Orchids grow but don't rebloom.

bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)January 23, 2012

I have Cymbidiums, Phalaenopsis and Miltassia. They were all blooming when I bought them, between 2 and 3 years ago so they are definitely blooing size. They grow well, healthy, green, new roots and shoots etc. They get bright, indirect light in an unheated sun room. Temperature in winter is 65-70 by day, and 50-55 at night. In summer it's pretty much whatever the outside temp is, generally 80 day and 60-65 night. There is good air circulation, open windows in summer and ceiling fan very low in winter. I put the Cymbs outside in summer, in bright shade with a little morning sun but no strong sun. I must be doing something wrong, so any ideas are welcome.

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orchidnick

As a general rule when healthy orchids don't rebloom it's because of not enough light. Increase the light to where you are almost burning the leaves and I think they'll bloom.

Nick

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 11:25PM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

Are you feeding them? If so, with what, how much, and how often?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 9:52AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Hi.

That was what I was about to ask you since you already said you were providing lots of light, at least more than some here who have no problem blooming theirs:-)

I have heard you need to feed them regularly, but then I too ams just a beginner. That is what I have read over and over again though on this forums and on web sites.

Mike

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:22PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I use half strength water soluble plant food, about every two months.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:28PM
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westoh Z6

What Nick said...

I know the phals can handle the bright shade with a little morning sun outside in summer, the cyms and the Milt may need a little more light than that to bloom.

Also, some phals need a 15 degree drop between day/night temps in the fall to initiate spikes.

I don't grow cyms or milts, but I think they need more light than a phal.

Good luck,

Bob

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 3:06PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

OK. Well, they pretty much get that 15 degree drop at night in fall, since that room is unheated. In order to give them more light, it means they will have to have direct sun in that room all day. They do get a little direct sun early and late where they are now and the whole room is very bright all day, but I can try to reposition them.

Thanks all for the suggestions.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 4:13PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

How much sun do you get in RI? Here in Cymbidium paradise there is one orchid Society exclusively for Cymbidiums. Those Cymbidiums do get a lot more light than a Phalaenopsis needs. 300 Sunny days a year on average, spread through the year and the Cymbidiums fanciers have their plants growing in the sunniest spot with just a light shade-cloth to prevent burning on high UV days.

They are temperature tolerant too. Will take winter night temps down to nearly zero degrees C. provided there is no frost to burn buds and flowers.

I do not think Phalaenopsis and Cymbidiums are a good mix. My last remaining Cymbidium spends the whole year out in the yard and hopefully when it flowers i'll flog it off. Yay! A phal. would be cactus after a year in those conditions.

Whereas, the Prima Donnas (my phalaenopis) have the North American experience ie. they spend half the year in this room and the other half outside in the shadiest coolest spot in a glass-house.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 4:48PM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

The advice I've gotten, and my orchids bloom regularly (though I don't have any overly challenging varieties), is to feed "weakly weekly, " so, you might try that. Just also be sure to flush the pots with plain water every 4th week to reduce any accumulated salts. Also, what food are you using? Orchids can be fussy about the nitrogen source. What brand and formula?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 6:26PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

Not enough light for the Cyms and Milt.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 10:39PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I use Miracle Gro Orchid formula. (NOT the regular garden kind). As for more sun, I don't know how much more they can get unless I place them in direct sun all day. It's odd though because in the same room, my lemon, gardenia, oleander, cacti and many other plants grow and bloom no problem. And this room is only the winter home for the orchids. In summer they go outside, cymbs in sun/very bright shade, and the others in bright but not direct light. I'll increase the feeding.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 8:04AM
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orchidnick

Feeding weakly weekly specifically means about 1/4 strength weekly or 1/2 strength every 2 weeks. I fertilize every time I water but using the above guideline.

If you are getting healthy, robust growth, lack of adequate fertilization is not the reason they have not bloomed.

Nick

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:09AM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

One other thought, after those first blooms, did you repot into significantly larger pots? Many/most orchids like to be rather cramped. If so, in some cases, your plants may be trying to fill up the pot before they think about blooming.

I've never used Miracle Grow orchid. I checked, and it is 30-10-10. The site does not say where the nitrogen comes from. Maybe someone knows, or could comment if this will work for your varieties.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:24AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I repotted the cymbidiums and divided them. I gave away 4 young plants that I let sprout from the old pseudobulbs that I had cut off. The others are in their original pots, and I don't think they need repotting yet. They are comfortably filling their pots I would say.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:35AM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

Most orchids bloom from new pseudobulbs (just once, generally for the lifetime of the p-bulb). If you cut them off, you won't get blooms until more grow.

