Keeping an Orchid spike straight during growth

by Lori Walters
(Shawnee, Kansas)

I have a Phalaenopsis orchid that bloomed for six months. It is now growing a new leaf and the root tips are all growing.

The day the last bloom fell off, I cut the spike down to one inch above the plant because it had bloomed for six months and I wanted it to concentrate on leaf growth.

The temperature in my house was in the lower 60s for 4 - 5 days. Two days after I cut the spike, I noticed a new spike growing!!!

It is only about 2 1/2 or 3 inches long. Since I grow inside at an east window, the spike is growing out to the side, not straight up. I tried to put a short bamboo stake next to it, but there are too many roots underneath in the area.

How do I keep the spike growing straight up?

Plant Guides Answer

It sounds like you've lucked into a Phalaenopsis that really likes to bloom!

It is not unusual for a moth orchid to bloom non-stop for 6 months and, as you are experiencing, they can spike continuously. In fact, they have been known to bloom themselves to death.

I think you were probably wise to remove the previous bloom spike and direct its energy into leaf production. If you want to protect its health, you may need to force it to rest for 2 months.

This can be done during summer or fall. This is simple to do, just remove any bloom spikes that form at the base and do not expose the plant to temperatures below 60 degrees F. Cool temperatures initiate bloom in moth orchids.

Fertilize the orchid plant once at the beginning of the rest period and then not again until you're ready for it to produce another spike.

As your orchid is producing new leaves and roots, it is healthy and may not need to rest yet. You may want to consider giving it a rest after the spike that is currently forming blooms.

As for making the spike that is already forming grow straight up, you will have to stake it.

There are very thin green metal stakes available in the garden centers or by mail order. Use one of these if you can't get a bamboo stake to fit in between the roots.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care

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