Orchids that you can do without

xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)August 19, 2010

I was inspired by a thread on another forum named 'detested orchids'. I'll use a more 'friendly' heading for this thread! Basically, we've had several threads talking about what your favourite genera or species are. Since it seems that most of us are trying to, or have tried at some point to scale down our collections, what are plants that are the first to go to the 'trade away' or 'give away' box? Are there any orchids that you find boring, uninspiring, or just plain ugly? Ever find yourself in a situation where a friend or relative is handing you a plant to resuscitate, and while on the outside your smiling, on the inside you're cringing? Please share!

(note - this is meant to be a lighthearted sharing of differences in aesthetic taste, rather than heavy handed bashing of any genera!)


I'll start. I find things with pouches generally a bit boring, with phrags > multifloral paphs > paphs. I'm not sure why, since I know growers who won't even glance at anything that is pouchless! Honestly, I've tried really hard to get interested, but it just hasn't taken. My eyes just kind of glass over at OS meetings when my friends start passionately discussing why something should be crossed with malipoense, or the wonders of paph bellatulum.

In addition, I don't care much for the oncidinae, particularly the yellow-brown ones. As someone else pointed out, maybe it's the similarity to spotted bananas...

And finally, anything that is too small to be seen without some sort of magnifying glass is not for me. If I spend a year trying to get a thing to bloom, I'd better darn well be able to see the silly thing when it does happen!

No offense intended to growers of paphs, oncidiums or little microscopic lepanthes of course. I'm sure lots of people find the angraecoids I grow colourless, bland, and boring!

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cjwatson(Z8 FL)

I can do very well without Bulbos. And some Oncidium Alliance plants. Bulldog Paphs, although I like other Paphs. And then, of course, space hog plants of any genus although I have kept a few favorites -- so far.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 1:25PM
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no offence is intended to you, Calvin. I don't choose to irritate anyone.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 1:27PM
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Hybrid Phals and Oncidium alliance hybrids.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 1:56PM
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ttkidd(Toronto ON)

I suppose I find Oncidium to be the least desirable overall. I find neither the flower, nor the foliage to be particularly attractive. I find the flowers small and splotchy, the leaves spot far too easily, and I find it difficult to keep the pseudobulbs from wrinkling. Probably culture issues on my part.

Bulbos would be another less than favorite. The flowers and foliage can be gorgeous, but the few that I've seen have had flowers that smell suspiciously like rotting meat. Not something I really want stinking up my home. If I had a greenhouse I'd be more willing to try these.

Harlequin phals are another no-no for me, mostly for the asymmetrical splotching in the flowers. A lot of hybrid catts rub me the wrong way for this reason too. I prefer symmetry and simplicity in flowers, with mostly monochromatic or complementary colours.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 2:06PM
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Have to say Bulbos. and the oncidium mentioned Hybrid Phals. kinda depends ..

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 3:07PM
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i have no interest in growing bulbos but i love looking at the pictures of their flowers and at the plants when some member at the orchid society brings them for show & tell. I don't really care for oncidiums and phals and yet i have them. everytime i look at them i wonder to myself:"why did I buy them: what was i thinking??" and yet i have not given them away. i am seriously thinking about house cleaning now. these threads are good as a deterrant for me - it is like a reality check!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 3:17PM
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So help me god, If I ever see another Rossioglossum, I'll spray it with round up! Butt ugly plants!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 7:04PM
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highjack(z6 KY)

What can I do without?

Hybrid Phals with the very long spikes. I like balance in a plant - when the spike sits 3' about the foliage, no thanks.

Catts with the very round blooms and splash petal catts - I like the shape of the species and splash petals remind me of what my cat vomits - yuck.

Oncidiums in general - I hate the very tiny blooms which drop on the floor and I have to pick them up off of a gravel floor.

Dens from biggibum or the parishii/aphylum type - I like Dens with twisty, hairy, funky type blooms.

Most Paphs except a very few species - don't know why I don't like them and do like Phrags.

Bulbos with the VERY long internodes - hard to contain and don't wish to have tree trunks for them to ramble around. I much prefer the compact growers - neat and tidy appeals to me.

