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Phalaenopsis spike induction

This is a discussion on Phalaenopsis spike induction within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi all, I know the conventional wisdom says Phals must be given cool nights (at ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Phalaenopsis spike induction

    Hi all,

    I know the conventional wisdom says Phals must be given cool nights (at least cool, relative to the day temperatures) in order to induce flower spike formation. Yet I've never needed to do this with my original Phal--it blooms each year (so far, anyway!) with no manipulation of temperature.

    Last fall, I decided to try the open window trick with some of my other Phals (my original one having already initiated a spike by late summer). I duly put two blooming-sized plants in place by the window. I had a third plant, also of blooming size, but there just wasn't enough room to put it with them. Guess which one spiked? If you guessed the one with the non-cold night treatement, you're absolutely right.

    Right now I have a couple more that have just initiated spikes, again without any manipulation of temperature. I grow them under fluorescent lights in my basement where no natural light ever hits them. I have a max-min thermometer and there's rarely more than 3 degrees (Celsius) variation. (It's almost always between 19 & 21 degrees.) Many days there is no variation at all.

    So, is this really bizarre? I'd be interested in knowing what the experiences of others who grow Phals are. Do you manipulate temperatures?


    Cheers,

    Rob

  2. #2
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    My Phals just seem to spike when ever they,re ready.Grow some roots , grow a leaf or 2 & then they spike.In my windows , growroom or outside seems to make no difference.I don,t change my feeding regime @ anytime( a little more fert for the summer months may be in order).
    My first Phal(Cool Breeze) spiked wothin 5 weeks of having it,s spikes removed , changing it over to s/h & being put outside for the summer.

  3. #3
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    Rob,
    I've also tried to give my phals the cold treatment to get them to bloom but they just looked at me and laughed in my face...those stuck up little #**!!!
    I gave up on that method and a couple of months later most of them are in spike or blooming.(all this without the temp drop)

  4. #4
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    Rob

    This has been a very heated topic for some time now. I don't know if I've ever heard the definitive answer. Mine do seem to spike with the temp drop (at least before I found new homes for most of them), but I also have them outside until mid September or so. By then, they've had a few weeks of the mid 50's stuff. I bring them inside and POP, the spikes appear.

    Last summer, we had the record cold temps and almost all of them spiked in early July, just a couple of months after I had chopped off their winter spikes. I chopped them off again and once again, they all spiked in Sept - Oct.


    Just don't know.

  5. #5
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    Default

    I have experimented with the tempeture drop trick too. Some of my phals responded, others didn't seem to care at all. (And who is to say the ones that did spike wouldn't have done it anyway.) I did notice that this winter was REALLY mild and my phals spiked noticeably later than they have in past years. They are inside, but of course outside temperatures still affect the house temps. They didn't start the spiking frenzy until we had a bit of a cold snap.

    I guess I haven't actually answered your question other than to say -- I think it might work, some of the time.

  6. #6
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    Move to the tropics and then try to grow phals and see what temp drop means as far as inducting phals to spike is concerned. What I'm trying to say is in your growing condition, its probably cold enough for the phal to initiate spike and yet also warm enough to grow and thrive. So, further temp drop is probably no longer required. On the other hand, if its too warm, they will not bloom, they will just grow, and grow. The other reason is genetic thing. Some Phal species do not require temp drop to initiate spike.

    In my growing condition, summer would hit 32(celsius) or even higher in summer. My phals starts producing spikes in December when the temp inside the house varies from 15 to low 20's (celsius).

    I'm sure others with better educated opinion will pitch in.

  7. #7
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    Inducing spikes on Phals is going to be as much or more of a light issue as it is a temp-drop issue.

    Timing these is very important for the cut flower industry. The nurseries that fill those markets grow their Phals in extremely dense shade--just a little more light than you'd get on a clear night with a full moon--for several months under tarps. When the tarps are removed and normal light levels restored, the plants spike within two weeks.

    More info about Phal spike growth and fertilizing can be found here.

  8. #8
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    Thanks to all who replied. Sounds like others have had success with inducing blooms without temperature manipulation.

    My interpretation of Steve's & Dana's posts is they don't think it's required. (Although perhaps, Dana, it did have an effect for you since you said a month or two later some of the plants *did* spike--is it possible there is a bit of a lag between "treatment" and spike induction?)

    Kev & Sadie seem to be saying a definite maybe! (And, yes, Sadie, I certainly consider you *did* answer my question--I was, and still am, interested in the experience of others.)

    My interpretation of Tanya's post is it's more a question of absolute temperatures, rather than the day's fluctuation of them. Tanya, thanks also, for making the point about some species not needing the temperature manipulation. I think I've heard that before--one probably needs to know the species composition of his or her hybrid Phals to know if a particular one will need the treatment.

    Louis, I had no idea about the light manipulation done by commercial growers! Thanks much for that information and link!

    Again, thanks to everyone for responding. If anyone else wishes to chime in, I'm definitely still interested in hearing about your experiences!

    Cheers,

    Rob

  9. #9
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    Actually, after re-reading what I said, I need to clarify things a little.

    This does not mean that you can bloom your Phal, keep it in the dark for three months, give it light again, and it'll spike.

    The darkness delays the normal spike season for the particular type of plant.

    In other words, if you have a Phal that normally spikes in December, and you want it to spike in March, you could drastically reduce light levels in mid November, then restore them in March to make the plant spike.

    What you can't do is force them to spike earlier than they normally would. You can only delay it into the next season.

  10. #10
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    Louis,


    Thanks for the clarification. It's a timing thing, rather than an actual initiation thing.


    Cheers,


    Rob

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