Phal. growth cycles?
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  #1  
Old 05-08-2013, 07:00 PM
escualida escualida is offline
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Phal. growth cycles?
Default Phal. growth cycles?

Hi all, I only started growing orchids less than a year ago and have quite a few phals. A lot of them came in bloom or in spike but some didn't, and I've actually never had a spike initiate on my watch.

I have a few phals that are currently going through some kind of root growth spurt where they're putting out a ton of new roots which is great, but it got me thinking, do phals generally have some sort of cycle they go through? Like stages where they'll have a lot of root growth, then leaf growth, and then a spike?

I know there are different opinions on how to get spikes to initiate using day length and temperature, but for people who grow them in the same lighting and temp conditions year round, do you notice that spikes form whenever or at a certain stage in the growth?

Not sure if this question makes sense, just curious.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:19 PM
quiltergal quiltergal is offline
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Most of my Phals have a pretty set internal schedule of what they do when.

The novelty Phals which have a lot of summer blooming species in them tend to initiate spikes as the weather starts getting warmer, so mid to late spring, and bloom late spring through summer. If the temps are warm enough they will generally grow year round though slower when temps are cooler.

Most of the standard hybrid Phals grow leaves and roots during the spring/summer, and initiate spikes in the fall as temps decrease blooming late winter/early spring.

I should say that I cut all spikes except for some species and novelties when they are done blooming. There are some that will throw a spike whenever but they are the exception rather than the rule.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:22 PM
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WhiteRabbit WhiteRabbit is offline
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I grow Phals indoors, on windowsills - the amount and intensity of light changes with the seasons, temps also (I don't have A/C, and keep heat rather low in winter), so I don't know if my (limited) experience is applicable ? And I guess different species and hybrids may be different - but, Yes, mine do little in winter, early spring I see roots and foliage starting, followed shortly by spikes.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:19 PM
NYCorchidman NYCorchidman is offline
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Phal. growth cycles?
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Your question makes perfect sense. I think Terri above basically answered your question already.

I live in the same city as you do.
My apartment has large windows that face south. Almost all my phals are growing within 2 meters away from these windows. So they get brief direct sun but mostly just very bright indirect light. in the winter they get more direct light as the sun light comes in at a lower angle.
Temp in my place ranges from 100-70 in the summer and 80-65 in the winter (when the sun isn't out, then day high is much lower, but warm enough I don't have to run heater)

Humidity is quite low although I water them good and mist the exposed top roots everyday.

I would say ALMOST (because they are exceptions as with everythign else) all large phal hybrids grow during the warm season (all year round if warm enough) and when the temp dips in the fall, they get ready for spike and bloom in the middle of winter or early spring in my condition.

I do have some that seem to have mind of their own and bloom whenever though.

Commercial phal nurseries control temperature and that is why flowering phals are available throughout the year. As your new blooming phals finishes flowering, they will take some time to figure out the new conditions, and then grow and flower as Terri described.

In the meantime while they are adjusting, you can trick them into flowering some more.
For example, a typical phal hybrid that normally flowers in the spring (the one that takes lower temp as a cue to initiate spikes) were bought in the summer or early fall. Flowers fell off by mid fall. With the lower temp, it made some more flowers on the spike and went on for quite some time.
Now the plant is growing new leaves as the days are getting much warmer. I think I can safely say this one is now adjusted to my home condition.

Like you, I buy phals any time I see something I like.
Most of them are manupluated to bloom at "odd" time for them for us.
So eventually they all bloom around late winter to early spring once they are adjusted to your home environment.
I always get lots of phal bloom around March-May.

Last edited by NYCorchidman; 05-08-2013 at 10:21 PM..
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:30 AM
escualida escualida is offline
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Ok, I'm growing them under LEDs so they get pretty much the same amount of light all of the time, and the temps are also pretty consistent. If they stay in the same conditions all of the time will they just initiate the spikes whenever, or not at all?
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:15 AM
NYCorchidman NYCorchidman is offline
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Phal. growth cycles?
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Theoretically, under constant temperature, they would not initiate spikes.

By the way, you would think growing them away away from the windowsill deprive them of temperature fluctuations, but believe it or not, I have one large white/red lip phal and one medium sized white/pink candy stripe phal that I grew under LED all summer in 2011 and in the fall (October) they both did spike!!!

but then I moved them out of the light set up and put it by the window for more space for the growing spikes and the more natural light hoping for the best possible flower count. and I got 8 flowers in the spring on both of them. not bad, right?

I think plants pick up even the little change in the pattern of temperature or whatever else changes in different seasons.
I did not run heater at night, so maybe that helped too, but honestly, I had them all in the kitchen which was away away from the window area where temperature swing can easily be detected.
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