How long does it take a phalaenopsis spike to grow?

alielizaApril 26, 2008

I don't think Im being impatient, really. After having put my orchids outside last summer, some of them finally started to grow a spike after a couple years of never re-spiking after I bought them. I was delighted to see spikes growing. Now, though, months and months after I brought them inside, one of the biggest, heartiest seeming spikes (the others were thin and spindly looking and never actually flowered) seems to have stopped growing. I know it takes a long time, but this seems to be a *really* long time. I almost want to say that brought them in around October, and 6 months later its still about half as long as it should be, and it doesn't seem to have gained an inch in 2-3 months. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it, only that it is stunted.

It is in a sunny window with sunlight filtered by a curtain, planted in sphagnum moss, everything else on the orchid is fine, leaves, roots, etc.

Here is a picture:

Am I just being impaitent? Will it ever grow?

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mehitabel(z6 MO)

I don't think you are being impatient. The books say the average length of time from spike to bloom is about 3 months or a little more. I have found it to be variable-- some bloom in as little as two months, others take longer.

You don't say where in the US you are, but except for a few of the warmest states, the curtain probably isn't needed in winter. The winter sun just isn't strong enough. It would just start to be needed in late March and April, as the sun becomes more intense.

A little more light in the winter, or even now if you can provide it without burning the leaves, should help.

I would also check the roots, as sometimes a spike stalls because the roots are compromised.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 4:54PM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

I agree with mehitabel - I think it was howard that said that when you bring your plants back in for the winter, it's like plunging them into the dark - even though it 'looks' pretty bright to us, the amount of ambient light outside is huge compared to indoors even near a 'bright' curtained window. Hopefully with more light as spring rolls in, you'll get an unstalling of the spikes!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 6:08PM
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highjack(z6 KY)

Ditto to the above but warmth might also be a factor. If not warm enough, they will stall but when the temps warm back up, they will grow again.

Brooke

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 6:28PM
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alieliza

Thanks, guys, for your input. Maybe I will move it outside into a partially sunny spot during the warmer months and hope for a spike, and blooms!

Its quite frustrating, because I SO want to be successful with orchids, my dad loves them and has great success... I guess I need to pick his brain too!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 6:59PM
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alieliza

Thanks, guys, for your input. Maybe I will move it outside into a partially sunny spot during the warmer months and hope for a spike, and blooms!

Its quite frustrating, because I SO want to be successful with orchids, my dad loves them and has great success... I guess I need to pick his brain too!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 7:30PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hey, alieliza. Asking your Dad would surely please him.

In the meantime, how to grow and bloom phals is discussed at Big Leaf Orchids (see url below). Another good discussion is at Bedford Orchids (scroll down to item V A and B

Here is a link that might be useful: How to grow and bloom phals-- Peter Lin

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 3:21PM
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sweetcicely(S7 USDA9 No.CA)

Hi alieliza,

Your plant and spike look very healthy, but six months is a very long time for an autumn spike to stay at that stage. Even with winter sun and cold nights (60-64 degrees) my "windowsill" phals begin to open in less than 4 months.

This is a guess, so please consider it with a grain of salt. I think that I remember your post spiking phals earlier--they were either yours, or those of someone who clamps in the same way. The clamping is what made me notice them.

When clamping a spike to a stake, I carefully avoid touching the leading several inches that carry the flower bud beginnings. In fact, I place the clip Below the top-most bract (that flat, green scale-like thing below the buds). My theory is that the spike tip might stall, or grow wrong,if it "thinks" it is pinned down or blocked.

If you care to test the theory :) you could reclamp the spike Below (but not touching) the upper bract, and Very Gently remove the clamp that is presently holding the top of your spike. It might take the spike a week to figure things out, but releasing the tip might give it the jumpstart it needs.

I hope it goes well.

Sweetcicely

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 10:53PM
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AMYQofU(z9 NorCal)

I think that's a good guess. I would agree that clamping the spike lower down is better.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 2:29PM
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alieliza

Well, well, well, the things you learn.
Maybe I shouldn't spike at all.
Upon further inspection, (taking off the spike) I found these indentations on the spike (caused by a part of the clip, it fits perfectly into the dents).

Is it doomed for never blooming?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 8:51PM
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sweetcicely(S7 USDA9 No.CA)

Hey, alieliza--Doomed? It's a Phal! I'm betting it's dented, but unbowed and you'll see those blooms yet!

When my Phals spike, I wait till they've grown a bit (like yours), then start with a loose tie (I use raffia) that gradually eases the spike in near the stake, but not too snugly.

You can also get clips that are not so tight. The dragonfly clips apparently come in a couple of sizes--or, you can just use a long twistie tie (i.e. longer than the ones for small baggies), but not tight. Some kind of tie helps to support the blooms and any branches that decide to grow out of those bracts.

Yes, yes, you could have Branches coming out of your bracts!
Your spike looks good and healthy and is sure to forgive that pinch--I'm betting it will, anyway. Please post pictures when it blooms :)

Sweetcicely

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 4:54AM
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ravshade_optonline_net

I have had my Orchid for 2 1/2 years. I started her from a bulb, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I'm I doing something wrong? The leaves aren't that big she seems to be growing slowly, very slow. Any suggestions.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 6:54PM
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