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  • 1 Post By sand_tiger86
  • 2 Post By pavel
  • 3 Post By Brutal_Dreamer
  • 2 Post By sand_tiger86

Should I stake my Phal Mariae's spike?

This is a discussion on Should I stake my Phal Mariae's spike? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; First of all, let me just say how much I LOVE IT HERE. You all ...

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  1. #1
    OrchidAddict's Avatar
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    Question Should I stake my Phal Mariae's spike?

    First of all, let me just say how much I LOVE IT HERE. You all are a-ma-zing! This is a fabulous community, and I love the open, respectful debates. I've learned so much!

    So here's my question. I have a Phal Mariae that is currently in spike. It's a little guy; first time in spike...the spike is about 2 and a half inches with no buds on it yet. As you probably already know, the Mariae has that pendulous-type spike that just sort of flops over, and currently it's just lying on my bark, with the very tip hanging over the edge of the pot. I'm wondering if there would be any benefit to staking it.

    I'm already super-careful when I water the plant to make sure the spike isn't resting in any standing wetness. But still, I'm concerned that when it goes to bud, I may be dealing with bud blast from the spike sitting on moist media. And then when the little guy flowers, how do I keep the flowers at the base of the spike from getting smooshed if it's lying on the bark and the outer blooms are weighing it down?

    I've never grown a "pendulous" bloomer before, so I'm not quite sure how to handle the difference in form. Should I stake it semi-upright, or will that destroy the natural beauty of the form of this unique species?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

    Smiles, Jenn

  2. #2
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    I would let it be! I love to let nature (you know, potted and indoors nature - ha) take its course with spikes. By the way, that is an absolutely STUNNING Phal., Jenn. Please post pictures when it blooms! I'm so fascinated by the pendulous, star-shaped Phals.

  3. #3
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    Phals, in general, tend to be pendulous bloomers. It is simply the preference of we silly humans to have the plant down low and the spike rising up. Some phals are more "determined" than others to spike in a pendulous fashion. With those types, it is generally a losing battle wherein you are better off just surrendering now and avoiding the 'rush'.

    As far as your bud blast due to contact with the media concern -- should not be a problem. But if it makes you feel better, once the spike gets longer and starts producing a bud, you can slide a piece of bark under the spike to keep it slightly off the media. And as far as the 'smoosh' factor, flowers generally are produced from the sides of the spike as opposed to the underside.

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    Let it do as it will this time and if you decide you do not like its display, then next time it starts to spike, train the spike to go where you would like it. We let all of our phals do as they will. I think it is pretty.

    cheers,
    BD

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    ^ Agreed. I personally find the erect, staked look to be unpleasant. I much prefer a more natural, cascading spike. Those Phals. sold in grocery stores with their spikes completely straight up look ridiculous to me.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sand_tiger86 View Post
    I would let it be! I love to let nature (you know, potted and indoors nature - ha) take its course with spikes.
    Ditto.

  7. #7
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    All right...it's settled, then. I shall leave the plant to do its thing! It's funny...I'm always learning new things here...and now I'm learning to appreciate the orchids in their natural form. Kelly, I will never be able to walk past an "upright" store orchid display again without thinking..."Ugh..."

    And I can just imagine your reactions of horror if you had seen me wrestling with the phal I "rescued" from a clearance warehouse last week. It had been left unstaked and was growing wild in its bag, but it had the most incredibly robust root system, and the leaves were incredibly thick and healthy...it was even sprouting a new leaf in the middle of the "mess," and the flowers were some of the largest I'd ever seen.

    Well, I bought the plant (for a whopping $6), took it home and went nuts for about half an hour trying to bend the spikes so they'd stand up straight and I could stake them. I finally succeeded, but once I stepped back and really looked at it staked upright, I noticed it wasn't nearly as charming...it just looked kind of weird. So I took the stakes out and let it go back to its natural form. It's my favorite orchid at the moment because it's so natural looking...just growing wild and "doing its thing."

    I can just picture all of you glaring at me with horror as I tried to force this beautiful plant into a "pleasing display." And in the end, the display I created by straightening the spikes wasn't pleasing at all! Go figure!

    Live and learn! I'll make sure to share pics of the Mariae when it blooms! I'm very excited about it!
    Thanks everybody for your great advice! I'm becoming more of an "orchiphile" every day...

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