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


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


Flowering Orchids in Autumn

Autumn brings shorter days and cooler temperatures.  Vandas, cattleyas, oncidiums, dendrobiums, phalaenopsis, paphiopedilums (and their hybrids) are just a few of the autumn-blooming orchids.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

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


Orchids and Growing or Planting Fragrant Varieties

Orchids and growing or planting fragrant varieties.

These are smaller sized orchids that are very fragrant in the evening hours.

These tall lanky orchids can have good fragrance that need to be careful because some of them do not.

Ancistrochilum rothschildianum
This is a small species that is deciduous during winter.

The popular lady of the night orchid is out of the Brassavola species which include other orchids that give off their sense in the night.

Not only smells good but it is striking to with its large spiderlike flowers.

These brassia hybrids are nicely scented and very popular today.

A cross between cattleya and barcarole, these files can be very strongly scented.

This large deciduous plant bears male or female flowers and has many species that are quite fragrant concluding the tenebrosum and pileatum. There are also many popular hybrids that are very fragrant as well.

The most fragrant species this orchid can be iricolor, bicolor, dowiana, labiata, maxima, schilleriana, warscewiczii and mossiae. Some of the hybrids can be intensely fragrant.

These orchids lose their leaves during the winter time and have many species which are scented.

A popular genus of orchid having tall canes which those leaves in winter. Most of this species of orchid or scented and you might recognize some of the more popular ones which include monoliforme, speciosum, nobile, kingianum, loddigesii and parishii.

these orchids have chains of tiny flowersand many of the species assented including the magnum, glumacaeum and cobbianum.

These small and highly fragrant species can be rather short-lived.

Haraella odorata
These of a popular miniature orchids which are very fragrant.

Sedirea japonica
Cultivated in Japan these orchids can be on the small side and rather long but are highly fragrant.

these orchids are harder to grow in northern regions and a big long a real roots. The smaller scented species include suavis, denisonia, cristata and tessellata.

Consisting of complex hybrids the species are highly scented with wonderful fragrance.

Planting orchids or growing them in pots can be a challenging but rewarding experience and with these species you’re sure to get a nose-full!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

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

+ Article Base Gardening


Orchid Care and Maintenance Tips: Broken Leaf or Spike / Stem

Here’s a reblog post from the Just Add Ice blog:

It happens. You drop something on your orchid plant, or perhaps the whole pot gets knocked over or dropped. Maybe it gets damaged on the way home from the nursery, or a pet or child gets a little to inquisitive. Whatever the case, orchids survived and thrived in the wild for a long, long time, so they can’t possibly be as fragile as they seem. Here’s how to deal with broken leaves or stems with proper orchid care.

A broken leaf shouldn’t cause any harm to your Phalaenopsis orchid plant. But if you want to cut it off for display purposes, you should do it carefully. Use a sterile knife or scissor to prevent infection, and cut it a half-inch from the central stem.

If one of the flowering stems has broken, you might be tempted to wrap some tape around it and pretend it didn’t happen, but it’s not likely to stay unnoticed for long. Besides, leaving it like that invites infection, which could do a lot more damage.

Instead, cut the orchid flower spike above where it has broken, and put it in a vase with water, like you would with any cut flower. Then, remove the remaining broken flower spike down to the base of the orchid. This will encourage new flower spikes to grow.

Many orchid lovers recommend putting some cinnamon on the broken end for it’s antimicrobial properties.  (Read about my Listerine Orchid Care home remedy here). New blossoms may take up to a year to appear, but as long as the leaves and roots of your orchid are healthy, you will get new flowers eventually!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

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

+ Just Add Ice Blog Tip


Orchid Plant Blooming : Time Lapse Video

A friend emailed me a link to this remarkable video of a blooming orchid.
The video was filmed over the course of 8 days.


Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids


Orchid Care and Maintenance Tips : Temperatures for Orchids (Part I)

If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that I spent the weekend working in the garden.  My hands are a bit sore from all of the weeding and trimming I did, but I’ve managed to type my latest Orchid Care and Maintenance Tip.  This one is all about temperature–hope you enjoy it! :-)

One of the most frequently asked questions from orchid newbies is “How do I get my orchid to rebloom?“  You’ll find all sorts of solutions on the internet dealing with water, fertilizer, maybe light, but rarely do you see someone share what I feel is the true secret to getting your orchid to rebloom….TEMPERATURE!

It is a fact!  Proper temperature is EXTREMELY important for orchids, and here’s why:

Orchids will ONLY bloom when they are maintained in their optimal daytime and nighttime temperature ranges!

That’s right!  Orchids enjoy different daytime and nighttime temperatures–they need these daily fluctuations in temperature to grow and bloom! (Just like eggs need to incubated within a narrow temperature range in order to hatch!)  See my post on bud blast to learn what happens when temperatures fluctuate too much for orchids.

Orchids are typically classified into three different temperature categories: WARM, INTERMEDIATE and COOL.  You know I like to keep things simple around here, so I’ve typed up a chart that shows the ideal temperature range for each category.  (You’ll notice that daytime temperatures are at least 15 F higher than nighttime temperatures.)


  • WARM (Vanda and Phalaenopsis varieties)
  • 65 F or higher (Nightime)
  • 75 F to 90 F (Daytime)
  • INTERMEDIATE (Cattleya and Paphiopedilum varieties)
  • 55 F to 60 F (Nighttime)
  • 70 F to 80 F (Daytime)
  • COOL (Cymbidium and Dendrobium varieties)
  • 45 F to 55 F (Nighttime)
  • 60 F to 70 F (Daytime)

* You’ll find an extensive temperature chart detailing the ideal temperature fluctuations of over 20+ orchids on page 26 of Orchids Made Easy.  Learn more about his free orchid care email newsletter here.

Just a quick reminder that a change in temperature should always coincide with a change in humidity.  Make sure there is sufficient humidity when increasing temperatures and vice-versa.

That’s all I have for you now.  Don’t miss Part II of my Temperatures for Orchids Series.  I’ll be showing you the two handy little devices I use to monitor the temperature and humidity levels for my orchids.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady


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