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Question about flower spikes

This is a discussion on Question about flower spikes within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; This is probably a very easy question for most of you to answer -- what ...

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  1. #1
    orchid_fan's Avatar
    orchid_fan is offline Senior Member
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    May 2004
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    Default Question about flower spikes

    This is probably a very easy question for most of you to answer -- what causes an inflorescence to grow shorter than normal? I have a phal that flowered recently but the inflorescence was quite short...maybe only 6 inches. Does inadequate lighting cause short spikes? Is there another cause? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Paphraguy is offline Former User
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    Apr 2004


    I think inadequate light would cause a Phal spike to grow longer and not shorter. I'm not a Phal expert but I think it also depends on different conditions and the plants themselves.

  3. #3
    JOHNnDC's Avatar
    JOHNnDC is offline Senior Member
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    Wash, DC


    I had an onc spike last winter that only grew like 6 inches long, it was very cute, but small.

  4. #4
    Jmoney's Avatar
    Jmoney is offline Senior Member
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    Smaller spikes can mean a bunch of things. Plants that aren't very healthy will produce smaller spikes, but they will also produce much fewer buds and you'll be able to tell easily. At least for paphs, very low light can result in long spindly spikes, and very high light will shorten the spikes considerably. And of course you have plain old natural variation...

  5. #5
    LJA's Avatar
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    And of course you have plain old natural variation...
    Spikes can be huge one blooming season, then quite short the next, especially if the plant put a lot of its energy out for blooms the last time. As long as the plant is healthy, a shorter spike one season is nothing to worry about. It'll come back around next blooming season.

  6. #6
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    uncasteeb is offline Senior Member
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    I suppose there are many factors that could influence the size of the spike , as far as Phal,s go i,ve read that temperature is a very important factor.

  7. #7
    orchidaddict789's Avatar
    orchidaddict789 is offline Senior Member
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    One of my earliest phals grew a 6-inch-long spike which held one normal-sized flower. Something strange. Then I concluded that there are two reasons for this:

    #1--Main reason--The phal was affected with serious root rot, so it had its energy drained and could not put up a fully-developed spike.
    #2--The phal also had another (long) spike blooming at that time. I know phals can have multiple spikes at the same time, but combined with root rot, the poor phal just couldn't do it.

    There are many other reasons for short spikes that often have to do with mistakes in culture...

  8. #8
    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    Default A different kind of phal

    One other thought. There is a section of phals (Stauroglottis) that are warm weather bloomers (as opposed to the late winter/early spring of the more traditional moth orchid) and have spikes that are lax (thinner and less self-supporting) and relatively short, but which elongate with further budding over longer periods of time. Is there a chance that yours might be one of these(?)

    Phal bellina (aka Phal violacea. var. Borneo) is one - there are many others. Some of these are used quite a lot in hybridizing for more starry, heavy-textured, spotted, barred and sometimes fragrant flowers.


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