Question and Answer

Subject: Culture question phalaenopsis
From: bonny
Date sent: Sun, 16 Sep 2001

Hi Phil,

I have a white phalaenopsis that I bought as a potted plant with a spike with about ten buds. It stayed in flower for about four months.

I love it, but am not sure how to keep it alive and get it to flower again. Currently, all the f lowers have fallen off and the spike is turning yellow. The leaves still look great, but roots seem to poking out from the potting medium which seems to be mostly moss.

Does it need repotting now? Should I cut off the spike? When would it typically re-spike and re bloom. Should I feed it in this stage?

Thank you for any help you can give. I am researching this on my own, but these issues weren't quite clear to me.

Again, thank you!
Bonny B

Hi Bonny

You are correct regarding the spike and where you cut. If the plant is small, then allowing it to rest is a good idea. On a large plant you can allow for repeated reflowering.

If the moss gets really dry, it can be quite hard to get wet again. You are better probably removing it and repotting. Repotting should be undertaken when there is active root growth, for many that is in the spring and summer, although with a plant growing under warm
conditions inside, then this can be done at any time of the year, after flowering.

The use of the correct media is a personal choice. Moss can be successful, but is does need care. Bark is a good media, but check
my repotting page for details of how it should be treated, as raw bark is not satisfactory.

You may be able to obtain bark that has already been treated which can be used right away. A local orchid nursery may also be able to assist. Cedar or pine bark is OK,. the choice often revolve around what is available.

Good luck
Thank you for answering my questions about my orchid. It was very kind of you to take the time. I have a few other questions, if I may.

It's my understanding that if I cut back the spike to just below where the lowest flower bloomed, it may send out a second spike and reflower in a relatively short time. But if I cut at the base, the plant will "rest" and then send out a new spike in 3 to 6 months.

Is that correct? My preference would be to let the plant rest.

Also, I think I did let the moss get too dried out. To repot, it's my understanding that this would be an okay time and I should gently remove the moss from the roots. Better to plant in bark rather than moss? Any kind of bark? Would cedar be okay?

Again, thank you so much for your assistance.


Hi Bonny

I will try and answer your questions

The flower spike in some cases will reflower. Leave it on the plant until it dies. Not all reflower, but many do

Repotting after flowering may be required, but if the moss is in good condition, you may postpone if for 12 months. if you do report, use a small pot. Roots coming out of the growing media is not uncommon. They are looking for plenty of air in addition to the moisture from the moss.

Re flowering from a new spike may take 3-6 months on a typical plant, provided it is growing strongly and is of reasonable size.

It will probably benefit from feeding, but if it is in pure sphagnum moss watch that the moss does not deteriorate and become wet and soggy. A little fertiliser with every watering is probably best. If it is growing in bark then heavier fertiliser application can be given

Good luck with your plaint.

I trust these comments assist. Get back to me if you have further worries.


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