures here and tell me how you cannot fall in love with these plants:
Thumb of 2015-09-26/hawkarica/a72ace Thumb of 2015-09-26/hawkarica/402653 Thumb of 2015-09-26/hawkarica/a1a0bc
Thumb of 2015-09-26/hawkarica/ba4856 Thumb of 2015-09-26/hawkarica/b3fcb0 Thumb of 2015-09-26/hawkarica/075834

Jim
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Sep 26, 2015 3:30 PM CST

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There may have been a Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis on display, that one in bloom can small pretty bad. But most other Orchids besides certain Bulbos smell downright heavenly.
I think if you can grow African Violets, you certainly can grow Orchids!
Personally if I were to start picking up some Orchids, I would buy a nice Fall flowering Cattleya, preferably in bud or bloom, and take it from there. You can enjoy the blooms with a nice scent now ( many of them smell wonderful). Take it outside next Summer, water and fertilize with the rest of you garden and enjoy another pretty show next Fall.
Oh and Happy Birthday!!🎂
[Last edited by Ursula - Sep 26, 2015 4:12 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 26, 2015 5:12 PM CST
Deb, I'll add my song to the chorus. I'm sure you smelled one of the stinky Bulbo's at the show you went to, and for sure, it is a turn-off for me, too. I would never grow one because I just can't stand the smell of stinky flowers or the appeal of growing them. Also I'd have to wonder - what dummy would bring a stinky Bulbo in bloom to a show? That's in the manual of "How to drive away your customers". On the other hand, if you don't like the smell of lilies, some orchids might turn you off, even if they didn't smell bad to other people. They can be very fragrant.

But I have nearly 100 orchids, and scents ranging from jasmine-like to fruity to spice cookies. It depends upon the type and cultivar. The one that smells like spice cookies attracts the raccoons when it's in bloom, so I have to bring it indoors. The variety and range of scents is truly amazing, almost as great as the astonishing array of sizes, shapes and colors of orchids. There's everything from plain, elegant white ones that look like modern art, to the most outrageous marked, frilled, fringed and floofed flowers you'll ever see. Multi-colors, stripes, dots, the full catastrophe, you might say.
Thumb of 2015-09-27/dyzzypyxxy/4863fb Thumb of 2015-09-27/dyzzypyxxy/94e005
I remember with amazement my mother saying "Orchids have no scent" because she loved fragrant flowers. Must be because my Dad bought her corsage after corsage of the wrong type of orchid (obviously).

Let's just say that if you do venture into growing orchids, be sure to smell before you buy, so you get one you're sure you like. There are lots with very soft, subtle fragrance and some with none at all. My favorites like the white one above only release their perfume at night. Their parent plant is nicknamed the "Lady of the Night" orchid.



Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Sep 26, 2015 9:16 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Sep 26, 2015 6:15 PM CST
Andy's website had a little poem addressing Bulbo scent awhile back. I don't remember it now, but the gist of it was that the more red, the worse they smell...the other colors are ok.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Sep 26, 2015 6:46 PM CST

Moderator

These blooms are colored trying to resemble rotten meat to attract carrion flies, and the scent goes along with that. Yum! Smiling Anything for a good pollinator!
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Sep 26, 2015 7:10 PM CST
Ursula, You may appreciate this. Katrine gave Melissa a quick run down on Ca. orchid growing. I know she goes to the big shows on the East coast, and I'm sure she gets as frustrated as I do regarding the differences. I think Melissa bought a plant from Equagenara today. They had a good selection, but I didn't have my buying shoes on today. I'm down to "the strong will survive".
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
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Ursula
Sep 26, 2015 8:02 PM CST

Moderator

Carol, yes, nice to hear Katrin is still around in your area! She hasn't been here in NJ in a long time. Smiling
Regarding Ecuagenera, I have learned to only buy the Lowland Orchids/ warm growers or perhaps some Hybrids from them. I will eventually just kill the cool growers....
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Sep 26, 2015 8:04 PM CST
I try for "temp. tolerant"
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Sep 26, 2015 8:07 PM CST

Moderator

Sounds reasonable! Smiling
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Sep 26, 2015 8:14 PM CST
Normally, our temps aren't that high, but then we get those heat waves and it hit 102 in my orchid shack last week...death for any cool growers. Of course, any dormantcy is a problem too.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Aug 24, 2016 2:19 AM CST
Ursula said:...I think if you can grow African Violets, you certainly can grow Orchids!
....

Hi Ursula, I am new to the Orchids forum. I have been looking and thinking about grow some orchid at home for quite a while... every time I got to the point of getting this one, getting that one, the deadly condition of my desert-like area (hot and dry in summer, cold and grey in winter) always somehow hit me to forget all for the reason that I don't want to fight nature and see my plants do the same... Now I run over your saying and realize that I do grow an AV for a while. This year I have moved it to a new spot and it did grow very well with two sets of full bloom already. As you said I think I can claim being able to grow AV, but still need sort of surety for growing orchids... The first one getting into my mind was Vanda (blue), but it's gone for the requirement of frequent shower thing and air circulation... then there were some orchids in this forum re-tinkered my fire of growing them, but they were passed again for the similar reasons. Recently I had chance run into Zygo a bit and found its flower and fragrance charming to me (and other orchid growers). Most importantly it seems that Zygo only like/need bright light and won't take direct sunlight... so it may suit the spot my AV stands now: behind window facing south with outside trees blocking direct sunlight and a large tray of pebble stone & water (originally set for a fiddle leaf fig now moved to a direct sunlight spot)... If this (Zygo) sounds right for me, where can I get a good one? Thanks in advance for all your advice.
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
[Last edited by fiat - Aug 24, 2016 2:41 AM (+)]
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Aug 24, 2016 7:36 AM CST

Moderator

Fiat, welcome!
I had to look up the average temperatures and rainfall for Modesta. The good part is that you have no frost in Winter! Would you be able to grow outside year around, perhaps in a shady spot during your hot Summers? Or grow outside in Winter and bring your Orchid inside during the Summer?


Regarding your Zygo, I think others here are better equipped to advise you, some of our members here grow Zygos/similar hybrids and or have similar conditions. I am not sure if the amount of light in your set up is sufficient for blooming.

Added - I just saw a nice ad from Carter & Holmes on my Fb page showing a pretty Zygo!


[Last edited by Ursula - Aug 24, 2016 7:47 AM (+)]
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Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Aug 24, 2016 4:09 PM CST
Much thanks, Ursula. First I don't know if I can grow orchid outside year around here, but I have intended to grow inside only... It also worries me that I may not give enough bright light for the Zygo I like, but (don't know if this comparison's right) it sure give my AV enough though...
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Aug 25, 2016 7:00 AM CST

Moderator

Surely you have googled Zygopetalums in the meanwhile.
Here is link
http://www.guide-to-houseplants.com/zygopetalum-orchid.html
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Aug 25, 2016 6:25 PM CST
Ursula, Thanks for the link (the best care guide for Zygo, I think).
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat

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