For people who think all Bulbos stink like rotten meat many of them actually have a good fragrance or no fragrance at all. They have gotten a bad rap because of one family of stinkers :>)


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 7:24AM
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jamcm(Ottawa Area, Canada)

Oh, Calvin, I thought we could be friends, but if you don't like things with pouches, I just don't think it will work. Although you'd probably get along quite well with my sister, who babysat my plants while I was away recently. She said my Paphs gave her the creeps. Ditto on the Psychopsis.

On a slightly more serious note, I'm with Tyler on the Harlequin Phals. I've yet to find one I really liked. I like the spotting, but the flowers themselves usually just look wrong to me. I can also leave the run of the mill Phal hybrids. I love the species, though.

Oncidiums, Phal Dendrobiums and Bulldog Paphs bore me, but there's no strong feelings there.

I also agree with Brooke on the parishii/aphyllum type of Dendrobiums - I don't find flowers on dead-looking sticks to be an attractive thing. But give me a couple of years. I used to hate all things with pouches too...


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 8:13AM
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"So help me god, If I ever see another Rossioglossum, I'll spray it with round up! Butt ugly plants!"

Hey, terpguy! Some butts are quite pretty! :)


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 9:02AM
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LOVE pendulous oncidium or related, in cool tones with tiny blossoms. I haven't seen one cymbidium I need yet.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 11:48AM
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symbie(7 Texas)

Hybrids, with just a very few primaries as exceptions.

Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums, with the exception of spectabile.
Anything too tiny to see without a magnifier.
Anything with far too long or far too short a bloom spike in relation to the plant.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 5:18PM
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I love things with pouches but don't like the roth paphs they all look like Jay Leno.

I'm not a fan of the magnifier orchids but I do like the ones that look like bugs. And I am so not a fan of most of the ground orchids.(ok except for Macodes petiola)

I think that the Harlequin phals with that muddy brownish maroon spotting is a marketing deal, they figured they had to get rid of them somehow, so if you make them "special" everybody will want them.They're ugly !!!!

And yes those brown yellow Oncidium do look like rotting bananas. ginnibug

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 7:08PM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

ttkidd, there are lots of Bulbo blossoms that have nice scents. My Bulbo ambrosia never bloomed, but flowers are supposed to smell like honey. Before buying any, I grilled the growers about smell.

This may sound weird, but any non-Phal that reblooms for several years loses its allure, and it goes to someone else.

Does that sound too weird or ungrateful?

Oncidinae have never grabbed me either, except for the Twinkles, but I *would* grow nice-smelling Bulbos if my conditions were more favorable.

Huge plants of any kind are no-nos, unless one becomes a must-have. Hasn't happened for awhile.

Even though Phals are my faves, the Harlequins have left me cold, too. There are a few that have very few, very small burgundy spots on clear white flowers that aren't bad, but they're not on my list.

And oh, yes - mounted orchids of any ilk. Keep them away from me! :)


    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 10:33PM
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Ginnibug, too funny! The ones that sort of remind me of him are the Miltonia.

I also don't mind sume of the pouched ones, if they are on shorter stems. I think I prefer the phrags so far but my tastes are always changing. I pointed out some of these to my son when I went orchid shopping with him, and he remarked that they reminded of him of something out of a science fiction movie.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 2:33PM
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-tiny orchids that I can barely see
-orchids with regular-sized leaves and bulbs but miniscule flowers in comparison to the plant (like dendrochilum and liparis)
-I'm not particularly interested in orchids with pouches, but some species are cool
-most phal hybrids (harlequin phals creep me out)
-common oncidium hybrids that show up at every box store
-long, leggy vandas

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 11:45PM
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ttkidd(Toronto ON)

WC8 - are you saying that any reliable bloomer is undesirable to you? I guess that I can understand that if it blooms too easily there isn't much challenge to it. In my case I have few enough easy bloomers so that the ones that are easy tend to be my more cherished plants. I have this noid reed stem Epidendrum which isn't particularly attractive, but the plant seems to thrive on neglect and two to three times a year I still get a great display of flowers. I'd have tossed that one out long ago if it didn't spike/bloom so easily.

