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edbdmommy
Apr 7, 2015 10:19 PM CST
I got a blooming orchid in March of 2014. It lasted until well into June. The big leaves eventually got limp after 2 nice new leaves started to grow. I cut off the old ones, cut off dry roots that were above the surface, replanted the whole thing removing dead roots from the bark-soil and now there is another little leaf showing in the heart of the plant. It's in a clear pot so I can see that the root looks like it is healthy and growing. I water 1 week, fertilize the next. What can I do to get it to bloom again? Where do the blossom stems come from?
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 8, 2015 7:51 AM CST
Hi and welcome! Welcome! If you could post a picture of your orchid, that would be helpful.

From your description of "big leaves" I'm assuming for now that it was a Phalaenopsis. They do sort of 'wilt' at times but you should not cut off any leaves unless they are yellow or brown. Green leaves are still nourishing the plant, even if they are a bit shriveled. Those leaves will most often plump up and come back just fine. Misting them with a spray bottle helps. This is the way I fertilize all my orchids, as well. Mix orchid fertilizer in a sprayer and spray it on the leaves. I use it about 1/4 strength and mist at least every week, less when the weather is cool, and more often when the weather is warm.

These orchids also do like to put roots up into the air and you shouldn't cut those off either. Don't forget an orchid is an epiphyte, which is a plant that lives on other plants, and they take most of their moisture and nutrients from the air via both leaves and roots. It's not like regular house plants that need their roots to be covered by soil. Orchid roots really need air!

IF your clear plastic pot has air vents, it should be fine, but if it doesn't, it would be a good idea to punch some holes in the sides of the pot to allow air to the roots.

My Phals re-bloom naturally in the spring, but they are growing outside, so they are subject to seasonal temperature changes. It seems that a period of cool weather - at least down into the 50's - followed by a warm-up is what stimulates mine to bloom. If yours is living indoors, you probably need to create those conditions - put it somewhere it will be cooler (but still get filtered light) for a few weeks and think it is winter, then bring it back into a warmer area and see what happens.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Lin
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Bookworm Keeper of Koi Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants
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plantladylin
Apr 8, 2015 8:07 AM CST
Hi edbdmommy, Welcome! from me too!

I agree with dyzzypyxxy that the leaf description sounds like Orchid (Phalaenopsis) and I also agree with her advice about the care. If your plant is in heavy soil and a container without much air circulation that is not the best environment for an orchid to survive.
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edbdmommy
Apr 8, 2015 8:18 AM CST
LIn, thanks. My plant is in a real loose bark-like "soil" so that is good but I need to get air circulation to it. I will cut holes in the pot and try Elaine's fertilizer mist method. I am in Minnesota so it is indoors. Do they like to be outdoors in the summer here?

edbdmommy
Apr 8, 2015 8:23 AM CST
Elaine, sounds like I should have known about this forum before I started tinkering with my plant! Thanks for the info. How cool can it get and not hurt the plant? Are they pretty tough or sensitive to temp changes?
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 8, 2015 8:53 AM CST
I would say as long as the night temperatures are above about 50 your orchid could go outside for the summer. Be aware that direct sunlight can burn the leaves, so for example filtered shade under a tree is excellent light and the plant will be protected a little from cold temperatures by a tree canopy, too. If you have somewhere like a protected porch or patio with an umbrella or other shade, that might be great, too. The change of climate for the plant might be what it needs to put up a flower spike, too. But do keep an eye on the weather forecast, and rescue it once the night temps fall into the 40's.

Phals are terrible divas and can react to any change in position, so find a good spot for it and leave it. Be sure the leaves are oriented towards the light, though. When you do move it, it might respond by shriveling up or wilting the leaves again. As I said above, this is a common thing and the leaves will most often come back. Lots of people panic when they see this, and think they are killing the plant, but it's just the plant behaving badly. Rolling my eyes.