Or at least that is my understanding. It might be different for some varieties.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 12:01PM
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James AKA lumpy_j

The cymbidium needs a cold period to flower. I leave mine outside until the temp drops into the 40s for a week, usually around Halloween for me. Sometimes orchids will skip a flowering cycle while they get adjusted to a new environment so I wouldn't make big changes. If they are growing you are getting close.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 12:11PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Susan might be on to something, apart from the need for light, the plants have to be a certain size to flower. Very small divisions will be unlikely to flower.

Think about the Climate at places in the USA where they are easy to grow and flower well. Santa Barbara for one, a nice Cold Ocean flowing past to cool the standards (large flowered type) down at night in summer. Without that summer night upper limit of about 20C Average Temp they flower poorly or not at all. That is why they are not grown all that much in warmer (at night) parts of the world.

"Winter" flowering Cymbidiums at an orchid show.

Sure most appreciate a cool down in Autumn and winter but there are different types of Hybrids. In general the ones with smaller flowers (miniature and intermediate size) are a bit easier.

Even here there are plants that do not flower and the usual reason is that the owner has stuck them somewhere where they are in shade. Bright light is not enough.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 1:52PM
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westoh Z6

As they were all blooming when purchased, I don't think the size/age is the determining factor.

Again, what Nick said: Good strong growth = good fertilization and so on. I fert weakly/weekly with an occassional flush, and although I think that helps grow bigger stronger plants with more blooms, even with weak fertilization you'll get a few blooms.

As far as the phal, the winter lows in the 50-55 range may be an issue. Thats right on the border of what most phals can take and still thrive. Your strong growth indicates otherwise, but in my experience that's pretty cold for phals.

I still believe that a lack of blooms on healthy looking plants is usually a lack of light issue.

Those are 3 plants with pretty different light/temp needs, may be hard to treat/place them the same and get all 3 to bloom.

Keep trying different things, you'll figure it out. If you do take them outside in the late spring/summer, be sure to acclimate slowly.

Bob

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 2:19PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I know many of you have said it's a lack of light, but if you could see this room, I think you'd agree that it's very, very bright. The sun is there all day long as it is the south side of the house, and there are very large windows and no other houses, trees etc. outside to block the sun. They all get some direct some at various times of the day, and very, very bright light the rest of the day. But I have placed them on the window ledges now so they will get blazing sun all day. Let's see what happens. Thanks again for the suggestions.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 3:03PM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

Here in zone 6 in NJ my cattleyas are right up against my unshaded south facing picture window all winter. When they go outside they get five or six hours of straight morning sun and then bright light the rest of the day. The phal, of course, will take less sun than the cymbidium and the miltassia. The cymbidium likes it colder than the phal or miltassia.

Many books say to shade orchids from direct sun, but that doesn't hold true for the light-starved northeast. You may think the room is very sunny and bright to the naked eye, but to the leaves of the plants they may feel they are in the dark.

Moving your plants directly to the windowsill may be too much light too suddenly. Start moving your plants closer to the light gradually. Feel the leaves. If they feel normal, move them closer. When the leaves feel warm, move them back slightly and leave them there.

Orchid leaves should be light green. If they're dark then they're in the dark. Also remember their position in the window will make a difference. To one side they'll get the early light. To the other, they'll get the afternoon light. In the midddle they'll get light all day.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 3:32PM
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westoh Z6

Bill,

FWIW, I have a Phal Violacea alba mounted that was struggling. I put it about 6" back in a south facing window (4-5 hours of fairly direct light) and it is now producing new spikes. I would have never thought the phal could take the south window, but then it's doing pretty well now.

We need Howard, the master of light.

Bob

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 3:55PM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

They were blooming, but you subsequently divided and repotted them. They can take a few years to get back up to blooming size.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 3:58PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Susan, it seems I wasn't clear. I divided two very large plants. Each one originally had two growing points with a total of about 10 pseudobulbs. I divided each plant into two, with 5 pseudobulbs in each division and each of those had a growing point (i.e. the newest pseudobulb). Of those 5 each, the oldest pseudobulbs were leafless and brown, so I cut them off, leaving 4 new plants of 4 pseudobulbs each. The "almost dead" pseudobulbs I placed upright in an empty pot, and waited. After a few months, they all sprouted and rooted. I potted them up and gave away three. What's strange is that when I bought them, they were in bloom and had only 3 pseudobulbs each, so 4 each should be enough. I'll change the feeding strategy for all the orchids and see what happens.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 5:35PM
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orchidnick

If the above post refers to Cattleyas, I see some problems with it. Most Catt will not bloom until they have at least 5 pseudobulbs. If you took a 10 pb plant down to 2 x 5 pb you are on the edge. If some of the growths have no leaves you are over the edge. I have many catts that did not bloom until 6 or 7 growths were present. When you bought them in bloom with 3 pbs, they were probably divided from a larger plant.

