Orchids- new shoots?

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Krista2882, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    Hello,
    Back in April, I received a small Orchid plant which already had flowers on it. It flowered for about 6 weeks, then the flowers fell off and the stem shriveled up and turned brown. So I've been waiting for it to flower again. It's planted in moss in a small pot, and I keep it in my window at work- it gets bright sunlight for a few hours in late afternoon. It is doing well- it's grown a few new leaves in the past couple of months.
    Now I'm noticing what look like new green shoots coming out of the bottom. At first I only saw one and I got excited thinking it was going to flower again, but it seemed to be growing downward. Now it's about a half inch long and is kind of growing horizontally. It's light green in color, and tender. But today I noticed two others similar shoots, that grew down into the moss. Are these new roots? I'm surprised they'd be growing this far up the plant, just attached to the lowest leaves. And I'd be super disappointed if this wasn't a new shoot for flowers.
    I cut down the old shoot where the flowers had previously grown because like I said, it was shriveled, brown, and dried up. Should I not have done that?

    Thanks!
     
  2. togata57

    togata57 Contributor

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    A photo would be great.

    I'd say that your plant is growing roots.
    Be patient! Sounds as if it is healthy. It will flower again when it is ready to do so. Orchids go through cycles---they will flower, then grow roots for a while, and will even (seemingly) do nothing at all!

    I'm guessing that your orchid is a Phalaenopsis. I leave the old flower stalks on mine as long as they stay green: phals will sometimes re-flower from an old stalk. When stalks turn brown and shrivel up (as yours did) and are clearly 'done', I clip them off.
     
  3. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    The new shoots are most likely roots. They tend to grow all over the place not just in the soil.
    1.4 How orchids grow in nature
    Besides these morphological differences most orchids differ from other plants by the way they grow in nature.
    Most orchids are epiphytes, that is they grow attached on other plants (usually trees). They are not parasites, that is they do not take anything away from the plant they grow on, they merely use the other plant (tree) for support.

    Some orchids are lithophytes, that is they grow on rocks.
    Some other ones are semiterrestrial, that is they grow on the ground, on decomposing plant material (not quite soil).
    And finally, a small number of orchids are true terrestrial, meaning they grow in soil like most plants.

    This is from this link: Comprehensive Culture Guide—Introduction to orchidsorchidsusa.com/1Introduction.htm

    Hope this gives you some help. barb
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  4. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    Thank you both! I will post a photo later.
     
  5. Furballs

    Furballs Active Member

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    Just a tip. Next time it does flower, once the flowers drop, prune the flower stalk approximately half way down. Make the cut on a slant, about a quarter inch above one of the nodes. A node is where there's a tiny little sort of leaf looking thing on the flower stalk. They're usually a few inches apart along the stalk. This will usually induce the stalk to grow a branch and then the branch will bloom. I had one that bloomed from a branch after I trimmed the first stalk, then formed two tiny new plants on the branch, and one of those baby plants then bloomed itself, all still on the original first flower stalk. No wonder orchids are so fascinating.
     
  6. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    Thanks, all.
    Here is a photo.
     

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  7. togata57

    togata57 Contributor

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    Yep, that's a nice juicy root.
    Plant looks healthy.
    Keep aware of light and humidity levels. Bright indirect light is good.
    Judging by the leaves of the Maranta in background, an increase in humidity might be enjoyed by both plants. A brief mist with water from a spray bottle could do this.
     
  8. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    So if the roots are growing above the moss, does that mean it should be transplanted into a bigger pot?
     
  9. togata57

    togata57 Contributor

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    Not necessarily. Epiphytic orchids do this. In their native habitat, they live perched on tree branches (as Barb said above). Nutrients and moisture are absorbed from the ambient atmosphere through roots and leaves, not from the ground as with terrestrial orchids and 'standard' plants. The potting medium for an epiphyte is mostly there for support: some folks grow them without any soil at all!

    This is why it is so important for these plants to have available moisture (I mist mine once a day) to the roots---but NEVER live in a swamp. Excellent drainage always!

    Your plant is doing just what it should. Let its roots proudly wave!
     
  10. sunnyone

    sunnyone Member

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    This thread answered some questions I had on my orchids. Thanks for the info!!
     
  11. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    Hi, it's me again...
    I've been misting my Orchid once a day since I was advised to in this thread, but now one of the leaves is dying. It's getting kind of shrively and limp. It's one of the outside most leaves. I don't know if it's related to the misting, but I thought I would mention it.
    Is this a bad sign for the plant, or do the leaves sometimes die?
     
  12. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Your orchid does look like a Phal and in my experience I've never managed to get them to have more than 3 or 4 leaves at a time. Just about the time I figure I'm going to have more one, usually the oldest, does just what it sounds like yours is doing. Starts to shrivel up, turns brown or black and dies. Others on this forum with more experience may be able to give you more info. ;) barb
     
  13. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    Ok, thanks!
     
