Orchids forum: Trimming Phalaenopsis leaves

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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Jul 23, 2017 6:18 AM CST
I have this garden variety Phalaenopsis orchid, and is the only orchid I own. It lives in a partially shaded east-facing window. Sometimes I let it bloom, but usually I cut the flower stalk off so that it can place its energy in its leaves and roots. I like the leaves more than I like the flowers, anyway.

Since I first got it it has grown three new leaves. At this point it has seven, but the older leaves are getting smaller and withering away and the newer ones are getting huge.

Am I supposed to remove the older leaves? Would it hurt if I remove them?

Thumb of 2017-07-23/Jai_Ganesha/590084
Thumb of 2017-07-23/Jai_Ganesha/e930e1

Also, every 10 days I turn the whole thing a third of the way so that the leaves get roughly even sunlight, but some of the leaves seem like they're growing over the others on purpose. Is this normal?

Keep going!
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Orchids
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sugarcane
Jul 23, 2017 6:57 AM CST
Hi Jack,
Welcome to the orchid forum!
Regarding your Phalaenopsis plant, you should probably leave any green leaves on the plant. Even though they are small they are still contributing to the plants growth. Once they turn yellow then go ahead and cut them off with a sterile knife or razor blade.
I downloaded some random images off the internet to show the plants normal growth habit

Thumb of 2017-07-23/sugarcane/03ee9a
Thumb of 2017-07-23/sugarcane/48e0f1
by turning the plant 1/3 you might be confusing it..if you feel you MUST turn it , I would suggest turning it half way around.
Good luck with your plant and let us know how it's doing for you!
lindsey
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Jai_Ganesha
Jul 23, 2017 7:05 AM CST
You know, I have about 20 other non-orchid plants indoors and I turn them by a third every 10 days because that neatly aligns with a month.

It seems to keep all the other houseplants in good condition but it never occurred to me that the orchid might be growing weirdly because of it.

The Fittonia and Pothos and succulents and ivies all do well with it. So I appreciate you mentioning that because I don't think it would otherwise have occurred to me!

Now I know why my orchid has three leaves pointing in three different directions on top instead of two like everybody else's!

Keep going!
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Orchids
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sugarcane
Jul 23, 2017 7:56 AM CST
You are welcome!
and Thank You! for the acorn...that was very nice of you Lovey dubby
lindsey
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Jai_Ganesha
Jul 23, 2017 11:33 AM CST
You're welcome. I must be very dumb because it never occurred to me that turning my orchid could be the reason the leaves grow the way they do. In an epiphytic species it makes a lot of sense as to how they grow in the wild.
Keep going!
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Orchids
Image
sugarcane
Jul 23, 2017 1:22 PM CST
In nature these grow on tree trunks sideways and generally tipped down so that rain doesn't sit in the crown of the plant. The roots are usually at the top and the leaves at the bottom, acting like an umbrella.

Thumb of 2017-07-23/sugarcane/d2e193
I wouldn't say you were dumb...I've been trying to think of a non orchid plant with this habit, Monopodial, and I can't.
lindsey
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Jai_Ganesha
Jul 23, 2017 7:22 PM CST
Come to think of it, I do have an epiphytic cactus and it also does fine with 1/3 turns, too. Just my orchid has to be special. lol
Keep going!

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