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  #1  
Unread 11-04-2008, 03:26 PM
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Default How to trim my Phalaenopsis...

Hi Hi Hi!!!
This is a picture of my new PHALAENOPSIS (and my little Jade plant beside it, ) . Once it has finished flowering and looks like it will flower no more, where is it that I cut? Someone's told me to cut just the last inch or so of the tip where the last flower was, then I'm being told to cut the stalk back, and then this florist told me to cut the whole thing all the way to the bottom to the base where the leaves are at the bottom. As you can tell, this is the first time I've ever had orchids. It's really really healthy right now and it's already been re-potted in bark mixture earlier this year. I've followed all the watering instructions carefully, it sits on my diningroom table by the east window. I'm just confused as to how I would take care of it once it's finished blooming. Thank you for your responses and your help in advance!!!!
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  #2  
Unread 11-04-2008, 03:38 PM
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I prefer to cut back to the leaves. There are some here that do as your friend suggested and just cut back to the node below the bottom flower, hoping for new flowers. My experience has been this leads to weak blooming and weakening of the plant. As a 'for instance' one of my white NOID Phals just started spiking after a long summer of growth (after I cut off all the spikes) and it is setting 2 new spikes. Very robust plant as well.
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  #3  
Unread 11-04-2008, 03:50 PM
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Hi Ross!
Thanks for your quick response. So when you cut the stem to the base near the leaves, the plant itself will be much stronger but it will take longer for it to bloom again? As opposed to just cutting back the flowering part, which may give you blooms in quicker time? And when you say spike, that's the part branches off the main stem that has flowers on it?
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  #4  
Unread 11-04-2008, 04:10 PM
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When you cut back the spike, the plant will then start growing new leaves. Phals typically bloom in spring (well, some bloom darned near any time of the year) after a winter cool down. The idea of my regimen (and many other folks) is to get the plant to spend it's time growing new roots and leaves. These will support the new growths for the next season. Now mine is just spiking (which is not the traditional spring time bloom - thus I say some can bloom when they choose to.) Just cut back (should you accept my recommendation) to near the leaves - leave a bit of a stub, it will dry up. Encourage the plant to grow with good fertilizing and watering (see Plant Nutrition read all the linked pages) and I recommend using clear pots so you can check on the overall condition of the medium and the roots. I water/fertilize when I see the roots turn back to white (from the green look they get right after watering.) Works for me. Hope this helps.

Oh, yeah, the spike is the long skinny thing with the flowers on it. Most plants that flower have "spikes".
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  #5  
Unread 11-04-2008, 04:23 PM
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Ross has good advice. I also am in favor of cutting spikes at the bottom. On one phal 2 years ago (my orchid beginnings!) I cut below the last flower to get a spike offshoot, but was disappointed with the results. There were very few flowers, they were a smaller size and I found the color not as vibrant. The plant also didn't have much time to do some growing before spiking again, and the new spike was smaller with a lower flower count than the last spike. That spike I cut off completely when the blooms wilted, and now this year the plant is bigger and healthier, and made a big spike that so far has 15 buds on it! Of course, like Ross said, food and water are important (as is light).
In short, I now always cut the spike at its base, unless I want to try to get a keiki from the plant.
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  #6  
Unread 11-04-2008, 04:26 PM
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I also cut the spike all the way down...while some folks prefer to cut higher and hope for additional blooms from the same spike.

In my opinion, the second blooming isn't usually as spectacular as the first so I'd rather let the plant put it's energy into getting bigger and stronger rather than pushing for another bloom...except for Phal that are known to produce keiki along the spikes. The one in your picture (lovely, by the way ) is not one of those chids.

This is one of those things where you need to make your own decision...there's never just one way to do anything when it comes to orchids
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  #7  
Unread 11-04-2008, 04:35 PM
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So it seems unanimous so far along with the florist, lol... So cut that main stem (that's being supported and clipped to the support stick) all the way down and leave like an inch at the base? Well, I'd rather have a long lasting, strong orchids when it does bloom. Do you do this every year? And also, can I just cut it with scissors or do I need special shears? I've also heard about sealing the tip with wax or cinnamon??? Is this necessary?
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  #8  
Unread 11-04-2008, 04:41 PM
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I would personally agree with Ross. Yes, you could get a second blooming from the spike and yes, the plant is healthy, but there is a cost involved. A lot of energy is spent in blooming, and the blooms will certainly be smaller and weaker than they are now. The energy needed to produce a second bloom will take away from the plant's ability to priduce new growth and new roots, and it is the root and leaf growth which leads to superior flower production.

Thus, I would snip the stem within about a half an inch of where it comes from the plant, then dust the cut with cinnamon.
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  #9  
Unread 11-04-2008, 04:43 PM
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I dust a bit of cinnamon on the cut. Any cut is an open invitation for pathogens to come in, and I want to keep the nasties out!!
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  #10  
Unread 11-04-2008, 04:47 PM
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Great! Ok, now another inquiry... How bad is it that I've been watering this with tap water???
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