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Off with the spikes!

This is a discussion on Off with the spikes! within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I was given a phal as a gift a little while back, which turned out ...

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  1. #1
    Lambert's Avatar
    Lambert is offline Senior Member
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    Default Off with the spikes!

    I was given a phal as a gift a little while back, which turned out to be in really bad shape (root rot, base-of-the-plant rot, half-broken leaves ...) even though it actually looked pretty good "from the crown up" for someone like me who doesn't grow phals.
    Anyway, I used some forum threads and advice (thanks Becky and Sadie!) to figure out how to fix it.
    Today I finally convinced myself to cut off the 2 beautiful spikes it came with, knowing it needed its energy to pull through ... It was difficult.

    My question is ... do phals spike better with time or not necessarily? Meaning, this one had two spikes with SO MANY potential blooms , can I expect at least the same in the future? (provided it survives, of course!) Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Yes, with proper culture/care you can achieve the same level here and even larger more impressive spikes and blooms. IT is best to take care of the plant. A weak plant that blooms is doing so because it is a last ditch effort to reproduce before it dies. That is why stress blooms plants. This technique is not good for the plants though. Letting it gain energy and grow leaves and roots will make for a beautiful show next season when it blooms again.

    You made the right decision if the plant was stressed.

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
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    sand_tiger86 is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Agreed ^ It's for the good of the plant, so it can put on an equally good (or better) show next year without having to worry about the plant dying on you. And if you makes you feel any better (you may realize this already, but its hard to tell from the context of your post), those spikes pictured look done blooming with several empty flower sockets. If thats what you cut off, you were only cutting off sticks anyway
    Last edited by sand_tiger86; July 18th, 2008 at 10:08 PM.

  4. #4
    Lambert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sand_tiger86 View Post
    If thats what you cut off, you were only cutting off sticks anyway
    Thanks Bruce & Kelly (that last line completely alleviated my guilt! )

  5. #5
    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    Laurent, when I used to have many Phal hybrids, I used to cut the spike by mid August anyway on the winter bloomers. I did this to get the plant strong and ready to grow new spikes for the following season. The new spikes the following winter give much better quality flowers than side spikes on last years spike.

  6. #6
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    Smile Cut all the way down? Leave NO NODE in place?

    Hi,

    I was reading the post & threads on cutting the spike on a Phalaenopsis.

    I've been confused by the fact that my local orchid group tells me to chop the spike all the way down to the bottom after the last bloom falls, and all the books I read tell me to cut ABOVE the SECOND NODE from the bottom.

    Which is it?

    It's mid-August in Hollywood. Should I mow down my spikes?

    Would appreciate your input.

    Thanks.

    Romulus

  7. #7
    JoeW's Avatar
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    Hi, Romulus. Following the local orchid group’s advice will typically result in a larger orchid plant and more/better/bigger flowers in the normal blooming season. (To WOW the fellow members, I bet!!) Following the books’ advice will encourage a bloom of three or so flowers soon with a resulting less vigorous plant and smaller blooming during the normal season. So, if you delay gratification, the flower event will typically be more enjoyable. I say wack ‘em. Right now my phals have little root buds popping out below and new small leaves comming up out of the top. I pick the plants up and look watching the progress. To me, that's as interesting as the flowers. Joe

  8. #8
    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    I totally agree with Joe...I would much rather have quality flowers the following bloom season so by this time of the year I cut my spikes (accept on summer bloomers and species that will bloom off the same spikes every year. )

  9. #9
    cherublace is offline Senior Member
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    i have two blooming phals. one has a brand new spike with three open flowers, the other has one spike with two remaining flowers. are you all suggesting, i cut them now or wait post-bloom? secondly, are we agreeing to wack the spike about one inch from base? thanks all.

  10. #10
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    Hi, Maria. 1. Growers can force phals to bloom out of season for sale at the locals. Are your phals recently purchased? I wouldn't whack a recent purchase. 2. It depends on what you want. Orchids are great at resource triage. A resting (no bloom) Phalaenopsis orchid is gathering strength for the breeding season. The phal is directing its resources into growing roots to gather moisture and nutriments and it is growing leaves to increase photosynthesis capability. This one two punch will enable the plant to produce and maintain its most enticing flowers when the time comes to attract The Pollinator. Typically, a rested phal will produce better/more blooms because a phal expends resources maintaining blooms in hopes of pollination. My understanding is that encouraging and maintaining a second bloom uses energy and prevents the storing of energy. 3. I cut the inflorescence back to within an inch of where it emerges from the base of the plant after the flowers have all opened and finally dropped. And the plant is moved to ensure optimum footcandle exposure. Joe

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