Do you happen to know of any other pleasant scented (or non-scented) Bulbos....maybe also that keep a fairly tight growth habit?


    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 8:34AM
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daveh_sf(San Francisco)

Magnifying glass orchids, and orchids with short-lived flowers. If I'm going to wait a year for a plant to bloom, I want it to last for a while.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 9:40AM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

Julie - I tried so hard, I really did! I do like the mottled leaves - does that kind of count? :) I did feel a tingle when we had a speaker come to our OS and describe the saga of phrag kovachii.

Brooke - Totally agree about the long internodes. I have a beautiful epigenium triflorum that's insisted in growing with 2-3" internodes between pbulbs...I'm very tempted to get rid of it, even though I love the flowers so much. It's just impossible to grow.

Tyler - I feel the same was as WC regarding reblooming plants, strangely enough. If it's something that I bought because it's 'really pretty', I usually get rid of it after a few years of blooming. It becomes a bit boring. On the other hand, if it's something that's 'holy crap that's totally awesome!' then I usually keep it around. The latter only happens with a few things though :)

I grow bulb. odoratissimum, which was a lovely gift from the awesome carolinn_on. Hasn't bloomed for me yet, but apparently smells good and is small and compact. Also growing bulb. gracillimum, which is not too big either and supposedly smells not bad. PM me if you're interested in a piece or two - might be divisible by spring time.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 10:06AM
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ttkidd(Toronto ON)

Thanks Calvin :) I might take you up on that in the spring when things get back to normal around my place. (My plant collection is a bit stressed right now because of some renovations I'm doing on my condo. All my furniture and all my plants are stuffed into my bedroom while I scrape that awful popcorn texture off the ceilings in the rest of the place. Fighting off a spider mite infestation at the same time)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 8:39AM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

Ttkidd said, "WC8 - are you saying that any reliable bloomer is undesirable to you? I guess that I can understand that if it blooms too easily there isn't much challenge to it."

Oddly enough, yes, unless it's a Phal or considered esp. difficult to bloom. I know - makes no logical sense, but we're in orchids, right? If it blooms for 3-4 years in a row and I'm not in love, it gets a new home.

Daveh_sf - Of course! Short-lived blossoms!! Except... :) Coryanthes. I don't have one anymore. The flowers lasted maybe 3 days in perfect condition, but the buds were weird too, so the show was longer.

Buds - Man in the Moon with Mask, Coryanthes fieldingii

One flower & one moon guy

Both flowers open

Gee, maybe I should get another one....

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 8:42PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

Ugh to popcorn textured ceilings. Sorry you have to deal with that.

I can do without paphs. Not because I don't like them, but because they don't like me. Apparently I can grow angraecoids, but not paphs. I sent my last one off to greener pastures, and perhaps it will now have a fighting chance. Also, I can't really deal with the fragrance of the Twinkles or Sharry Babys, so none of those for me either.

I have discovered that I am far more interested in the fact that a plant has bloomed for me, than in the blooms themselves. It makes me happy to know that it was happy enough to bloom for me. The blooms are secondary. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy seeing them. But mainly, the excitement is there the first day. Is that weird? By the way, it's not just orchids, this applies to my other flowering plants as well.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 8:46PM
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That Coryanthes is awesome. I'd give an arm and a leg for one of these. Well, maybe some nail clippings.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 9:41PM
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ttkidd(Toronto ON)

lol...those flowers somehow look obscene, and the buds somehow remind me of Invasion of the Body Snatchers/Pod People...

Great plant :)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 8:39AM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

The Coryanthes bloomed 2-3 times and then declined. It came from Orchids Ltd., but their staff couldn't see why it was dying. I hadn't done anything different, & it didn't have bugs or a blight - who knows?

It sure was fun while it lasted. In the last shot above, the flower on the left is beginning to wilt just as the 2nd flower has opened fully. The one on the left had been in full bloom maybe 2 days.

Anyway, I can do without virtually all orchids w/ short-lived blossoms, except when I can't!


