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Botanic Garden > Question and Answer > Plant Species > Orchids > Oncidium and phalaenopsis culture

Oncidium and phalaenopsis culture

2016/8/3 11:04:11

QUESTION: I am new to orchids, and have a few questions I can't seem to find answers
to. Thank you in advance for your time!

I received two phalaenopses and one oncidium for a wedding present 15
months ago. I keep them in a bay window above the kitchen sink. One phalaenopsis is going gangbusters--it flowered in the spring and now has
two huge spikes. The other one had a spike that lasted an entire year (!),
but then developed some rot on the crown at the leaf juncture. Two leaves
came off, and there was some rot left on the stem/crown. I cut it out with a
sharp sterilized knife and sprinkled cinnamon on it. It seems fine, and has
healthy new roots below and some smaller leaf growth above the cut, but
the stem where I cut it is very narrow. Will it be all right, or should I repot
it so the narrow part is below the media surface? Or give up?

The oncidium never flowered after I cut the initial spike. It grew two new
psuedo bulbs that are now very plump and healthy, and is generating lots
of new little roots, and the leaves are fresh green and very healthy, but no
flower. There is a new wedge emerging, but it looks like a new leaf or bulb.
I have two questions: 1.) What does a new flower spike look like; and 2)
how can I prod it into flowering again? I am now fertilizing once every two
weeks with 6-30-30 blooming formula.

Sorry for the detail. I can email a picture if I wasn't clear.

ANSWER: Maggie, it sounds as if you are doing well with your plants. On the phalaenopsis, I assume that the smaller leaves are actually growing on a portion of the old flower spike. If so, this is a new plant called a keiki. Like a premature infant it is not ready to be born yet. Before you separate it from the stem (ie flower spike) it will need to grow roots. When that happens, it can be separated from the flower spike and potted up on its own. Try to keep it growing on until that happens. Crown rot may have destroyed the growing points on the mother plant so the leaf growth above the cut may be all you will have to work with.

On the oncidium, the new "wedge" is likely a new pseudobulb from which future leaves and a flower spike will emerge. You are doing is fine with this plant and, what is needed, is patience. Oncidiums don't usually flower until late spring or early summer so you will have to let that pseudobulb, and perhaps others, do its growing in the meantime.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer! Sorry I wasn't more
clear...it's hard to describe, but the part I cut out is not on a flowering stem,
but the body of the plant itself--I guess you call it the crown. Since two
leaves fell off because of rot at the juncture with the crown, and since I
sliced off the rot, the "neck" of the plant is very narrow in one place, and
then above and below that, it has leaves. The crown below that is quite
healthy with many new root shoots. The leaves above the wound seem a bit
stunted, but are still healthy, thick and dark green. The "wound" has
hardened over and there is no longer any rot on the plant.

Could I just lop off the top of the plant where the rot was, and where it's
skinny, and would it recreate a growing tip from there?

If you have new leaves growing below the wound, that suggests that you do have a growing point below the wound. In that case, it would be Ok to remove that part of the plant above the wound. I assume that you want to do this because the plant is not aesthetically pleasing above the wound. It would be interesting to see if the part of the plant above the wound would develop roots, but that might only happen if you left it on the plant.

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