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Staking Your Orchids

This is a discussion on Staking Your Orchids within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I have a question - okay, questions - that I've asked people about in random ...

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  1. #1
    mauraec's Avatar
    mauraec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Staking Your Orchids



    I have a question - okay, questions - that I've asked people about in random fashion a couple of times. I've reseached this as best I can and found some pretty contradictory advice. I'd really like to develop a consistent and workable approach to staking, so I'm asking for input from y'all.

    My basic question is when and how do you stake your orchids, if at all?

    I've seen paphs that were staked before they had finished growing, and the result was a really crooked stem. I've also seen paphs that weren't staked at all, and they grew in every manner from straight up to growing like corkscrews. And, I've read that you shouldn't stake a paph until the bloom has "set". My problem is that my paphs don't get uniform overhead light (no greenhouse and they have to stay inside), so they grow towards the window - not a good thing. But if I stake them am I preventing them from tipping their heads up naturally?

    And what about catts? They really don't lend themselves to easy staking, and I've broken a couple of spikes (sob!) trying to stake heavy blooms that are developing facing downward and/or crowding each other and ruining their form.

    I don't really have the same issues with oncid-types, or phals.

    I really want to do this right - I'd appreciate your input.

    Thanks!



  2. #2
    tucker85's Avatar
    tucker85 is offline Senior Member
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    I only have two paphs so I can't help you much with them. I staked both of them when they were in bud and before the flowers opened.

    I have a couple of cattleyas that hold their flowers at an angle that makes a good display without staking at all but most of my cattleyas require staking if they're going to look good. It's important to stake cattleyas pretty early because as the buds mature they orient themselves at the proper angle. If the flowers open before you stake them they could open at unusual angles that don't look right after you stake them. When the buds first break out of the sheath I maneuver the pseudobulb to as close to straight up as possible. Then with my other hand I hold a stake beside the straight pseudobulb and see where it would enter the medium (it's often further from the pseudobulb than you would think). Then I angle the stake away from the pseudobulb a little bit and push it into the medium. The angle helps to counteract the pull of the pseudobulb against the stake. Then I tie the pseudobulb to the stake at the narrow area where the leaf and the pseudobulb connect. If I need extra support I sometimes make a second tie lower on the psuedobulb. I leave plenty of stake above the buds because it's hard to judge how high the buds will grow before they flower. I don't connect the actual buds to the stake until they grow out long enough to start to droop down. Then I make a loose connection to the stake, just below the buds. This allows the buds to keep growing but holds them in the right position. You need to be careful when you're actually manipulating the buds, but I've never broken one off. Once the flower opens I tighten the tie below the buds to bring the flower up straight. I use split bamboo stakes that can be cut off above the flower so the stake doesn't show above the flower. I hope this makes sense. I should take some pictures. Check out YouTube also. They sometimes have videos on these kinds of things.

  3. #3
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    You should get some of the wire support spikes that can be bent. Those make staking cattleya much easier. I need to find more, they make staking flowers in baskets much easier as well.

  4. #4
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    I should have mentioned, if you're lucky enough to have pseudobulbs growing straight up, you may not need to stake them at all. This orchid is not staked. The pseudobulbs were straight up and I knew from experience that the flowers are held at a good angle for display.
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  5. #5
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    This isn't a good picture but I think you can see that all I needed to do here was to pull the pseudobulbs into as straight a position as possible. The flowers themselves did not need to be staked. You can see each pseudobulb is attached to a stake at the point where the leaf meets the pseudobulb. This is before I cut the top of the stakes off.
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  6. #6
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    A very similar thread where Bruce and I answered, just check it out.

    http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...ut-please.html
    Apart from that all these suggestions have to be taken with a grain of salt. Experience will tell you which plants need staking and which don't also the kind of staking, as to whether stake the pseudobulb or the spike as Jeff rightly illustrated.

    It also depends a lot on the species as you pointed out different species will behave differently when staked. Experience and technique are your two best teachers.

  7. #7
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    Thanks to all. I did read the thread you posted, Amey - many thanks.

    So far, my "experience" has led to at least 3 or 4 buds snapped off paphs and 2 or 3 snapped off catts, so I'm really afraid to trust my own instincts here. One thing I've found is that if I stake them really low - like with a stake that leaves only 3" or so above the medium, it helps keep the plant upright without me getting my dangerous little fingers anywhere near the bud. But that's not a complete solution and I wonder how many spikes I'll have to break before I start to get it right. I'm really not that klutzy with other hand-eye coordination things, but the orchids are a real challenge for me.

  8. #8
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    Again, excuse the picture, but here is an example of a flower that pointed down, even though the pseudobulb was straight up. In this case I had to stake the actual flower by tying the pedical, at the back of the flower, to the stake.
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  9. #9
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    And thank you, Jeff, for the advice and photos - your catts seem to be remarkably obedient - and so very beautiful!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tucker85 View Post
    Again, excuse the picture, but here is an example of a flower that pointed down, even though the pseudobulb was straight up. In this case I had to stake the actual flower by tying the pedical, at the back of the flower, to the stake.
    Ooh - it scares me to even think of that - you must be very sure-handed.

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