One more caution, especially if it's going outside - these plants can be prone to crown rot and this is caused by water sitting in the cup of the leaves. So, if your plant is sitting straight up in the pot, you may want to tilt the pot so that any water (like rain!) will run out of the cup, not sit in there. The plant will gradually grow in one direction and eventually slant itself but that can take a long time as Phals are slow growers. In nature, they grow on vertical tree trunks with the leaves hanging down and the flowers cascade also.

Here are some of mine, see how the crowns are not straight up?
Thumb of 2015-04-08/dyzzypyxxy/376e05

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 8, 2015 9:08 AM CST
By the way, we do have a whole forum on ATP dedicated to orchids:
http://garden.org/forums/view/...

Come on over and have a look! Each month there is a thread where we post our blooming orchids. Lots of pretty pictures!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Apr 8, 2015 2:16 PM CST
Flower spikes are formed in between leaves, I usually get mine during the cooler months, from late Fall to early Spring. Thankfully, I do not have to bring out the plants to feel the coolness. I guess as we transition from our triple digit hot temps in summer to the cooler temps of Falls and Winter, even indoors the plant feels it very well. Our indoor temps during winter ranges from 65F to 68F.

Adjust your watering as the season goes. If it is cooler, greater interval if it is much warmer maybe every 5 days. It all depends how wet your media remains. Phal roots like to approach dryness, they have thicker roots, so it can manage it. And it likes lots of air circulation, so in my house, I always run the ceiling fan a few minutes after watering, or if weather and temps permit it I open a window, so fresh air comes in. Water your orchid early part of the day, not a night to avoid fungal rot issues.

I grow my Phals indoor year round, by our west facing window, gets shielded by the shadow of city trees and if it is still too hot, I draw the white curtain, to avoid burning the leaves.

We all have different approaches to grow our Phals. In my growing area, I do not spray mist the leaves, since it is indoors. I concentrate more on the roots and they do just fine. It is very dry here too, what I find is, it tolerates the dryness as long as the roots gets watered as needed and gets its much needed air circulation.

Now for those other orchids of mine that are outside in my growcamp where they get more variables to dry them out much faster, due to the wind and heat, they get to have a shower often especially during our very hot and dry days. I pull most of them indoors during winter, to protect from the cold temperatures especially when it starts going down to 50-55F.

edbdmommy
Apr 9, 2015 5:23 PM CST
tarev, now I know where to look for any flower spikes if my orchid ever gets to that stage. Thanks. You give lots of other good advice, too.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
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tarev
Apr 9, 2015 5:41 PM CST
Sometimes it is tricky..like playing a root or spike game:
This is my Phal Baldan's Kaleidoscope currently in spike, started like this, at least this one is easy enough to see: started in 28Jan2015
Thumb of 2015-04-09/tarev/ed251b
Currently, it is taking its sweet time, but almost there:
Thumb of 2015-04-09/tarev/6f4abd

This other noid Phal, confused me this year, since it lost the lower leaf..but it eventually gave 2 spikes:
It is fun and exciting..I call it the game of root or spike Big Grin
27Feb2015 : left one is a new root, right one a flower spike
Thumb of 2015-04-09/tarev/d3fa2e

Another batch forming: 11Mar2015
Thumb of 2015-04-09/tarev/05c06c

Currently, still pacing it: just to give you an idea how it takes its sweet time as always to develop the buds:
Thumb of 2015-04-09/tarev/ac82ed

When it is forming the buds already, it helps to just leave it alone in that area, sometimes moving it suddenly to a different location may cause bud blast. But once it is in bloom it will be more stable.

edbdmommy
Apr 9, 2015 9:31 PM CST
I've got something I'll watch to see if it is root or spike. I think orchid growers must have a lot of patients!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
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tarev
Apr 10, 2015 1:26 PM CST
Indeed...patience will be your friend as an orchid grower. Can't rush them, they will take their own sweet time. Big Grin I often take pictures of the plants, at least once a month especially if it is a new addition in my collection, just to have a comparison of the growth it takes. Sometimes it just rests for so long, and you get tempted to water more or feed more..just does not work that way with them.
It helps to have an indoor/outdoor sensor, so you can gauge what your actual temps are and the humidity levels.

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