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Help: Blooms are falling off!

This is a discussion on Help: Blooms are falling off! within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; SEE PHOTOS ATTACHED! Please help! The stems of the blooms are turning yellow and blooms ...

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  1. #1
    jtsmith is offline Junior Member
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    Default Help: Blooms are falling off!

    SEE PHOTOS ATTACHED! Please help! The stems of the blooms are turning yellow and blooms are falling off. We had our orchid near our heater, but have since moved it after reading that can impact it. We now have it placed near our kitchen. We are not over or under watering the plant.

    Is there anything we can do to stop the remaining blooms from falling off?
    If they all fall off, will they grow back?
    Can an open fruit bowl near the plant cause this?

    Thank you!

    Tommy
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  2. #2
    Pindar's Avatar
    Pindar is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Tommy, and welcome!

    Well now, first of all your plant (Phalaenopsis) looks pretty good and not in any trouble... it is good to hear you are not overwatering it (or underwatering, but that is less of a problem). OK, so there is a scorch mark on one of the leaves- no big deal.

    I hope I am not being insulting if I say that all blooms naturally will turn yellow and fall off. I have loads of Phalaenopses, and after a couple of months the blooms do just that, one by one.

    So the question is: how long have the blooms been open before they go off? A Phal bloom should be bright and open for at least six weeks... and as they open in sequence, so they should be falling off in sequence too. Is that the case? Or is there a wholesale morbidity of flowers (I doubt this is the case, but let us know!)

    In Phals you do get BUD-DROP if the plant gets a physical or thermal shock... where a lovely fat bud goes yellow and falls off without developing further and opening. Several may do it at the same time. (This can happen in transit from shop to home.) But an open flower will stay the course come what may.

    Also, I see that this plant has been flowering its guts out: I see multiple branched bare spikes... I am guessing you had a fabulous show. There are some amazingly productive hybrids out there which can exhaust themselves if allowed to go on flowering. (I let one of mine flower non-stop for four years, just to see what would happen; this happened: I had to cut the spike off recently, as the plant was down to only two stunted and shriveled leaves... it is still in intensive care. These are very tough plants, but it is now touch and go with this poor guy!)

    SO at first sight, I reckon your Phal needs to have its flower spikes cut RIGHT off. pronto; then you just give it normal care (with a bit of weak feed) and it will soon start shooting again when it is ready- maybe in as little as a month. (I always cut my spikes right off, even though the old ones will reflower if cut down to one or two joints. Believe me: you don't want doddery second-hand spikes when you can have brand new fat ones bearing big bold blooms. Don't listen to anyone who tells you different!)

    Get another Phal to take your mind of this one while it takes it easy for a bit. No worries. Happy days!

  3. #3
    Pindar's Avatar
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    O- the bowl of fruit... Yes, I see what you mean: that hydrocarbon gas, name escapes me... ethylene, isn't it? Well it sounds just possible there may have been an influence causing some blooms to mature prematurely. My instinct is always to say No you need a flamethrower to harm a Phal in any serious way, but ethylene may just possibly have some effect: I just don't know. Does anyone else know of any trials with this?

  4. #4
    jtsmith is offline Junior Member
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    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING!!!! No offense taken, in fact, more "assumed knowledge" is welcome. :o) We did not expect the blooms to fall off. Beginner alert! Now that we know we need to cutoff spikes, the question is where and how many? After a bit of research, we feel decently confident, but would still welcome your input to ensure we get the brand new fat spikes for the bigger blooms. Have a look at the photo attached. I have numbered where we are considering to cutoff the spikes. Any more detailed advice about "where" to cutoff the spikes is appreciated.

    You've already provided much more guidance than I expected. THANKS AGAIN.

    Tommy

    Attaching a better photo. Where should we cut?
    Name:  Spikes to Cut2.jpg
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  5. #5
    Pindar's Avatar
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    Hey Tommy!

    Aha- thanks for these new photos- now I can see your plant better (we all love to get a peek at a colleagues plants!) First I shall give the classic instruction: cut off spikes cleanly just above the first or second NODE from the bottom.

    What the hell is a node? Simple: it comes from the Latin word nodus which means knot; in plants it is a point or region of a stem where new growth can develop... for example- on an orchid spike, flowers and branching points occur at nodes. Look at your plant: you will see that as the spikes grew and developed, the first 4, 5 or 6 nodes did not develop but the spike carried on growing, and only then did buds start to form higher up... This is a clever insurance policy: if the top of the spike gets eaten or broken, then one of the lower nodes bursst into growth to make a replacement spike.

    SO: if we cut off a flowered spike just above an undeveloped node, it will kick in and grow to "replace" the flower-bearing higher region of the spike. RIGHT AT THE BOTTOM of both photos you can see silvery little rings around the spike- these are almost the "sleeping" nodes just above which we would make the cut. They look like the 2nd or 3rd from the bottom... we cut above the 1st (or the 2nd to play it safe.) Your red numbered points are all in the wrong (upper) part of the spike- the area of already developed tissue which is played out.

    HOWEVER- like I said, I cut the spikes off RIGHT at the base,,, to PREVENT them from regenerating. And so the plant has a little rest, grows a new leaf... and completely new vigorous spikes start to form. These just get bigger and better as the plant gets bigger and stronger.

    If I was you I know what I would do- I would have to see for myself! So I would try the classic pruning on one plant, and the radical removal on another plant! Either way you can't lose. But my way is better

    Phew! I hope I have not turned you right off everything!!!!

  6. #6
    PetSlayer is offline Senior Member
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    Hello Tommy and welcome to OT!

    Igor. I experimented for years with phals and I agree with him. Considering the amount of old spikes your phal has, I would guess it has been on a flower binge since forever. Be nice to it and give it a break. When the last flower falls, cut the each and every spike without mercy. The time it'll take to develop a secondary branch on an old spike that will most likely give you rather puny flowers could be used by the plant in a better way and in maybe not more then a month or two then the same amount of time that will take a secondary spike to grow you'll get a new healthy fat spike on which you can experiment. And did I mention that the flowers on a new spike tend to last longer ?

    Cheers!
    /L

  7. #7
    jtsmith is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the continued support. I cut the spikes. See photo. Is there anything I need to put on the ends of the spikes that I cut? Flower nutrients?

    TommyName:  orchid spikes.jpg
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  8. #8
    Pindar's Avatar
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    No. nothing needed at all. Well done- I know it takes a bit of nerve to make the first cuts: it seems so final. Except it isn't- You will see growth.

  9. #9
    Gurj's Avatar
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    I had a similar issue with a new phal spike. It turned out that the temperature fluctuated a huge amount in a short amount of time. Only one bloom down, I moved it into the cold utility room. Its doing fine. Yours would thrive!

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