From the above, size could be a factor, don't divide them, a specimen plant is a thing of beauty.

Nick

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 7:21PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Orchidnick, if you check the OP this is about Cymbidiums. They each have 4 or 5 pseudobulbs now as some grew new ones this past summer. I don't have any Catts. Unfortunately, many years ago, I lost dozens of plants (species that were rescued from logging in South America and India at the time) as well as several hybrids, when my small greenhouse was blown apart by a severe winter storm. It was a great way to save the plants, as there were volunteers in the field, and when the trees came down, they would rush to gather the plants, and send them to a place (I think it was in Michigan) where they were sold to people at very low prices, in an effort to save not only these mature and amazing specimens, but also to preserve the species. I am sure that the import laws would forbid such a project now, especially with plants collected from the wild. Of course they could be harboring all sorts of pests. I don't know how they were able to do it back in the 60's, but they did.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 10:30AM
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orchidnick

As they were Cymbidiums, nothing wrong, they should bloom happily. Unless they don't get enough light. (You must be sick of hearing this by now)

Nick

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 1:01PM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

It will also depend on how tight they are in the pots. The tighter the better. Too large a pot and they'll take longer to bloom.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 3:54PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Well they aren't really tight in the pots, but they're definitely not over-potted. Maybe they're just being difficult..........I'll put them back outside in spring. If they don't bloom next year they will be compost for the garden. At least they'll be put to some use to grow the plants that DO bloom! :-)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 5:48PM
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ashes_of_the_fire(6B)

Don't compost! give them to someone who may be able to love them better than you. there's always someone...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 5:52PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Ashes, I resent the remark that I don't love them! I bought them didn't I? Or are you trying to tell me I don't love them enough to take care of them? I've done everything that they are supposed to require. Either way that was uncalled for.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 5:57PM
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bgian(New York)

Hi, as a fellow northeastern home grower, for me at least, nothing (including phals and milts) blooms unless it is ON the windowsill, whether its south, southwest, or west facing, small or large windows...etc...even better if I can put them outside in the summer.....hope you get blooms this year!!!!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 6:54PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

bgian,
Thanks for the info. I have moved them to the windowsill. I do put them outside in summer, but this year I'll give them more light outdoors too.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 6:26AM
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elvis

Bill, I'll probably get contradicted, but since I can't email you directly, here goes. Have you tried Superthrive? No, I don't hawk the stuff, but my orchids bloom a LOT, and I do use it regularly. And lots of light! (couldn't resist saying the light bit).

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 8:25PM
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kathi_mdgd

OMG,I think i;ve died and entered Orchid Heaven.Arthurm those are just gorgeous!! TFS
Kathi

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 9:32PM
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tstrombotn(z5 OH)

I still think you need more light - Best advice I ever got (from this forum!) was to give them more light, because there isn't enough natural light in Ohio to make most orchids bloom. I have pretty good luck by providing 12 hours of full spectrum light when I bring them inside in October, increasing to 13 hours, then 14 hours, then back to 13, then back to 12 by March. I have 2 fixtures each with 4 - 40W full spectrum four foot fluorescents, plus 9 full spectrum CFLs shining on the orchids from fixtures. 4-6 hours a day, as far north as you are, seems like enough to keep them alive, but not to let them bloom.

Just my opinion, but when I added all the light, I started getting blooms. If I have orchids that don't bloom for 2 or 3 years, I exchange them or give them away, because I must not have the right conditions, or know what they want.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 2:48PM
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tstrombotn(z5 OH)

I still think you need more light - Best advice I ever got (from this forum!) was to give them more light, because there isn't enough natural light in Ohio to make most orchids bloom. I have pretty good luck by providing 12 hours of full spectrum light when I bring them inside in October, increasing to 13 hours, then 14 hours, then back to 13, then back to 12 by March. I have 2 fixtures each with 4 - 40W full spectrum four foot fluorescents, plus 9 full spectrum CFLs shining on the orchids from fixtures. 4-6 hours a day, as far north as you are, seems like enough to keep them alive, but not to let them bloom.

Just my opinion, but when I added all the light, I started getting blooms. If I have orchids that don't bloom for 2 or 3 years, I exchange them or give them away, because I must not have the right conditions, or know what they want.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 3:05PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

This is very good info since I have yet to bloom one of mines after 3 years!

Bill, did you ever get yours to bloom?
I figure it this way, if I don't have enough light at full sunny locations to the point where I need lights, then I will have to rethink what orchids I want here.
I just can't afford the price of keeping lights on anymore(

Thank you

MIke

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Sun, Nov 9, 14 at 17:40

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 4:49PM
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