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:
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.
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!
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.”
Updated to add: I receive many questions from readers about orchids that have leaves and roots growing off of the spike. These are called keikis (baby orchids), and they can be viable plants on their own once their roots grow long enough. I have written a separate post about keikis and what to do with them. Read all about keikis here.
Happy orchid growing, everyone!
*What’s a spike? Check out my glossary of orchid terms!