Monday, May 28, 2012

Cut a Phaeanopsis Stem?

White Moth Orchid - Flower photo by Richard LindbergAn orchid I get given to me often is the Moth Orchid, a Phaleanopsis from Big Box that doesn't have a name tag. These are sold as an alternative to cut flowers. They are meant to be discarded and replaced, but many people hate to throw out a living plant. I got this one just as the last couple of flowers were about to drop off.

Cutting the old flower spike once the flowers are gone is the best plan for the long-term health of the plant. But leaving the stem on gives the plant a chance to re-bloom. This is unique to Plaleanopsis. Almost all other orchids do not do this.

Two new branches have formed and are about to open flowers. These flowers will be smaller and there will be fewer of them than the original. But I will be able to get a good flower picture. This will go in the Sonoma display window.


  1. Thanks for the tip. One question though, if its best for the health of the plant to remove the flower spike, is it detrimental to leave it on to re-bloom?

    Gaz: Orchid Gardens

  2. Yes, it weakens the plant. In fact, it can kill a plant to continuously bloom.

    If this is a collection plant, cut it off and wait for next fall's spike.

    If this is a decorator item you bought for the flowers, leave it on.

  3. I had a big Phal healthy plant and it was in bloom for months. It was in bloom so much that in one year the plant used up so much energy that it did not recover and unfortunately I killed it.