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baby phal seedlings spiking?

This is a discussion on baby phal seedlings spiking? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I got a little compot with 4 seedlings a month ago and potted them up ...

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  1. #1
    Liz's Avatar
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    Default baby phal seedlings spiking?

    I got a little compot with 4 seedlings a month ago and potted them up in sphag. The two biggest ones have 3-3.5 leaves with a span of less than 4 inches, and they have really nice roots. These little guys are little! And two of them are spiking. Should I pinch the spikes to let the plants get bigger, or just let them do their thing?

    Thanks! Liz

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    a very good question and a difficult decision to make. what to do about the precocious bloomer?

    now some phals will bloom small, i'm thinking equestris and its types. but 4" ls is small. it will take a lot out of a young plant to bloom. a percentage of those will bloom and then sulk and never really recover. not to scare you, but these things happen across a variety of genera. for the long-term health, pinching precocious spikes will be beneficial. the thinking being that you'll get an infinitely better blooming at a later date, and without any risk to the well-being of the plant. but that's easier said than done, since the precocious bloomer may only throw a couple flowers and do fine down the road. but i still think blooming early will set them back in their growth to some extent.

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    Since, with orchids, "the flower's the thing," it's hard to pinch off a spike when getting one is the goal. In general, when seedlings that are obviously not mature enough to bloom properly throw a spike, I'll cut it. Leaving it on really will sap a seedling's energy, and for me, it's more important to have a strong, healthy plant that'll bloom *well*--not just bloom. That's not to say that a seedling won't grow big and healthy if you do allow it to bloom early, it's just saying that the plant will, more than likely, take longer to get to that point.

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    Awh! They're so cute! But, I kind of knew the answer. I was hoping I was wrong... On the bright side, if they're spiking now, they should be great bloomers later & they should be pretty... Brother Sally Taylor x sib.

    How big should they get before I let them spike?

    Thanks.

  5. #5
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    You can't really say the plant needs to have such-and-such a leaf span before you let it bloom. I'll let the precocious ones bloom on their second spiking, when they've put out another leaf or two after their first. This same "rule" goes for plants that are sick. They'll try to reproduce one last time instead of channeling their energy toward rejuvenation. So any plant you have that isn't in good shape should get its spike nipped as well. A lot of times, that's all it takes to save one.

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