Sunday, September 23, 2012

Phalaenopsis Spike Pruning

Since my Phalaenopsis 'Happy Girl' quit blooming, her two naked flower spikes have responded  quite differently. One seems to be drying out all the way to the base...
...yet the other remains green below the brown tip that I'd pruned off several weeks ago.
According to the folks at re-Pot, "On most Phalaenopsis the bloom spike will turn brown after the plant is finished bearing flowers on a spike. It may not turn brown all the way down, however. One school of thought says to cut the spike above a node on the stem and allow the plant to rebloom again as a branch off the existing spike. The other school of thought says to always cut the flower spike off at the base when the blooms drop. Blooms take energy from the plant so cutting the spike entirely off allows the plant to gather its energy for an even more spectacular bloom in the future. Allowing the spike to branch results in more blooms sooner but takes energy from the plant resulting in often smaller blooms. In our collection we take the middle ground. For large plants with large root systems we will sometimes allow the plant to branch off an existing spike. For younger plants or those with less vigor we will cut the bloom stem at the base when the flowers drop."

Well I consider 'Happy Girl' here to be a large plant, so I'll take the middle ground too and cut one/leave one.

I cut the brown spike a few inches above the plant base, just to see how much green is left. Kinda moist, but definately drying out. I'll trim it all of the way to the base later.
Meanwhile this spike has some healthy green going on. It will be awesome if I get more blooms from here, and worth a try regardless.

This plant is definately healthy enough for me to experiment on... far, anyway.

In  other orchid news, Tolumnia 'Tequila Sunrise' is blooming beautifully...
 ...small but very colorful blooms! It's in a clear plastic drip tray with the two cattleyas, which keeps their "feet" too wet for my comfort.
 So I picked up some vintage enamelware (which feeds my other habit :) and decide which to use.
 The smaller photo developing tray will do nicely, so I lined it with clean fish gravel for good drainage.
 And they all lived happily ever after!
I optimistically insist on it.


Anonymous said...

My mom grows mostly dendrobiums and a couple others that I can't recall at the moment, she also has my small collection of phalaenopsis that went to her house to recover from my neglect, then I refused to bring them back home!
She leaves the flower stalk on until it dries into a hard stick, then she gives it a wiggle and usually it pops loose on its own. I've rarely seen her have to cut one unless it was stuborn. I've never seen one die half way down like yours! Usuallly they die all the way back. I wonder if it will form new buds?

I have your enamelware habit. I also have a wicked double weave basket/with lid habit. Preferably grass weave and preferably Native American. :)

Your plants look really nice! Congrats on the orchid success! The cacti looked good too.

Garden Broad said...

I'm surprised that I didn't manage to pick up a dendro in my recent buying spree, I'll have to look into that :) I am hoping for new buds on the green stalk, only time will tell.

Native American baskets are beautiful, I like them but always considered them too pricey. Of course, my habits add up too...

Here's hoping my success will last! I committed an error in collecting several orchids from different sources all at once, creating a possible disaster if one has disease that will spread to the rest. I've been told that it's important to keep new orchids "quarantined" from the others, but I have no other room to keep them in (lest they fall victim to the cats). So we'll see what happens.