Phalaenopsis Orchids: New Flower Spike or New Root?

Both! I can finally say that I have been able to successfully grow indoor orchids (Phalaenopsis), after several years of failed attempts. After finally seeing them flower and removing brown spikes, my next stage of anticipation was for new flower spikes. Every day, I would check and see if signs of new growth were flower spikes or roots. On most days, the answer was “new roots.” This was good news, of course, since my orchids were still alive! But I wanted to know if the orchids would produce flowers again. Happily, I can report that IMG_3146I have baby flower spikes as well as new roots!

This was the first year that I’ve had these plants, which came with flowers in bloom and several flower buds when I rescued them from my supermarket clearance bin. Revived and peaceful, I kept checking around the base of the plants for any new activity. I’ve read that the telltale sign of a new flower spike of indoor orchids is a “mitten-like” growth. But for me, it seems that a flower spike has very sharp, well-defined features, in contrast to the softer looking roots. Check out the emerging flower spikes from two of my Phalaenopsis orchids and you can clearly see the difference between a new growth that is a flower spike (background) and one that is a root (foreground). I have a third Phalaenopsis that is showing signs of what probably is a new flower spike and eagerly awaiting the big reveal!IMG_3148

As funny as it sounds, I breathed a great sigh of relief that I didn’t mess up my orchids and cut their lives short as I had in the past. The surest way of confirming that fact was the emergence of new flower spikes. I could not have predicted that several months ago, when I became the proud caretaker of these beautiful plants, that I would be able to enjoy this next stage of their development. They are residing in my bathroom next to a south-facing window, and there they will stay for (hopefully) many years. Fantastic!

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