Phalaenopsis Orchid

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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Orchid Care : Diseases – Crown Rot

In today’s orchid care post, I’ll be sharing a few tips on how to care for orchids with crown rot.  You may have seen plants at your local grocery store suffering from crown rot (I see it all too often) or perhaps you’ve had to treat an orchid with crown rot in your own home.  Treating crown rot can be extremely difficult, but the more we know about it, the better we can treat, even prevent it!

Orchids are susceptible to various types of rot including leaf rot, root rot and crown rot.  Monopodial orchids (Phalaenopsis and Vandas) are most suseptible to crown rot—a fungal infection that is caused by water pooling in the center (or crown) of the plant.

Crown rot can cause immense damage to an orchid and must be treated immediately.  One solution  is to use hydrogen peroxide (3%).  You can treat the crown rot with full strength hydrogen peroxide, repeating every 2-3 days until the rot no longer fizzes and bubbles with the hydrogen peroxide application.  Sprinkling cinnamon from your kitchen cabinets can also be used to treat the fungus.

Of course, prevention is the best medicine, even when it comes to orchids.  Crown rot is 100% preventable.  Water your orchids early in the day, so that the plant has time to dry off before night time and provide your plants with proper air circulation.  Most importantly, always take the time to inspect the crown of your orchids regularly.  Take a tissue and soak up any water that has pooled in the crown.

(If you do decide to remove severely damaged orchid leaves, make sure you sterilize the blade for each cut.)

Want to receive more tips on caring for orchids?  Sign up for Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips–you’ll learn everything you need to know straight from the expert!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

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

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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

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Orchid Care Basics: What Kind of Orchid Is it?

The best way to care for your orchid is to know exactly what kind of orchid you have.  But what do you do if you don’t know what kind of orchid you have?  Easy!  Narrow things down by determining your orchid’s growth pattern.

How Do Orchids Grow?

There are two basics growth types for orchids–Monopodial and Sympodial.


Monopodial (Latin for “single foot”): Orchids with a main stem that continuously grow upward.  Flower spikes, or inflorescences, alternate from one side of the stem to the other.  Angraecus, Phalaenopsis, and Vandas are monopodial orchids.

Sympodial (Latin for “many footed”): Orchids that grow sideways along the surface.  Psuedobulbs grow from the base (the connecting stem is called a rhizome) and mature at the end of the growing season by flowering.  Cattleyas, Dendrobiums and Paphiopedilums are sympodial orchids.

Learn more about these Orchid varieties with Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Cheat Sheets. They come in so handy when I just want a quick refresher on orchid care!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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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

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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.

AMAZING! :-)

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids

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Orchid Trivia : World’s Most Popular Orchid

What is the world’s most popular orchid sold in the US today?

(Continue reading to find out!) :-)
Continue Reading »

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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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Growing Orchids : Anatomy & Terms

I’ve given several copies of Ryan’s Orchids Made Easy book to friends as gifts over the years.  They’ve thanked me time and time again for giving them an easy-to-follow orchid care book written by a truly wonderful expert orchid care grower.  Ryan’s book and Free Orchid Care Tips (sign up now) have shown Vic that “even after 50 years of orchid growing, there is still lots to learn about orchids!”

Personally, I love how systematic and clear the book is–it is well laid out, jam-packed with information and well illustrated.  It’s my treasure trove of information and I refer to it often!

But, it doesn’t stop there.  I even had a color page from his Ebook professionally printed and hung near my work sink as art.  I tried taking a picture of it this morning, but there was too much glare from outside (I’ll have to add it later for you)!  Since, I can’t share the page with you now, I did the next best thing and found a similar image online.

Here are a few diagrams and terms every person growing orchids should understand.

Please note : These images are of a Phalaenopsis Orchid and while your orchid may be a different variety, you can still use these diagrams to learn about the anatomy of your specific plant.

Orchid Diagrams:

Phalaenopsis Orchid, Orchid Care, Orchids

(click on images to enlarge)

Phalaenopsis Orchid, Orchid Care, OrchidsOrchid Care, Orchid Flower

Orchid Terms:

  • Bloom – the actual flowers once they are open.
  • Bud – the flower before it is opened.
  • Column – the tiny, rounded, column-like extension between the two largest petals. This little guy is the central reproductive organ of the orchid flower.
  • Inflorescence – the flowering part of a plant.
  • Keiki – a small plant growing from a node on the flower stem.
  • Leaves – located above the roots.
  • Lip – the part of the flower that is almost completely divided from the rest of the flower, however, it is connected by the column. The lip is specialized to aid in pollination.
  • Medium – the material added to an orchid’s container, which can range from varieties such as soil to bark.
  • Node – a distinct joint or notch on the inflorescence from which a secondary flower stem can emerge from after the primary inflorescence has finished blooming.
  • Roots – located just below the leaves.
  • Sepal – the outer segments on an orchid flower. Similar to petals, sepals are the three smaller segments of the flower that create a triangular shape.
  • Spike/Stem – a flower stalk.
  • Stake – a wooden stick to support the orchid spike.
  • Throat – the inner portion of a tubular orchid lip, often quite colorful.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

+ Diagrams & Terms courtesy of JustAddIce Orchids

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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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