    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 5:19PM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

That coryanthes is wicked looking - the bud looks like some sort of huge cocoon!

BTW: popcorn ceilings are rancid!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 5:25PM
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hmmmm........bulbos that smell like old socks, 'jewel' orchids (sorry if you love them), most onc's and den's (except the latouria group which I think are cool), warty paphs, ground orchids (which I might like if I had ground. LOL)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 5:36PM
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"........bulbos that smell like old socks"

a more accurate description than I will read in awards' descriptions! :)

Thank You!


    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 6:22PM
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Phals and Catts. I'm a phal killer and I can never bloom Catts. ARRRRRG!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 1:18PM
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premorchid(Central FL)

I can do without most hybrids...there are very few hybrids I consider 'worthy'...like Cym. Golden Elf. Aside from that, it's all species orchids for me!


    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 8:05PM
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Quinn, not odd at all. I've kinda discovered that myself fairly recently. Even when a plant I've coveted for a while has finally bloomed, I find I tend to ignore it after a day or two. I'm essentially done and over it after the first couple days. There are a couple plants with whom I'm able to keep the honeymoon: Angraecum veitchii and B. nodosa.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 11:21PM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

Quinn/terpguy: exactly the same here. Get bored after it opens. Exceptions are almost all angraecoids because the scent alone keeps refreshing my adoration.

Prem: glad to see you here!! Love your photos of native Florida orchids.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 11:36PM
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Micros too small to see easily, most bulbos especially the liver colored ones that loook like hanging cow tongues, any liver colored orchid, spotted orchids with a few exceptions, almost everything sold at a big box store, almost any Catt hybrid that came from Taiwan, Catts with exposed columns, Milts and Odonts are a big turn off too. I feel lucky there are so many orchids I can do without, keeps me focused on what I can't live without. :-)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 1:57AM
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-Anything with a pouch, unless it is not mottled and is a pale solid color.
-Anything that had brown, green, or similar dark colored flowers.
-All Bulbos, Coryanthes, Cymbidiums, Vandas.
-Ugly looking bulbs or ones that wrinkle.
-Unsymmetrical patterns of the flower.
-Small flowers or really large plants.
-Hairy lips.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 6:10PM
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I just want to say, any orchids you want to toss, send them to me!
As a very busy person, but also very appreciative of plants, I love anything green. If I have a plant that is not happy in my home, lack of light, lack of care due to lack of time, I find a home for it.
I have a hard time trashing a plant....

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 1:01PM
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I like pouches and phals, but I am with you on the harlequins.
I really do not care for most dendros although I am quite fond of spectable.
Although I too mostly do not care for oncids I have a giant one that gives me 4-5 bloom spikes each fall. I finally split him up and am going to trade them off or gift them. The blooms are a pale orange/ brown/ yellow, and I find them terribly boring. I just feel bad booting him for being boring. This thread helps me with this decision......

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 9:00PM
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aerides(z6 Manhattan)

Sarcochilus hartmannii is the orchid I love to hate. It looks like it should be fragrant, and isn't.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 4:31PM
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Calvin I also dont care for Oncidiums. I dont understand them. I try to like them but every time i look at them im just like eh, Phrag Besseae I like, but paphs make me think of flies! Also im Very afraid of spiders! so i dont like paphs big pouches a spider is going to get in there and get on my face when i bend down look at the flower i just know it will happen so No, No Pouches! Im also not a fan of Disa and Zygos, bulbos,or dendrochilum
Harlequin Phals or ones with a bunch of spotting. Peloric anything. Im starting to loose my love for Floofy ruffles On Catts gravitating to examples of the species

At whitecat those flower buds scare me! look like thumbs but then they turn into some kind of bug.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 10:21AM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Any of the large growers; those with flowers that only last a day; almost all paphs and phrages (talk about boring); lavender or highly floofy catts; most Aerangis and Angraecum (boring); and white or lavender phals (WAAAYYYY over done and BORING, BORING, BORING).

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 10:55AM
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This is turning into a freak show. The annoying orange (see you tube)would have choice words for annoying orchids.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 11:47AM
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