Brooklyn Orchids

First Spike in our New Apartment!

My orchids have, sadly, been rather dormant ever since we moved into our current apartment at the end of last June. The “orchid room” window faces southwest rather than south like it did in our last apartment, so the light isn’t quite as bright here. There has been a fair amount of new leaf, root, and pseudobulb growth, but spikes are another story. So I was thrilled at the end of March to discover a spike on my NOID Oncidium that last bloomed for me two years ago! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might already be aware of this development.

The spike was hiding inside the folds between the leaves and the pseudobulb, and it was a little bent but still totally viable. It was about an inch and a half long by the time I found it.

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A Very Belated Update: My Orchids, and Visiting Orchid Farms

It’s been way, way too long since I last updated this blog and for that I apologize. I’ve actually been traveling quite a bit this summer: Puerto Rico, San Diego, Minneapolis, and most recently, LA and Santa Barbara. But I’m finally getting settled back in and feeling like I have a moment to write a blog post. Plus, I have some fun updates on my own orchid collection to share with you!

First (and most exciting), my NOID Oncidium from Ikea is in spike! This is the second time that it has spiked for me. There are a ton of little spike offshoots growing off of the main spike, so I’m looking forward to seeing tons of beautiful little fragrant flowers in the next few weeks:

Blooms coming soon!

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Brooklyn Orchids Bloom & Spike Report

I totally missed my Orchid of the Week post last Friday, because I was hard at work on a freelance project. Whoops.

I also missed my Sunday morning orchid watering session yesterday, so I watered them this morning instead. And I discovered that a pretty bloom on one of my Phals opened up overnight!

Love the white outline of this one

There are also lots of beautiful blooms on this orchid’s side shoot:

Delicate white and pink blooms

A couple weeks ago, I noticed what looked like not one, but two side shoots from this orchid’s growing spike:

Hmm…could it be?

I thought the growths had that flattened-at-the-tip mitten shape that is characteristic of spikes, rather than the fuller shape of a bud. And I was right! Here’s what the spike and side shoots look like today—you can really see the difference between growing buds and side shoots in this pic (buds on top, shoots on bottom):

More blooms to come!!

Yet another one of my Phals is starting to grow a side shoot. It stopped blooming a month or so ago, so I cut the spike to try and force it to bloom again. Doing this really works! Here’s proof:

New side shoot growth

A couple of my other Phals in spike have swelling buds, so I’m going to have lots of blooms in the near future. It’s so very exciting to see my patience paying off!!

The Terminator…Spike.

I was just doing some daily inspection of my orchids and noticed that I have what appears to be a terminal spike starting to poke out from the crown of one of my Phals. A terminal spike is one that grows from the center of the foliage of a monopodial orchid, meaning that the plant will no longer be able to grow leaves from there. Healthy Phals usually put spikes out from the base of the plant or in between older leaves. According to chit-chat on orchid forums, a terminal spike on a Phal may signify that the plant is not healthy but is trying to find a way to keep on truckin’. Sometimes Phals that do this will end up growing a basal keiki to try and replicate themselves, but other times they won’t survive.

The Phal with the growing terminal spike hasn’t been in great shape for awhile, and in fact was quite near death about a year or so ago.

Unhappy Phal

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Orchid of the Week: Phalaenopsis Amboinensis

Yikes, I’ve been seriously shirking my orchid blogging duties. I don’t even want to look back and see when I last did an Orchid of the Week blog. Well, because today is the last day of 2010 I figured I should get in one final blog post this year. And I’ve chosen to feature Phalaenopsis amboinensis, one which I have in my personal collection—and mine is beginning to spike!!

This orchid is native to Indonesia and has small, star-shaped waxy blooms with tiger-like striping. Take a look at this specimen (not mine):

Photo credit: orchidspecies.com

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Keeping the Faith

The Orchid That Won’t Die now looks like this:

This poor thing is just a nubbin
Is there any hope??

When I came back from vacation three weeks ago, this little phal was showing real signs of turning around: a new leaf, the slightest hint of a new root. Shortly thereafter, the largest leaf died off so I removed it. That turned out to be a mistake, because the root seemed to have been growing from the base of that leaf. The plant was then left with one small leaf plus the new leaf that had begun to sprout while I was in San Diego.

A couple days ago I noticed that the small leaf was shriveling and turning yellow, and then began to mold. So this morning I removed that leaf, and the plant – if you can even call it that anymore – is what you see in the photos above. The reddish-brown stuff along the edge of the leaf is cinnamon, which I applied to the area that I removed. Cinnamon has antibacterial properties and should help prevent infections.

This poor orchid is so far gone that I sorta can’t believe I’m even still trying. But as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve given this orchid so many chances that I’m not going to give up until it’s finally, officially dead. It seems pretty close, but you never know. Amazingly, I have faith!

At least I have more good news on the Oncidium front: my Twinkle Fragrance Fantasy is sprouting a second spike! In the photo below, you can see it starting to poke out from the large leaf on the left:

Second new spike on this Oncidium!

I’m curious to see how long it takes for this plant to put out blooms after it throws out a spike. You know I will be posting updates here as I get closer to seeing the flowers!  🙂

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