  14. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    Just wanted to thank you on your advice for my Maranta. I've been misting it every day along with my Orchid, and none of the new leaves have been turning brown at the edges anymore! :oD
     
  15. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    I'm bringing this thread back again because it is about that same Orchid plant...
    It still hasn't blossomed again! There are 4 roots now growing along the top of the moss, and two of them are off the edge of the pot, and it's getting a new leaf, but it's been a year now since it last had flowers. I bought it the day I moved into my apartment which was April 1 of last year and it had flowers on it. The flowers started falling off in the middle of May... so isn't it time it should start getting flowers again?
     
  16. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member

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    Krista2882, your orchid should be blooming by now, if conditions are right. I bought a blooming Phal last year during the summer, and it had lost its blossoms sometime during the fall. However, it put out a new shoot soon after the last blossom dropped off and was blooming again by Christmas. It's still blooming now. My first Phal, many years ago, was constantly in bloom for quite a few years until it succumbed to disease. I suspect that something in its environment is preventing your Phal from blooming. I'm no expert in growing orchids, but I've seen reports that sphagnum moss is not an ideal medium for orchids. It's very easy to keep it too wet and cause the roots to rot. You might try poking into the moss and check the condition of the roots. If they are black and unhealthy looking, then you have a real problem. Another possibility is that your Phal is getting too much sun. I've always kept my Phals in north facing windows, where they do quite well.
     
  17. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    Thanks.
    That makes me sad that it could have been blooming a bunch of times since then and it hasn't. I thought I read that they usually bloom once a year.
    Anyway, if the roots were rotting, wouldn't the plant be having problems? It looks really healthy- the leaves and exposed roots are nice and green and tender and it's growing a new leaf. I don't water it too much. It's really dry in my office so I mist it every day, and a couple of times a week I get the moss wet by spraying it a bunch of times up close with the spray bottle. But I don't think the moss gets too wet all the way to the bottom of the pot.
    But yeah, I do keep it in a west window where it gets direct sunlight in the late afternoon. Maybe that's the problem. I did recently move it behind the shade of the blinds. Hopefully that helps.
    I'm starting to wonder if it's even a Phal, though, because the flowers look similar, but the leaves look very different from the pictures I've looked at online. The leaves are small compared to the pictures. There are 4 leaves and they all stand up really sturdy. One is longer and it curls under a bit, but none of them are so heavy as to touch the pot. My mom has a Phal and the leaves are really long and weigh themselves down. Mine did have very small flowers on it, though. They weren't the typical size of an Orchid you usually see. So I don't know if maybe that's why the leaves are smallish too- it's a "mini" Phal??
     
  18. togata57

    togata57 Contributor

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    Could be a temperature issue. My phals send out flower spikes in response to cold.
    Agree with vitog that phals do well in indirect light.
    Agree further that moss tends to get swampy.
    Give us more photos, if you can.
     
  19. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member

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    Krista, I just noticed that your pot appears to have openings only at the very bottom. Most orchid pots are designed to let more air in by having openings at the sides. Without the additional ventilation, root problems, especially with moss, are more likely. I would try changing the pot or the potting medium or both. This would also make it easy to check root health.

    I've attached a photo of my Phal. You can see that the pot is quite different from yours.
     

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  20. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    togata- my office, where I keep my Orchid plant, is temperature regulated (mostly... sometimes it's about 65 degrees in there and sometimes it's almost 80). So how can I give it cooler temps? Should I bring it home and put it near an open window at night until it blooms?

    vitog- where can I get a pot like that? Also some of that bark stuff?
     
  21. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member

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    Orchid pots and bark are available at just about any garden center that sells orchids, also at big box stores like Walmart and Home Depot.
     
  22. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    Thanks everyone.
    Here's a current picture of my plant.
     

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  23. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    My Orchid is in its new pot.
    I repotted it on Friday. It had hardly any roots when I took it out of its old pot! I was shocked! And there was this big empty space in the bottom of the old pot with ants living in it! GROSS! Anyway, it's in its new pot now. I thoroughly watered it Friday evening when I finished potting it. But yesterday afternoon, two of the leaves were kinda wrinkly! One of them already was- the oldest one, but I wasn't worried because a new leaf is growing in and the same thing happened last time I got a new leaf- the oldest one shriveled up and fell off. But when I checked yesterday, a second leaf was wrinkly! I didn't know if I should water it again because I had just watered it on Friday. But the bark on the top was totally dry. And the roots are so shallow that even if the bark in the center of the pot is still damp, the roots hardly reach that far anyway. So I gave it a good watering and then checked it a couple of hours later, and the leaf looked normal again. I did notice this morning that one of the aerial roots has brown spots on it. What does this mean?
     

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  24. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member

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    Bark doesn't hold water as well as sphagnum moss; so you will have to water more frequently until some deeper roots are established. At least you won't have a problem with excessive moisture in the root zone, which was probably the problem before. The aerial roots look OK in the photo. It wouldn't hurt to put a shallow layer of sphagnum moss on top of the bark and those roots to reduce the evaporation rate of the bark chips. That would also reduce the frequency of watering and probably help keep the air humidity higher. Low himidity is why the bark dries out so quickly.
     
  25. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    Ok, thanks!
     

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