The Q&A Archives: Growth On Orchid

Question: We recently recieved a moth orchid as a gift and admittedly know absolutely nothing about it. The blooms recently died off, so we cut back the stem, but there is an odd growth coming out near the base of one leaf. The growth is about an inch long, somewhat translucent, and slightly resembles a maggot, but is definately part of the plant. The leaf to which it connects at the base of is turning yellow. Is this a new stem, or some sort of alien life form? Please help!

Answer: Phaleanopsis, or Moth orchid, produces long sprays of flowers that resemble moths in flight. I suspect what you've found is an aerial root developing. It could be a new flowering stem, but I think it's a root. Aerial roots are often produced by orchid plants, and they can be left alone to develop as they wish. Only time will tell! To keep your plant healthy, give it medium light but no direct sunlight in summer. Use a fir bark potting medium and keep it moist. Fertilize every 2 weeks. The flowers are long lasting when cut. You can produce a second flower spike by cutting off the flower spike just above the first non-flowering node when the flowers fade. Ideal temperatures are 70 to 80 degrees during the day and 60 to 65 degrees at night.

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