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Avatar for Cewibi
May 30, 2020 6:06 PM CST
North Carolina (Zone 8a)
Was hoping someone here might be able to help me out. I have a Mini Phal that I just noticed is starting to yellow at the middle of its flower spike (where a batch of flowers also recently wilted). I know a spike can die back, but I thought it would start at the tip. The tip of this particular spike still appears healthy and growing. Also, the lower half looks fine and still has two flowers and a node with a new branch starting to grow out. Is this normal? Should I cut off the yellowing portion? Should I just cut off the whole spike? Any advice would be appreciated.
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May 30, 2020 7:55 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
GROW ORCHIDS!!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
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Yellowing or die back of a spike usually starts from the tip, you are right BUT that happens when it is done blooming.
You have growth happening below the yellow with blooming flowers and new buds forming. But my short term, best advice I have for you is to cut the spike back below the yellow and into healthy green tissue. Treat the cut with a little cinnamon. You can not stop the progression of yellow AND keep the spike above the yellow viable! So trim it like I said and save the bottom part of the spike.
Why are you getting this seemingly odd blooming? It is most likely genetics. The most common species used in Mini-Phalaenopsis breeding is Phalaenopsis equestris. This species produces spikes that branch a lot.

The yellow was most likely introduced by a flower or two that held on a little too long. In this case it led to premature spike die back.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
Last edited by BigBill May 30, 2020 7:58 PM Icon for preview
Avatar for Cewibi
May 30, 2020 8:37 PM CST
North Carolina (Zone 8a)
Thank you very much for the response. Cutting back just the yellowing portion was my initial instinct, but since I am new to Orchids (and growing in general) I can't seem to stop second guessing myself.

Also, in my attempt to learn more about general care, I have been doing a lot of reading about diseases, viruses, fungi, etc. The unfortunate side effect is that I now think any anomaly is a sign of terminal illness. Perhaps in time I will overcome this paranoia.

Thank you very much again, and have a good evening!
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May 31, 2020 3:44 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
GROW ORCHIDS!!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
If you hang around me long enough, you'll get the best of my orchid knowledge. I started in 1974 with 2 Cattleyas and a Phalaenopsis.
I have grown a lot, seen a lot more and before I am done, I feel the need to share as much as I can.

Just stay calm and don't overthink this.
You are welcome.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
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