Guest Author - Susan Taylor
When I first started out with orchids, almost everywhere I went on the Internet I found information about a plant called Sharry Baby. It is an incredibly popular plant especially due to its wonderful chocolate fragrance. It’s fairly easy to grow, but be aware that it does get quite large – the inflorescences (flower stems) can reach three feet in length. As the flower spikes grow be sure to stake them so that the flowers will be presented to the best advantage. They’ll be covered in small brick red flowers. And, yes, they really do smell like chocolate or a combination of chocolate and vanilla!
This is a good plant to try as one of your first orchids because they are not fussy about their growing conditions with the exception that they will need adequate light to flower. Outside they need to be in a shaded area with morning sun and inside in a sunny window. Sharry Baby is an Oncidium and therefore needs a bit more water than some other orchids. I water mine twice a week, but if you’re growing inside, check to make sure that the medium is dry before you water. Another thing to watch is the pseudobulbs. Either make a real effort to remember what they look like when you get the plant, or better yet take a picture. That way you can tell if they’re shriveling up. If so, you are not watering enough.
As your plant gets larger you may have trouble with it being top heavy or tipping over. As with other orchids that may do this, put the plant in a clay pot with rock in the bottom to counterbalance the weight. Once you have this problem, you are well on your way to being an expert orchid grower!!