Miltonia Orchid

This is my first miltonia orchid. I stumbled across it in the clearance section of my grocery store this morning. Some of the flowers are in a state of elegant decay but several remain fresh. I was struck by the deep brownish red petals, so unusually glamorous. I am quite pleased that this Brazilian native will now live comfortably ensconced in my home – looking forward to showering this beauty with looks of awe and gratitude each day!IMG_3338


Mystery Orchids: Mystery Two Is Solved

As expected, Mystery Two (of Five) is now solved. Like my first Mystery Orchid, the second of my five mystery orchids has revealed itself to be a deeply colored fuchsia Phalaenopsis. It’s not full opened, but I couldn’t contain my great excitement at seeing this mystery solved at last. I am quite pleased that a few more flower buds are so close to blooming as well.IMG_3304

The other three orchid plants remain a mystery since they are not spiking at the moment, just lovely green leaves. That leaves room for more happy reveals as the year goes on!


Mystery Orchids: Mystery One is Solved

I am so very pleased to report that Mystery One (of Five) is now solved. The first of my five mystery orchids has revealed itself to be a lovely Phalaenopsis, with a good bit of white color in addition to fuchsia. Check out how the white is concentrated in the center of the flower – spellbinding! In the past, I’d had one that was nearly all fuchsia, so this is quite a charming orchid in its own right. A few more flower buds for this plant have still yet to bloom, but this has proven to be a mystery with an impressive reveal! Four more mysteries still need to be solved. I will say that one other is in bud. Mystery Two will be solved in a few weeks!IMG_3298

Mystery Orchids: New Flower Spikes!

After nearly two months in my home, two of the five of my mysteIMG_3294ry orchids have new flower spikes. This is delightfully unexpected! The photo on the right: check out the origin of the new flower spike. It’s growing from the side of an old, cut-down flower spike, and at the point where it looks dried out (and may lead to the false conclusion that nothing would grow from that dried spot), but yet here is the new spike.

The flower spike of the second orchid is a bit harder to see but it’s also in the center foreground of the photo and this spike is growing diagonally from the base of the plant, i.e., it’s an entirely new spike.

The other three orchid plants remain healthy and will flower when they are ready.

I’m so pleased to see that re-growth of flower spikes has come so quickly. The mystery of at least these two orcIMG_3295hids will be solved in the coming months. I can’t wait. A very nice way to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which is shaping up to be quite a happy and lovely one!

Phalaenopsis Orchid: Two New Flower Spikes

This is a lovely sight on a winter day! One of my Phalaenopsis orchids has new flower spikes branching out from older flower spikes from last season. As shown in the far left of the photo, I only cut down a portion of just one of last season’s flower spikes because it turned brown. The other flower spike from last season was left untouched since it remained green. In between flowering seasons, I only kept the growing medium (wood chips) moist but not soggy.IMG_3290

No doubt that new flower buds will come from these two new flower spikes; perhaps even more flower spikes will emerge because these are early days. This is a gracious way to start a new year!


Mystery Orchids!

That’s what the sign read just as I was about headed out of the market this afternoon. I infrequently shop at a local high-end supermarket, usually for sale items. In the floral department, I saw a sign, “Mystery Orchids,” and there were 5 indoor orchids currently not in bloom. They all had 1 cut-down flower spike. Some had leaves that were partly cut. But they were all obviously very healthy. The only thing missing was their identification. They retail at $25 each (if they were in flower and had identification), but I bought all of them at a fantastic clearance price of $5 each! Wow!

The person helping me with my purchase asked if I had prior experience with rehabilitating plants like this and I happily said, “Yes, and with success!” He wished me well with these new plants, which is a lovely way to start this new chapter in these orchids’ lives. I am very pleased. They may or may not flower again in the next few months but I don’t mind waiting longer because they will flower eventually.IMG_3288

Gardening bargains like this can usually be had at the end of the year to the first early months of the new year, even at high-end stores. I’ve rescued many indoor and outdoor plants over the past several years and have had success by simply providing basic care for most of them; a bit more rehabilitation for a few. With proper care, these bargain-basement beauties can provide many years of great enjoyment. I am not too fussy about having a particular type of indoor orchid. I’m just pleased to have a healthy plant. I can’t wait for these “mysterious” orchids to flower, to reveal their true selves. What a grand way to celebrate the new year!

Phalaenopsis Orchids: What I Did with a Green Flower Spike That Remained Green But Flowerless

Back in late June 2013, I did a bit of routine maintenance of my indoor Phalaenopsis orchids. After flowers withered, a few of the flower spikes of these plants started turning brown. The browning of the flower spikes signaled to me that I remove those spikes. But one of my plants had a flower spike that remained green to present day! It also had what looked to be an emergent flower bud at its tip so I decided to let the spike be. I am very pleased to say that this lonely green spike has produced a new flower bud! This was quite unexpected.IMG_3175IMG_3176

The emergent flower bud at the tip of this flower spike has remained green but hasn’t developed so it may or may not become a flower. I will keep monitoring that for changes either way. Looking at this seemingly barren flower spike, it may have seemed reasonable to just cut it since it looked like it was no longer productive. What a mistake that would have been. If it’s still green, it’s still alive!

In a way, this plant provides a good reminder to not give up hope and that untapped potential for great and beautiful things may be squandered if we act in haste. Some good things just take a bit more time!

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!

Phalaenopsis Orchids: Cutting Brown Spikes

I have three phalaenopsis orchids in my home right now, in various stages of their flowering cycles. My greenish-yellow one, while several of its flowers have withered and fallen away, is very active, still has flowers on the top half of the spike and has a small branch of flower buds at the tip that will very likely result in new flowers. The flower spike is a very healthy green. Obviously, I will leave this plant undisturbed.IMG_3052

The dark pink one has several flowers still looking fresh after many months but the tip of that spike is starting to wrinkle. This is a main spike. This main spike actually produced a branch off to its side. That main spike’s branch turned brown and I cut out only that branch, as shown in the second photo, right of center. When the main spike turns brown, then I will cut it down to the base of the plant.


The third one, which produces yellow flowers with dark pink streaks, is no longer in bloom and I cut the spike down to the base of the plant. It only has leaves and, in fact, the young leaves from a few months ago have turned from a bright green to a dark green and are getting bigger.IMG_3053

I continue to lightly water these plants every two weeks, to keep the growing media moist and to support the beautiful leaves of these plants.

Here is an informative site on phalenopsis care, including information and videos on cutting spikes:

UPDATE: See my January 12, 2014 post on what I decided to do with a flower spike that remained green all this time!

Phalaenopsis: New Flower Blooming!

The flower bud of my phalaenopsis has started blooming! It was only two short weeks ago that I felt confident that this new flower bud would be strong enough to bloom. And here it is!

I have, in the past, not had much success with growing indoor orchids so I am hopeful that this exciting new development signals a happy trend for indoor orchids in my home. Humbled and elated!

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