Indoor Orchids: New Flower Spikes

Three of my indoor orchids – miltonia and phalaenopsis – are showing new growth of flower spikes. The one with the two shoots at the base of the plant is the miltonia. All of these are plants I found in the clearance bin at various supermarkets over the years. Very glad they are happy in their new home. With spring a week away, it’s a nice preview of things to come and a gentle good-bye to winter!IMG_3341IMG_3340IMG_3339


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

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!


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 Buds!

State of grace! My clearance-bin phalaenopsis orchids have produced lovely new flower buds from the new spikes that formed from the original spikes. They are loving the light and overall climate of my bathroom, so it looks like they will live out their days perched atop my step ladder in my bathtub. I will have to take mostly showers from now on and take baths on really special occasions!IMG_2961IMG_2960

I have been especially fortunate that several of the flowers that were originally blooming when I bought the plants are still there and looking fresh even now.

I have made sure that the plants are securely fastened to their respective stakes since the top-heaviness of the flowers can often cause the spike to snap off. I will add more stakes as needed to reduce the risk of this happening.

I hope that these lovely plants will have long and happy lives in my care. They have brought me great joy!

Phalaenopsis Orchids from the Supermarket Clearance Rack!

I can’t believe my good fortune in finding these two very lovely phalaenopsis orchids from the clearance rack of my supermarket. Both of them came with their own containers (one ceramic, the other clay). Sadly, one of them looked terribly mistreated, with a noticeable section of one of its leaves torn off and a few smaller leaves folded underneath themselves and starting to yellow. Both of them also looked like IMG_2936it’s been awhile since they have been watered. This is certainly no way to treat plants as elegant as these! They are still in flower and new flower buds have still yet to open. As shown on the right, one has two flower spikes.

My plan is to rehabilitate these plants and give them a happy home. I am a very soft touch when it comes to mistreated plants and am only too eager to take them home and give them the chance to live long and healthy lives in peace. It’s disappointing to think that if these plants are not claimed, they will likely be leftIMG_2938 to perished or thrown out with the rubbish, a truly inglorious end.

Although some of these “clearance sale” plants have a few challenges, they deserve consideration. Sometimes it takes only a little watering and a bit of sunlight to restore them to their glory. As is, these orchids already look fabulously dreamy! Including tax, I paid less than $12 for the two plants, a modest investment for years of enjoyment and beauty.

The only quandary I have is figuring out where they will go in my home. A very pleasant decision indeed. So the next time you are at your supermarket, take a moment to visit the clearance rack, usually in the back of the store near the restrooms. A lovely plant may be waiting for you to take it home!

Phalaenopsis Orchid: New Leaf Growth!

I’m very pleased to report that the Phalaenopsis orchid that I purchased in February of this IMG_2920year is still alive! And now the proof: a tiny new, bright green leaf, right in the center of the action!

I’ve had terrible luck with growing indoor orchids but this one seems to be hanging in there.

It sits peacefully on my kitchen table in indirect light, so I will keep it there. During the hot summer here, my house got hot and one other Phalaenopsis perished, sadly. But this one survived even that situation, so I am hopeful that portends great things for this mighty plant! I suppose the lesson is to never give up, keep trying!

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