Potting

Orchid Care Q& A: What’s Growing On My Orchid?!

Today’s Orchid Care Question comes from my blog reader Dan.  He’s new to Phals and has a couple of new leaves growing off the side of his plant.  He sent me some great photos and I thought I’d share his question and photos with all of you!  Enjoy :-)

Reader Question:

Hi Carol,
I have been growing a Phal orchid for the last six months or so. When I bought the orchid it had a large stem with many beautiful flowers on it. The flowers have since died off and the stem turned yellow/brown. I went ahead and trimmed the stem back to the first node and it continued to yellow and harden. Now the plant is growing new leaves off the side of the main plant and was wondering if this is normal? Also I am curious as to when I can expect a new flower stem to grow? I have attached a picture of the orchid to help with my description. Thanks for the help and tips.

- Dan Binzel

 

Phal with Basal Keiki      Detail of Phal with Basal Keiki

Answer:

Hi Dan!

So glad you’ve included some photos with your question!  They are very helpful in seeing what exactly your orchid is growing.

What you have there is a basal keiki (baby plant) growing on your Phalaenopsis mother plant.  Kekis can grow at the base (basal) or further up along the stem.  Not really sure why keikis grow on some plants and not others, sometimes they just do.  You can even force keiki growth on orchids with a product known as Keiki Growth Paste.  It’s a great way to propagate your orchids!

Some growers believe that basal keikis sometimes grow on orchids that are under a lot of stress and dying, but they will also grow on perfectly healthy orchids.  From what I can see, your plant has very happy green leaves and looks like it is quite healthy.  I do see a few dry roots on the surface of the pot.  You can take this time to remove damaged roots and repot your orchid if it needs it (since it is no longer in bloom).

You’ll want to continue to mist both plants regularly–paying special attention to the keiki as it should start growing roots soon and you don’t want those to dry out.  Once the roots get long enough, you’ll be able to repot the baby orchid in its own pot.  Check out my previous post of keiki repotting here: Orchid Keiki Repotting Instructions

As far as the mother plant goes, the keiki growth should not impact it very much  A new flower spike will emerge from the base when the plant is rested enough and ready for reblooming.  Phals typically spike in the late Fall/early Winter season.  You’ll want to give your Phalaenopsis cooler nighttime temperatures to encourage it to rebloom.  I’m personally waiting for several of my own phals to spike in a few months.  The wait is well worth it!

Well, I believe that just about answers you question.  I hope this proves helpful!  Thanks again for your question and for sending in a photo!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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How to Care for Orchids: Repotting Orchids Tips for Beginners

This little tip can keep your orchids happy in their pots for months!

USE FOAM PACKING PEANUTS TO HELP YOUR ORCHIDS GET BETTER AIRFLOW TO THEIR ROOTS

Using Styrofoam packing peanuts (not the biodegrable ones) at the bottom of your pot when you repot an orchid can help provide airflow to your orchids roots!  A few packing peanuts placed at the bottom of the pot allows air to get to the roots and prevents the roots from sitting in soggy saturated potting medium.

Packing peanuts can also be used in a decorative larger pot (allow at least 1″ all around the actual pot your orchid is planted in) to help hold up and stablize your orchid.  Simply use packing peanuts below and around the pot your orchid is planted in, to fill the space in the decorative pot.  Then simply cover lightly with moss.

** Sign up for Ryan’s Growing Orchids Email Newsletter to receive even MORE Tips to about how to repot your orchid.

Of course, you can get all the tips & secrets right now in his book… (including all his “juiciest” primo tips – which are NOT covered in his newsletter…)

The book is available in either downloadable, ebook format, or as a “real” hard copy book sent
to you in the mail.

AND, for a limited time, you’ll receive 2 FREE BONUSES with your book when you order today.

To order or simply learn more, visit: Orchids Made Easy.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

+ Sacramento Orchid Society

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Orchid Care and Maintenance Tips : Keiki Orchid Propagation

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Today’s orchid care and maintenance tip post is about keiki orchid propagation.  You might remember seeing the word keiki in my post about orchid anatomy diagrams and terms.  Did you miss it?  Not to worry, you can check out that post here:-)   (The photo above is of a phalaenopsis keiki that has grown so large, it has fully bloomed while still attached to the mother plant.  Amazing isn’t it?!)

I’ve propagated a few keikis from my phalaenopsis orchids over the years—each one has gone on to flourish into a full-size plant using the orchid propagation method below. Phalaenopsis grown this way should reach flowering size 18 months to 2 years after they first appeared.

(Proceed only if the roots of the keiki are longer than at least 2 inches.)

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Phalaenopsis Orchid, Orchid Propogation

Carefully remove the small plant from the flower spike by cutting the stem 1 to 2 inches either side of the plant, this will ensure that you don’t damage the roots of the keiki.

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Assemble the potting ‘kit’ which comprises of a pot large enough for 12 months of growth, a medium grade potting mix, a label with the variety and of course the keiki – see photo.

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid, Repotting Orchid

Carefully pot the keiki in the pot—keeping the roots in tact below the orchid potting mix.

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Protect the keiki from direct sunlight and water and fertilize regularly.

Here’s the keiki on June 30th – it has produced a new leave and roots

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

The same keiki on October 15 – it has another new leaf and a flower spike emerging from the base!

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

The keiki in full bloom on April 24

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Want to learn more tricks of the trade?  Sign up for Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips–he shares his best secrets with his readers.  You’ll learn about all the secret orchid care techniques expert growers use to super-charge their plants!  Sign up for his tips HERE.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

+ Courtesy of angel orchids

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Cymbidium Orchid Care Instructions

Follow these simple cymbidium orchid care instructions to keep your cymbidium babies happy, healthy and blooming!

