Phalaenopsis Mini Mark 'Holm' - cutting the flower spike
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  #1  
Old 01-29-2024, 05:47 PM
Bethy Bethy is offline
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Phalaenopsis Mini Mark 'Holm' - cutting the flower spike Female
Default Phalaenopsis Mini Mark 'Holm' - cutting the flower spike

I have a question about the flower stalk on Phal Micro Mark Holm. Do you cut it down after it gets really long, or do you let the stalk grow as long as buds form, like the Phal Bellina?
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  #2  
Old 01-29-2024, 06:34 PM
buzzlightyear buzzlightyear is offline
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Phalaenopsis Mini Mark 'Holm' - cutting the flower spike
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what you have to remember is that in nature nobody goes around with a pair of scissors snipping off flower spikes after they have bloomed.

The counterargument to that is we are talking about man made hybrids. But that changes nothing to me.

I never cut spikes until they have turned completely brown, doesn't matter which phals.

Now I know why you have asked this question. It is very popular for people to recommend this tip to new growers. It makes growers feel like they are doing something good for their phals.
Like if all other plant guidelines are ignored, at least they snipped off that flower spike which is the most important aspect of growing phals.

Well that and cracking a window in august of course which I also do not bother with. Many like to feel like they are in control and are doing good.

Everyone has their own hypothesis on this. But that is going off topic.

I feel the same way, more so I'd say even so to me it is important to know exactly what causes each and every species of orchid to flower in order to do it right, not randomly guess based on what beginners like to discuss online. It's not how I grow my orchids. So as a beginner the hardest part about figuring out how to grow orchids is literally sift and sort out all the wrong information about orchid growing. Like one of the first things you will have to decide is whether to water with an ice cube or not and it continues from there. It's a never ending journey since for as long as people will grow orchids every day new myths will be invented about them. Happens every year.
Many people will want to impress you with their orchid knowlege.
The ones that have been growing for decades, the ones you want information from, that have kept their orchids alive for years and years, they are generally past getting involved in helping random strangers. Generally only growers with les than a few years expeirence are the ones discussing orchid care online.

Then you get the ones claiming to be experts by recommending to cut a flower spike as it is the most important aspect.

you make up your own mind. I like to take the approach of trying out all different things. Snip a lfower spike, don't snip a flower spike, give it a cool down, don't give it a cool down etc etc. MY aim is to grow them long term. So the more I can figure out about them the better.

Anyway back to the flower spike the theory the experts will give you is that if you cut the flower spike you will prevent ugly sidebranching on the existing spikes and will automatically encourage new and stronge spikes to grow.

This is all just wishful thinking and is not what really happens. If you cut a spike all you will achieve is less flowers.

I do not care what anyone says on this. That is plant physics 101 You cut a spike, you will get less flowering.

Now sometimes you want less flowering to help a plant preserve energy. That's a different matter and I would encourage that on a weak phal.

But the notion that if you cut a flowe spike that a new spike will automatically grow is not guaranteed and most of the time in my experience cutting the spike like said will cause less reblooming. With an existing spike, it might rebranch the same year or the following year. If you cut the spike there is a possibility the plant will produce a new stronger spike. That is the aim anyway and why some like to do it but there is no guarantee.
One improtant thing one has to remember is that for ever leaf a phal produces it can only produce one flower spike along with it. There are exceptions but generally most will just produce one flower spike per leaf node.
So if you cut a spike, you are forcing the plant to use up a new flowering point and it only has a limited number of these till it grows a new leaf and thus a new point to flower from.

The advice to cut seems like impatient kind of advice to me.

Yes if you leave the spike, it might rebloom from the same spike and become really long and dangly. But if you cut it you might actually end up with less flowers over the year.

At least for this question I think there is no right or wrong answer really. You do what you feel is best.

The plant will not be negatively affected either way.
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  #3  
Old 01-29-2024, 06:52 PM
Bethy Bethy is offline
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Thank you, Buzzlightyear, for answering my question so thoroughly. I appreciate your thoughts. I guess I'm an impatient grower. I don't like the flower spikes growing all long and gangly. I snip them down to the crown after the big flush of flowers is gone...
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Old 01-29-2024, 09:48 PM
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Many Phals - and likely this is one - can rebloom on older spikes. Don't rush to cut! If, at some point, you don't like the look of the spike after reblooming, you can always cut it. But you can't put it back after you have done the deed.
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Old 01-29-2024, 10:26 PM
Bethy Bethy is offline
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Phalaenopsis Mini Mark 'Holm' - cutting the flower spike Female
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You make some excellent points, thank you.
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Old 01-29-2024, 10:37 PM
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It does no harm to leave the spike until you're sure you don't want it... the plant can "recycle" the tissue and moisture in the spike if it's truly done with it (and then the spike dies back). But if you let the plant do what is natural for it, and observe, you will learn more about the options. Then, with the next blooming, you won't have to guess (or depend on other people's guesses) In this case, one parent consists of species with a spike habit similar to Phal bellina (sequential blooming) - Phal Micro Nova, the other more standard (Phal. philippinensis) So the plant can favor one parent, or the other, or do something in between. Sit back and see what it does.
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