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I have a question about a Phalaenopsis orchid. The orchid is a year old and at the top of last year's flower stalk has grown a new set of leaves as well as roots. Can this be cut off and re-rooted? Also, after the blooms fade, do you cut the stalk off and if so, how far?
Here is some information on propagation Phalaenopsis, from a commercial orchid grower:
"Phalaenopsis can be vegetatively propagated by cutting the flowering stem above a stem internode, the dormant growth 'eye' is covered with a triangular sheath. Cut, with a hot knife or shears, through the flower stem after the last flower has fallen. Then move the plant to a dimmer area. In most cases, new plants will start from the dormant 'eyes.' After the new plants initiate, the mother and 'keikis' (babies) can be move gradually back to higher light. When the keikis have 2-3 roots, the keikis can be removed, by slicing between the stem and the keiki, or cutting the stem above and below keiki's attachment point. The new plant can now be potted up and grown on. If more flowers are desired, cut the stem as above, but do not move the plant. In the second method, the mother plant is topped. As a monopodial plant, Phals continue to grow vertically. In time, they discard their lower leaves. The leaves have served as a storage vessel of water and nutrients. The leaves have outlived their usefulness and are discarded. New roots are produced above the leafless stem, as the Phal continues growing vertically. The stem can be cut below the new roots. The top part, with leaves and roots, can be repotted after proper care of the cut. The remaining stub can be left as is, for a few days/weeks. Soon, new little plants will be found growing out of the old stub. These keikis can be repotted in the same manner as the first method. They will grow on and eventually bloom. If left on the stub, they will often bloom sooner, than if individually potted."
The web site for Easy Orchids illustrates this propagation technique.
You may find the following links to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden useful for general directions on orchid care. Here is an excerpt: "Some species will also produce plantlets on the flowering spikes, complete with leaves and roots. These small offshoots can be pruned and planted, but keep in mind that transition from plantlet to flowering specimen is a long process requiring several years and lots of patience." Here is another helpful link from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website.
As for what to do with a spent flower stalk, here is what the Royal Horticultural Society recommends: "A flower spike can continue to bloom for up to three months. Once faded, cut the spike just above the second node (joint) beneath the spent flowers, and a flowering sideshoot may develop."
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April 19 2012 16:02:30