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When to sever new baby phalaenopsis from its momma + how to plant?

January 12, 2019

Pictures below: I took back a phalaenopsis after gifting it to someone who couldn't keep it after she was moved. It was almost done blooming. I noticed the roots were dying / rotting. I cleaned it up and repotted it but kept the spikes, and it has grown a ton of new roots plus a baby with two flowers on one of the old spikes! I understand that orchids can make a new baby if they think they're dying, and this one obviously did.

It's been very exciting to observe this new baby. At this point the baby leaves are pretty big (like a mini-orchid), but there is only one root and it looks just like an aerial root. The leaves are still growing, but the root is on a stand-still and has looked the same for maybe two months now. The flowers are in very good condition still. There is also what looks like the tip of a new spike growing from between the original leaves on the mother plant, but it never developed and it seemed like the plant changed its mind on it and decided to make this baby instead. Possibly this spike will take off once the baby is gone?

On removing the baby:

1. At what point do I cut it off from the mother plant to let it grow in its own pot?

2. Should I cut it right at the base of the baby, where I'm pointing with a pencil?

3. Do I plant it as if it's growing sideways right now, so that the one areal root is down into the bark and leaves straight up? How much of the base of the plant needs to be sitting inside the bark?

Cut here...

... and here?

Plant like pictured below, leaves up and aerial root down?

Below: In the center, brown / red'ish tip of what I think is another spike that never took off.

Comments (5)

  • shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

    Leave it attached. First cut the spike low near the mother plant. Now with the big spike attached put it near the pot it will live in and see how much you can keep. Saving as much as you can fit in the pot with the new plant on top of the pot. Cut off minimum. The new plant will draw moisture and nutrients from the old spike. It will eventually die off a rot. By then the plant should be established.

  • Else

    Wow! I would never have thought to do it that way, glad I asked! So stick as much as possible of the old spike into new pot, meaning the base of the new plant will sit on top of the bark? And then it will form more roots while it feeds off the old stalk? Sounds like I can do it at this point then? Although maybe I'll wait until the flowers have died off to not stress it out.

  • shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

    If you want the best chance of success cut the flower off. Even if you do cut the flower it still may die anyway. Tough decision. I would do it now. And I would cut the flower. "base of the new plant will sit on top of the bark?" yes! and yes. Now is good.

    Be sure and fertilize. And get maxi-crop to add to fertilizer. Magic stuff! Google it. No direct sun, bright shade. For now.

  • Else

    OK, awesome!! Will do! Hopefully it will work.

  • Paul MI

    I would hold off until spring unless you keep your house quite warm. Phals tend to more active growing when temps are warmer.

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