Where do I cut my Phalaenopsis spike? is on the short list of frequently asked questions at the Fuqua Orchid Center.
Yes, it's sad to say goodbye to your Moth Orchid spike. A year is a long time to wait for more flowers. But you don't have to wait an entire year. If you remove the spike in the right location you can produce a second flush of flowers from the same spike in a few months. It's easy!
1. Choose a clean sharp cutting tool. See my earlier post on cutting tools for orchids if you're wondering what tool to use.
2. Take a close look at your Phal spike. You will see a series of beige bands (called bracts) that encircle the spike at approximately 5" intervals. In the photo below one bract is visible just above the green twist tie. See where the beige bract widens and becomes shield-shaped? Beneath that protective bract is an inactive bud.
By cutting the spike just above that bud you remove the inhibitory hormones that are holding the bud's growth in check. The cells inside the bud then differentiate into a flower spike. In a few weeks you will see the new spike begin to elongate.
4. What now? Hang onto your bamboo stake as you will need it to stake the elongating spike once it is about eight inches tall.
Sometimes the bud produces a small plantlet, or keiki, rather than a new flower spike. After the young plantlet has produced a couple of roots about three inches in length before you can remove it from the old spike and pot it up.
Two additional things to think about:
- If your plant is weak or in need of repotting, it's best to repot and allow your plant to rest and recuperate this summer without the additional strain of producing a second spike.
- Don't get too excited thinking that all of your orchids will produce a second flush of flowers in this way. Not true! Only a few--some Epidendrums and Oncidiums--do this.
Click here to find out where to cut your Dendrobium spike.
To find out where to cut your Cattleya spike, click here.