Orchids are grown indoors for their flowers. There are thousands of varieties of Orchids.
Orchids have spikes that are also known as ‘flower spikes’ or ‘stem’. This spike is the part where flowers and buds grow in.
The spike starts to wither once the flowers have done with blooming. After a while, the spike falls off too as it has done its job.
How to identify Orchid Flower Spike
Identifying an Orchid spike is crucial because it looks similar to aerial roots. Beginners may confuse it with aerial roots and vice versa.
Here’s how you differentiate an orchid spike from a root:
|Flower Spikes||Aerial Roots|
|Location||Usually appear on the sides of the Orchid. That is, they grow in between the leaves(Underneath & Above the leaves).||Roots can be produced anywhere even at the front and back of the axis.|
|Shape||Very pointy and thin. Looks like a 'Mitten'.||Rounded and thick.|
|Color||Greener than the roots and not at all glossy.||Glossy appearance.|
|Time||Flower spikes in Phalaenopsis appear in Autumn/Winter.||Aerial roots are seen throughout the year.|
|Growth Direction||They move toward the light source.||They incline in all the directions.|
|New Sprouts||Tip is pointy.||Tip is rounded.|
Hope you can identify the orchid spike properly. If not, take a look at this video.
How long does it take for an orchid flower spike to grow?
Orchid flower spikes take time to develop completely. They can take 2-3 months to develop completely. The rate of growth depends a lot on light and temperature.
If there is abundant light the spike grows quickly.
Why has my orchid flower spike stopped growing?
There can be many reasons why your Orchid flower spike stopped growing. Common reasons would be Root loss or stress. Orchid flower spikes may also stop growing when light or nutrients like Mg are insufficient.
Root rot is commonly seen in Phalaenopsis orchids especially if the gardener doesn’t know the ideal watering schedule. Overwatering causes root rot.
The plant can’t absorb sufficient nutrients and water, thus won’t be able to produce flowers.
- Leaves will become withered and soft, in a healthy plant, they feel strong and tough.
- Exposed roots become brittle and withered.
- Orchids that are planted in normal potting soil are more susceptible to root rot. Use a suitable potting mix.
- Never let the soil become soggy(waterlogged).
- Watering too frequently causes root rot. Check the soil with fingers and only water when needed.
Orchids may stop blooming in response to rising temperatures. This condition is called Heat stress and excessive temperatures cause an imbalance in transpiration.
After learning that they suffer from heat stress don’t go and pour gallons of water in the pots of your Orchids.
Water them adequately at the same time try to lower the temperature. This would fix the heat stress problem efficiently.
Signs of Heat Stress:
- Too much light causes the yellowing of leaves and the plant as a whole in severe conditions.
- Withering leaves. If the leaves feel warm to touch they may need to move to a shadier place.
- Sunburn. Initially, reddish-purple spots appear on leaves and pseudobulbs. After a while, leaf and root tips may brown.
- Leaves become leathery if there’s been a lot of damage due to heat stress.
Preventing Heat Stress:
Preventing stress is ideal as treating it is tedious and takes a lot of time. Let’s see how you can do it.
- Take special care of them in the summer. Higher temperatures quickly dry Phal. orchids. Try to water them frequently on a hot day.
- A simple tip to watering orchids is, watering them more when the temperature is higher.
- Keep humidity and airflow high enough as this decreases water absorption by the plant.
- If there is a humidifier in place, use it! Your orchid plant needs as much help as it can get in summer.
Treating Heat Stress:
A heat-stressed plant will teach you to be patient. It takes a lot of time for a heat-stressed plant to rebound.
- Apply fertilizer sparingly and dilute it down before applying.
- Flush the growing medium with clean water before fertilizing each time. You don’t want salts to accumulate in the soil as the plant is already dehydrated.
- Pests attack weakened plants. Constantly check your plant for any sign of pests.
Orchid Spike not blooming?
Many other reasons can hinder flowering in Orchids. That is, even after growing a flower spike there can be no flowers.
Why is my Orchid flower spike turning yellow/brown?
Orchid spike is usually green in color and non-glossy. As you’re probably seeing, it may turn yellow/brown in some circumstances.
Yellowing/Browning usually happens when the orchid spike is done with flowering. The spike will lose all the flowers and starts to wither as it has done its job.
Should I cut the flower spike off my orchid?
If the orchid flower spike has no flowers and it is yellowing/browning, you can cut it off. The spike has served its purpose.
How do I cut the spike off my orchid?
Once the last flower withered, cut off the orchid spike at an inch from the base of the plant. This will direct the nutrients and energy into the roots and leaves rather than wasting them.
Do orchids Rebloom on the same stem?
Only Phalaenopsis will rebloom from its old stem. It will generally rebloom if given extra care.
Where to cut the orchid flower spike?
If you want you can cut the orchid spike leaving the two basal nodes. This will help the regrowth of the orchid spike.
This is usually 1-1.5 inches above the base. You can leave an inch or two as a rule of thumb.
Will orchids grow new spikes?
Yes, orchids will grow new flower spikes once or twice a year. They give rise to blossoms for a while and once they are done with their job, they wither and die.
After this phase, the plant will go into the vegetative stage, where it will only focus on the growth of leaves and roots.
How to make an orchid grow a new spike?
Phalaenopsis Orchid plants can rebloom even if grown indoors(and not in a greenhouse). You just need to care for the plant specially.
- Keep the orchid plant in a bright location with indirect sunlight.
- Fertilize your orchid plant with an orchid plant once a month as instructed on the label.
- Cut off the withered flower spike with a sterilized blade, 1/2 or 1 inch above the base.
- Water adequately. Let the potting medium dry out completely before watering the plant.
- Wait for a new leaf. This new leaf would likely be larger than the leaves already present. Once you see the leaf you can induce spiking.
- The best time to induce flowering is during the winter. Orchids thrive well in lower temperatures.
- Make sure the location of the orchid spot is bright enough. You don’t want to move the pot around as it will affect the flower spike’s orientation and confuse the plant.
How do you get more than one spike on an orchid?
Is your heart greedy? I don’t blame you, who doesn’t want two or three orchid spikes? Can it be induced?
I’ve seen flower spikes give out a side branch of the spike. This new spike will give out flowers. This is not the case with most gardeners though.
You can buy plants with multiple spikes from the store. Fellow orchid growers say that cutting just above the node will induce flowering and in some cases, an additional spike!
Be patient with orchids. If possible plant your orchids in bigger pots. Doing so increases your chance of seeing multiple orchid spikes.
Why is my orchid flower spike short?
Healthy orchid spikes are long and green.
- If the sunlight is not sufficient the orchid spike struggles to grow and remains short.
- Short spikes are seen if you cut the spike too low, not even leaving a node.
To fix: Move the plant away from the light source gradually. The orchid spike will try to reach light thus growing longer. It has worked for me before.
I hope you can fix all your orchid spike problems after reading this article. Mail me if you have a very specific question.