One of the most common questions we receive is, “What do I do with my Phalaenopsis once it has stopped blooming?” And our answer is… well, it depends.
Age Before Beauty
If your Phalaenopsis is a younger plant, meaning its leaves and root mass are relatively smaller than a mature plant, we recommend cutting the spike once the blooms have dropped. Use sterile clippers and cut the flower stalk near the base of the plant as shown in the photo. Doing so will allow the plant to focus on developing into a larger, healthier plant so that you can enjoy more blooms the following year.
Brown or Green?
Sometimes, your orchid will make the cutting decision for you. If your Phalaenopsis spike turns from a dark, healthy green to brown and perhaps even hollow, it’s time to cut. Once a spike has browned, it will never produce more flowers from the same stalk.
Follow Your Nodes
A mature Phalaenopsis can rebloom from the same spike. Assuming your spike is green and healthy, find the node below the lowest initial blossom. (Nodes are the small, brown or green, ring-like markings on the Phalaenopsis flower stalk.) Use a sterile blade or shears to cut half-way between that node and the one below it. To prevent potential infection, you may want to dust the cut with ground cinnamon which acts at a natural anti-fungal treatment.
This cutting method is effective about 50% of the time. Some plants are genetically pre-dispositioned for this approach not to work, in particular, Phalaenopsis plants with “sprays” of flowers.
Lastly, you can always guarantee a fresh start for next year by cutting your green Phalaenopsis stems at the base of the plant. Like with younger plants mentioned above, this cutting method will allow your Phalaenopsis to focus it's energy on growing healthier roots and leaves to prepare for the next flowering season.
We hope these suggestions answer your question of “To Cut or Not to Cut.”
Happy Blooming from Better-Gro!
Q: How many orchids were used in this year's show?
A: Between our Selby Gardens' expansive orchid collection and the plants we received from Better-Gro and other sources, I estimate that we showcased over 40 different genera and more than 800 orchids.
This 90-second video provides a glimpse into the shear variety of orchids and plants on display.
Q: With all those plants, how many people and how many hours did it take to assemble the exhibit?
A: We had a great team working on the show. There were about 12 staff members and volunteers who worked tirelessly on the setup. It took us six days to build and install the hardscapes and arrange the plants throughout our greenhouse.
Q: What was the inspiration for this year's show?
A: The Orchid Show: Endless Forms emphasizes the remarkable range of shapes and sizes of different orchid species. The inspiration was drawn from the famous line of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, in which he stated "from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."
Q: What is unique about the Endless Forms exhibit?
A: Well, call me crazy, but we created a 180 foot "endless ribbon" of plants that hung from the ceiling from one end of the greenhouse to the other. We wanted people to look up just as much as they looked down. The ribbon was quite labor intensive with one Phalaenopsis plant approximately every 12 inches which was surrounded by groupings of Guzmanias. The ribbon display required waterings at least twice a day and included over 180 orchids and 430 Guzmanias.
In addition, we created what our team affectionately called "Vanda-liers" and "Vanda-shrooms". The Vanda-liers hung like chandeliers at the entry to the gardens as well from the greenhouse ceiling, and the Vanda-shrooms were massive groupings of Vandas displayed at varying heights that gave the appearance of cartoon-like mushrooms. Our team swapped out these massive displays approximately every three weeks.
Q: What was unique about the 2018 Orchid Show?
A: Well, of course the orchids! But this year's show presented some challenges simply because of the heat. It was one of the hottest years that I can recall. Because our Orchid Show is six weeks long, we always anticipate the need to swap out orchids every few weeks simply because of the blooming cycle. However, this year, we went through even more plants because the flowers wilted much faster than usual due to the heat.
Q: When does the Orchid Show end?
A: If you haven't made it out to the show yet, it isn't too late! The Orchid Show runs through November 25. Ticket information, directions and hours are available on the Selby Gardens' website.
Q: What type of planning goes into the annual Orchid Show?
A: The short answer is LOTS. We started working on this show about eight months ago. We'll probably start working on next year's show in January.
We want to thank Angel Lara and the staff at Selby Gardens for their incredible work on this year's show. Better-Gro was proud to be the presenting sponsor for the event, and we hope you enjoyed our contest and seeing the beautiful photos and videos from the show.
Happy Blooming from Better-Gro!