Cymbidium Orchid Care, Orchid Care, Cymbidium Orchids

Cymbidium orchids are prized for their long-lasting sprays of flowers, used especially as cut flowers or for corsages in the spring.

Cymbidium Orchid Care, Cymbidium Orchids, Orchid Care, Orchids

Light is important for growing cymbidiums. They need high light but cool temperatures. Leaves should be a medium to golden green in color, not dark green.

Temperatures are another critical factor in flowering cymbidiums. Cymbidiums requre day temperatures of 75 to 85 F (or more) and night temperatures between 50 to 60 F. (Day and nighttime temperatures can be 5 degrees lower during the winter.)

Water to provide a constant supply of moisture to cymbidiums. Water heavily during the growth season (spring and summer), keeping the potting material evenly moist. Reduce water when the pseudobulbs complete growing in late summer. (The pseudobulb is a storage organ derived from the part of a stem between two leaf nodes.)

Humidity should be kept at 40 to 60 percent. Keep air circulating to prevent orchid pests and diseases.

Fertilizer should be applied during the growth season (spring through late summer), high nitrogen fertilizer (such as 30-10-10) is used. In late summer, use a high-phosphorus, blossom-booster fertilizer (such as 10- 30-20), to help form bloom spikes.

Potting is usually done in the spring after flowering, usually every two years or when the potting medium decomposes. See pages 55-61 in Orchids Made Easy for clear step by step instructions and illustrations to show you how to repot an orchid.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

These cymbidium orchid care instructions are taken from my AOS guides and from a series of Orchid Care Cheat Sheets I received for free from Ryan.  They’ve come in so handy when I just want a quick refresher on orchid care!

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Orchid Problems : Overwatering Your Orchid

One of the most common orchid care problems beginner orchid growers typically face is overwatering.

Here’s a question I received via email from Bev :

I have a Phalaenopsis Orchid. I think I have over watered it and now all the blooms have fallen off except one.  It’s in a plastic pot with moss and it is damp. What should I do?  Look forward to hearing from you.  Regards, Bev L.

Here’s a photograph of an overwatered phalaenopsis :

Orchid Care, Orchid Problems, How to Care for Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

Orchids can become sick and even be killed when overwatered. Therefore, it is extremely important to determine whether improper watering is damaging your orchid. Don’t know if you are watering your orchid plant correctly? Check out my special Orchid Care and Maintenance post to learn how to water your orchid.

Diagnose

What are the signs of  an overwatered orchid?

Pleated, soft, yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering. Your orchid may also suffer bud blast (all of the buds fall off before they open). When examined out of the pot, orchid roots may be soggy, mushy and black.

Troubleshooting

What should I do if my orchid has been overwatered?

If the damage on the roots in limited, you can simply repot your orchid in a clay pot and fresh orchid potting mix (bark based if possible) and adjust the frequency of your watering schedule—making sure to water only in the mornings. Don’t forget to adjust temperature and humidity levels if necessary.

On the other hand, if the damage of the roots is severe, you will need to remove the diseased portions of the roots with a sterilized blade and carefully repot the plant in a clay pot and bark potting mix (otherwise you rise losing your orchid.) I recommend you refer to Ryan’s “My orchid has been over/underwatered. Now what do I do?” section in his book Orchids Made Easy, for detailed information.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Instructions

Phalaenopsis orchids are among the easiest growing orchids for beginners!  These beauties can flower throughout the year (peaking in the spring) and are incredibly easy to care for as they enjoy much of the same indoor conditions found in our homes.  Just look at these flowers bloom!

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Instructions

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Instructions : (You might also find my post on the anatomy of a phalaenopsis orchid helpful.)

Light They grow easily in a bright window, with little or no direct sunlight.

Temperature Phalaenopsis should be above 60 F at night, and range between 75 and 85 F or more during the day.

Water Because they have no major water-storage organs other than their leaves, they must never completely dry out. Phalaenopsis orchids should be thoroughly watered and not watered again until nearly dry.  Want to know how I water my orchids?  Check out my Orchid Care and Maintenance Tips : Watering Your Orchids post for more details on my drench and drain method.

Humidity The recommended humidity is between 50 and 80 percent.  You an adjust humidity levels in your home by setting the orchids on humidity trays or on gravel, partially filled with water, so that the pots never sit in water.

Fertilizer It is best to fertilize your phalaenopsis orchid on a regular schedule, especially if the weather is warm, when the plants are most often growing.  Twice-a-month applications of high-nitrogen fertilizer (such as 30-10-10) are appropriate where bark-based media are used. Otherwise, a balanced fertilizer is best. When flowering is desired, a high-phosphorus fertilizer (such as 10-30-20) can be applied to promote blooming.  You can also dilute the fertilizer into your orchid’s water, making it a regular part of your watering schedule.

Potting This is best done in the spring, immediately after flowering. Phalaenopsis orchids must be potted in a porous mix. Potting is usually done every one to three years. Mature plants can grow in the same container until the potting medium starts to decompose, usually in two years.

To repot, remove all the old medium from the roots, trim soft, rotted roots, and spread the remaining roots over a handful of medium in the bottom of a new pot. Fill the rest of the pot with medium, working it among the roots, so that the junction of the roots and the stem is at the top of the medium.

Want to learn a few tricks of the trade?  Sign up for Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips–he shares his best secrets with his readers.  You’ll learn secret orchid care techniques expert growers use to super-charge their plants!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

These phalaenopsis orchid care instructions are taken from my AOS guides and from a series of Orchid Care Cheat Sheets I received for free from Ryan.  They’ve come in so handy when I just want a quick refresher on orchid care!

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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