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Removing spikes

This is a discussion on Removing spikes within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I'm thinking of trying this and want your opinions. I have a Howeara Lava Burst ...

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  1. #1
    TundraKev's Avatar
    TundraKev is offline Banned
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    Default Removing spikes

    I'm thinking of trying this and want your opinions.

    I have a Howeara Lava Burst 'Punanani' that seems to bloom from every new growth. Here's how it behaves:

    As the new growth matures, a spikes forms, plant blooms
    A few weeks after the flowers fade and drop, another new growth starts.

    If I removed the spike as it was forming, would the next new growth start sooner? In other words, could I encourage this plant to grow a bit faster by not allowing it to bloom for a few months?

    If the answer is YES, would this also work on other orchids. Can't think of any other ones I want to try it on though.

  2. #2
    catfan is offline Senior Member
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    The answer is yes...you will encourage new growth by removing spikes. However, some plants are free-flowering, and are virtually always in bloom, as opposed to others which send up all their spikes at once for a more spectacular show, though for a shorter duration. I often remove spikes on new transplants or plants that are struggling...but it is a fine line you walk. We all work towards the reward of the blooms, and removing spikes is a bit contradictory...so you'll just have to make the call yourself with each plant. It may croak before it sends up another spike, so don't go crazy...

  3. #3
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    How about plants like Enc Cochleata (or whatever it's called now)? It seems to spike forever, I mean like a year now. Are those ongoing spikes detracting from growth?

  4. #4
    catfan is offline Senior Member
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    I've got an Enc. cochleata that was in bloom forever, with about 15 or 20 spikes. I got tired of it, (sequential bloomer) cut off all the spikes, and repotted it. It now has new growths coming up all over the place. I don't know that cutting spikes "encourages" new growths, but it certailnly allows the plant to concentrate its energies on developing new foliage instead of producing flowers, ie. reproduction.

  5. #5
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    I don't know if the plant would grow any *faster*, but the new growths may be stockier and themselves produce longer, more floriferous spikes if you prevent older growths from expending energy on blooms.

    You should try it, Kev. Would be interesting to see what happens.

  6. #6
    TundraKev's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. I am going to try it for at least the summer. I can't imagine it would hurt the plant and if for some strange reason it does, I'm out about $5.

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