Like all living things, orchids need nutrition. Feeding (fertilizing) your orchid is an important part of caring for it and making sure that it lives a long and healthy life. This post about how to fertilize an orchid is waaaaayyy overdue…but better late than never, right? I’m going to talk specifically about fertilizing Phalaenopsis (moth) orchids because Phals are the most common orchids for beginners, available everywhere from corner delis to Home Depot, Ikea, and Trader Joe’s. Read more
So you have a beautiful Phalaenopsis orchid, but its blooms are starting to wilt and fall off. What do you do now?! First of all, don’t freak out and throw your plant in the garbage; fading flowers are totally normal and they do NOT mean that your orchid is dying! Orchids can live for years and years and years with the proper care. Part of this proper care is knowing when and where to cut the flower spike. This is one of the most common questions I get in the comments section of my blog posts, so I thought it would be helpful to write about how to proceed once your Phal (the most widely available type of orchid) has finished blooming.
I’ve tried growing three different Paphiopedilums (lady slippers) and have killed two out of those three. The third, however, has been chugging along happily and put up a spike a little while ago. And now, I’m so proud to say that it is currently in bloom, with one fully opened flower and two developing buds!
I last posted an update on my Phalaenopsis orchid keiki grow experiment on September 1—almost three months ago! Since then many of the keikis have been growing quite nicely, developing roots (and, surprisingly, even a couple of spikes!) and today I decided it was high time to remove some of them and pot them on their own.
The first keiki had sprouted two good roots about three inches in lengths, along with a couple other new roots and a spike! I figured the spike was a sign that this guy was definitely ready for its own pot. The mother plant has her own spike as well.
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:
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!
There are also lots of beautiful blooms on this orchid’s side shoot:
A couple weeks ago, I noticed what looked like not one, but two side shoots from this orchid’s growing spike:
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):
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:
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!!