How to Recognize Orchid Roots and Orchid Spikes, Part Deux: Photos!

I’m finding that my post about how to identify whether you have an orchid spike or a root is my most viewed post by far. For example, just in the past week, my spike* vs. root post has been viewed nearly 6x as many times as my second most viewed post of the week. Clearly, “is it a root or is it a spike?” is a big question for new orchid owners!

So in the interest of helping orchid growers out even more, I decided to do another post on this topic, this time with LOTS of photo examples to help better illuminate what a root looks like and what a spike looks like. If you haven’t read my original post, I recommend doing so before you dive into this one. All the below photos are of orchids in my own collection. Because you’ll see more roots growing from your orchid than spikes, let’s begin with root pics:

Two roots emerging from the base of a Phalaenopsis

Roots growing from an Oncidium

Bollopetalum putting out loads of new roots

Existing roots + new root on a Phal

Phal root on left, growing from between leaves—spikes often also grow from there

Phal root

Now, let’s move on to some photos of orchid spikes. Most of these are my Phalaenopsis (moth) orchids that have spiked in the past,  but I’m throwing in a couple of my other orchid species as well.

Tiny spike nub currently emerging on this Phal!

A different Phal’s spike—if you look very closely, you will see a “mitten shape” indicative of spikes

This Phal put out a purple spike rather than a green one

A Phal spike that has grown long enough to be staked

Phal spike approximately 1″ in length

Look hard: Dendrobium spike just beginning to peek out between leaves

Zygopetalum spike growing out of the left side of the pseudobulb

A spike peeks out from an Oncidium pseudobulb

A slender Oncidium spike

And I’ve saved what might be the best for last; a current photo (taken this morning) of one of my Phalaenopsis orchids that shows both a new root AND a new spike!

The new root is on the left (growing down), the new spike is on the right (growing up)!

I really hope these photos make it easier for you to figure out whether your orchid is putting out a root or a spike! Like I always say, visuals are the best way to learn about orchids. Please feel free to ask me questions in the comments. And to start receiving orchid care tips via email, I recommend [Affiliate Link] signing up for the free Orchids Made Easy newsletter from Ryan “The Orchid Guy.”

Happy orchid growing, everyone!

*What’s a spike? Check out my glossary of orchid terms!

57 Responses to “How to Recognize Orchid Roots and Orchid Spikes, Part Deux: Photos!”
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