Leaves at top of the stem... normal?

tuffunnufOctober 10, 2007

I am very new to growing orchids and have a few questions I can't seem to find the answers for(answers I understand at least). My orhids have done very well but I am getting new leaf growth at the very top of my stem. It seems like it would get to heavy and break the stem. The new leaf growth has two new leaves where the stem bends. Is this normal and what do I do with the new leaves? The leaves at the base of my orchid look good but are old.

Also I have seen many varying ideas on the extra roots that grow out of the top of the pot... it looks like chicken feet. Some say repot and others don't. I really appreciate any advice anyone can give me because I am totally clueless. Thank You so much!

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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

Unfortunately it will be difficult to help you without knowing what type of orchid you have (did you know that orchids comprise of the largest family of flowering plants that exists in the world? Pretty cool huh!) Try googling 'phalaenopsis' and 'dendrobium' to see which one matches the orchid you ahve. I suspect you have a phalaenopsis, in which case the leaves on the stem are a new plantlet (called a 'keiki' by some) which will eventually grow roots and can be detached to form a new plant. There's no real rush to rip it off unless the mother plant is really stressed...(although what do you mean by the older leaves looking 'old'? Wrinkly = BAD roots) wait until it has a few nice roots that are a couple of inches long before cutting the stem 2 inches on either side of the baby, and transplanting it in some media.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 1:35AM
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Thank You very much! It is a phalaenopsis, and your advice is very helpful. My leaves on the bottom are just very large and you can tell it is an older plant... it's not wrinkly nor in bad shape. Thanks very much and I will do a search on Keiki... thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 3:40PM
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Hi tuffunnuf,

With good care and plenty of light your mother plant will grow almost indefinitely. It should put out new leaves to replace the older looking ones.

If you want to remove the keikei, don't remove it from the plant until it has roots that are at least 2-3" long. Some people choose to leave the keikei on the mother plant, they can be quite spectacular if the ever bloom together.

If you're worried about the spike breaking form the weight of the keikei you can support it using some sort of stake through the growing medium - bbq skewers work well.

You can find a lot of information on growing orchids in our FAQ. The lovely people on this forum also usually recommend buying a book like Ortho's "All About Orchids" - it's usually available online or in stores like Home Depot or Lowes.

Welcome to the forum. Enjoy your orchid.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 6:16PM
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