Oncidium Sharry Baby is a sympodial epiphyte orchid hybrid. It was registered in 1983 and created by Beall as a cross between Oncidium Jamie Sutton and Oncidium Honolulu. Beall also created the Oncidopsis Bartley Schwarz, which has the Onc. Honolulu in its parentage as well, so we can say that the creator enjoyed creating wonderful fragrant Oncidium hybrids. The Sharry Baby is also known as the chocolate orchid and not for its colors, but for its fragrance. This cross truly is an icon in the orchid world.
The blooms are about 3 cm in height and 2 cm across, following a typical Oncidium shape and placement. The sepals are usually a chocolaty, dark red color and are thin and elongated. The lip is wider and bigger in size and usually is white or has splashes of white, depending on particular individuals.
The blooms are displayed on a thin flower spike that can reach 40 cm in height or even more. Each spike can hold even 50 flowers at a time as it usually branches out, the effect is therefore magnificent. However, the spike can take even 3 or 4 months before the first blooms opens, since it can reach these impressive dimensions.
The fragrance of the Sharry Baby is what makes it magnificent and much sought after. It bears a remarkable resemblance with chocolate, though some people describe it as milk chocolate, or vanilla chocolate. In any case, it is one of the very few orchids that bear this unique fragrance, so it is a must for any fragrant orchid collection. The Sharry Baby releases fragrance during the day time and is not fragrant at night. It can take 2 or 3 days for the fragrance to develop once a flower opens and the smell is quite powerful, in small rooms the sweetness can get nauseating.
Individual flowers are not very long lived, each flower can last for 2 to 3 weeks. But because they do not all open at the same time, the sheer numbers can make the total bloom time of this orchid last for 2 to 3 months. This orchid is free flowering, usually each new pseudobulb that matures can potentially bloom. The orchid produces one or two flower spikes per pseudobulb, that emerge usually from between the pseudobulb and the first set of leaves.
There are several varieties of the Sharry Baby, the most popular one being the ‘Sweet Fragrance’ variety which was awarded with AM/AOS. It is said that this is the most fragrant of all varieties.
There is also the ‘Tricolor’ variety that presents yellow tips on the petals and a whiter lip, a very nice pattern indeed.
The ‘Ruby Doll’ variety is a complete red to dark red coloration, this variety is also very popular and exquisite looking. All of these varieties bear the chocolate fragrance in various degrees of intensity.
The pseudobulbs are about 7-12 cm in height and about 3-4 cm in width, with an oval shape. The normal color for this orchid is medium to light green. Pseudobulbs can present ridges, in many cases they do not seem plump. The leaves are long and slender, measuring about 30 cm in length and about 2-3 cm in width. The leaves are prone to obtain a mangled shape if the orchid is kept too dry and in too low humidity. Dark colored spots are also a common occurrence on the leaves and pseudobulbs with this hybrid, they appear as dark purple freckles that are not bumpy or carved into the leaf.
The roots are thin and healthy roots are white, but as they age, they can turn green when wet. When in active growth they have bright green tips. New growths usually appear from between the last exterior leaves and take between 6 to 9 months to fully mature.
Propagation of this orchid can be done through division, each division should have at least 3 fully grown pseudobulbs for a fast growth further on.
Soft spots: shriveled pseudobulbs if kept too dry, accordion shaped leaves if not watered in time, these being the major drawbacks of this hybrid.
Overall the Oncidium Sharry Baby is a medium difficulty orchid. It is much more forgiving than other hybrids and quite easy to grow in a normal home, as long as the watering schedule is kept in check and bright light is offered.
Oncidium Orchid Care Video Tutorial
Video Presentation Oncidium Sharry Baby