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Reasons for weak flower stalk?

This is a discussion on Reasons for weak flower stalk? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello, I have a Paphiophidium (sp?) that seems to be doing well, and has a ...

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  1. #1
    aquakej is offline Junior Member
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    Default Reasons for weak flower stalk?

    Hello,

    I have a Paphiophidium (sp?) that seems to be doing well, and has a nice big flower bud on it, but the flower stem seems to just curl up and not raise the bud up into the air. I have only had this plant for a couple of weeks. I have placed a stick next to the bud for support, but it looks like it's about to bloom, and it will look silly next to the leaves.
    Does anyone know what might have caused this weak flower stem? The stem doesnt FEEL weak, by the way. It is very stong. It is just short and curled up.
    Thanks for any input!

    ~Katie
    aquakej@hotmail.com

  2. #2
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    Hi Katie--welcome!

    Is this the plant's first bloom? If it is, the stems will often stay curled instead of bearing themselves upright, and that may fix itself on the next blooming. Keep in mind though that some Paphs don't grow their flower stems upright, but rather leave them curly so that the flower flops over. Do you know what kind of Paphiopedilum you have?

    Regardless, most Paphs, if their spikes are left alone without being staked, will not hold their flowers straight up and down, but will keep them hunched forward so that the dorsal sepal covers the pouch and keeps water from entering. If you want the flower to face you squarely when it opens, you're going to have to carefully tie or clip it to the support stick you mentioned.

  3. #3
    Jmoney's Avatar
    Jmoney is offline Senior Member
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    weak light contributes to weak stems. certain paphs, i.e. bellatulum, have very weak stems genetically. however, it seems you might be describing a natural phenomenon--paph spikes in development will be often be straight and then have a significant "curl" at the bud end. this will resolve, although paph flowers do naturally lean forward to avoid water collection in the pouch (which leads to rot of the pouch).
    --------
    posted earlier somewhere else:

    a trick to tying up blooms so they face forward, since paph flowers naturally tilt forward (to prevent rainwater from collecting in the pouch):

    as the bud nears opening, you can prop up the back end of the pot ever so slightly. the flower will tend to open up normally and when you remove that prop after the flower has been open 3-5 days, you get a better angle. alternatively, you can just let it open normally and, 3-5 days later after the flower has set, you can tie the spike upright with a twist tie or two along the stem and one last one right behind the pouch, nice and snug to get the flower to face its grower and not the ground.

  4. #4
    LJA's Avatar
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    Jason, you're absolutely right about weak light causing weak stems (and a dark leafed, floppety plant in general), and that completely slipped my mind when I responded.

    Katie, if the stem feels strong and doesn't flop over, but is short and curled up, it just grew that way naturally, and gently staking and tying it will fix it. On the other hand, if the stem is weak, spindly, and flops over any which way without support, as Jason said, unless it's a bellatulum or bellatulum cross, the plant isn't getting enough light, and maybe even not enough water.

    It's hard to say what's really going on by just a description alone, but hopefully some of this will help.

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