Orchids in Jamaica, An Oncidium in Spike, and Other Developments

Well, look at that…it’s been about two months since I last updated my blog. Sorry about that, folks! I’ve been hard at work on another project that I will hopefully be able to share with you soon. During this unplanned blog hiatus, [BIG ANNOUCEMENT!] I got engaged, then went to Jamaica for what had become an engagement celebration vacation with my boyfriend fiancé. We stayed at The Jewel Dunn’s River in Ocho Rios, an all-inclusive resort, and we had a really amazing time. On our second day there I noticed a beautiful orchid in bloom attached to the trunk of a palm tree on the resort grounds, and once I saw that one I started seeing them everywhere!

Native Jamaican Orchid
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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
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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!

Pink Phal in bloom
Love the white outline of this one

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

White Phal blooming
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:

Side shoots on an orchid 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):

Two side shoots on a moth orchid spike
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:

Side shoot on a cut orchid spike
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!!

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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Precious Little Jewels & Spikes

Whoops…I forgot to do an Orchid of the Week post last Friday. For shame!

After my Lowe’s orchid shopping extravaganza last week, I’ve been waiting with bated breath for my new tolumnia’s blooms to open. I did my regular Sunday morning orchid watering session yesterday and noticed that one of the buds was starting to open!

Such amazing, velvety petals!

And this morning, I got up to discover the fully opened, gorgeous bloom:

My first Tolumnia bloom

How beautiful is that?? A couple of the other buds are beginning to open, so in the next few days I’ll have several little beauties. Woohoo!!

Also on the Woohoo!! front, I noticed that yet ANOTHER one of my phals is starting to put out a spike. I guess phal blooming season is coming up—they do generally bloom in the winter. So I currently have three phals that are throwing spikes. The newest one that I discovered is the one that I bought at the Union Square Greenmarket about a year and a half ago. This will already be the second spike that it has put out for me—it spiked and bloomed earlier this year. You can see the very beginning of this orchid’s spike in this image: it’s the small light green bit in the middle:

Spike starting to break through

And just for fun, an updated photo of my peloric phal’s spike:

It’s very clearly a spike now!

That’s all for now. So much orchid excitement in my house these days! So many exclamation points are necessary!