Orchid problems: when to cut the flower stem of my Phalaenopsis and what are the spots I see on the plant

Orchid problems: when to cut the flower stem of my Phalaenopsis and what are the spots I see on the plant

THE AGRONOMIST ANSWERS ON HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR PLANTS

When to cut the flower stem of mine Phalaenopsis and what are the spots I see on the plant

QUESTION OF GIULIA

Good evening Doctor,

We contact her to ask her how to deal with our Phalaenopsis, which has been in our possession since September 2016.

We keep it indoors, near a window but not exposed to direct light, and we water it every 5-6 days; it was only fertilized with liquid fertilizer and pesticide treatments have never been carried out (there have been no insects or parasites, at least so far).

As for the state of the plant, the last sprouted leaves are green and apparently healthy. There are many leaves underneath these, some broken as a result of a fall of the plant (obviously it did not fall by itself). We always cut the stems two knots from the root on the advice of the florist, but my mother-in-law (thinking she was doing well) cut a couple of stems at the root a year ago when I left the plant to her. The last full bloom was in May 2020 (see first photo), a second with a couple of flowers more recently.


Photo 1


Photo 2

As for the symptoms, in the last few days, after the fall of the last flower at the beginning of the week, the two stems have begun to dry out. Both on the stems and on a leaf there are spots, which he had never had before.

We would like to ask you how to behave both with regard to the stems that are drying up, and for the leaves that are broken or damaged.

Thanks in advance and good evening,

Giulia

AGRONOM ANSWERS

Hi Giulia,

from the photos sent the Phalaenopsis it looks very healthy with turgid leaves of a beautiful deep green color and the same is true of the roots. So congratulations on how it is treated.

First let's say that the first is the rule of what to cut into one Phalaenopsis is to eliminate only and exclusively the dry parts. Therefore, everything that is green (therefore that the plant still considers useful for its life cycle), must be left behind. Normally, in fact, in the old flower stems that are still green, the plant blooms again, saving an enormous amount of energy to reform the stem. Therefore, I absolutely disagree with what the florist has advised. In fact, it is necessary to reflect on one thing: in nature there is no superfluous. Everything that animals (apart from humans) and plants do is always essential to their survival. So, if the plant decides not to let a part of it dry out, why should we think it is wrong?

Another aspect is the cutting of the flower stem at the root level: nothing serious has happened. There Phalaenopsis, when it decides to flourish, it will make a new one but for the future, what I wrote above is valid.

We now come to the "spots" present on the plant. From what I guess from photo # 1, they would look like scale insects. If they come off easily when you try to pass a nail, it is cochineal. In that case, apart from that they are on a dry branch that must be cut, if they were present on the green parts of the plant, they can be eliminated by passing a cotton swab soaked in alcohol over them.

As for the black spots in photo no. 2 it is not clear from the photograph what it is. They could come from the fall, they could be a mushroom ... they must be followed and if they increase, write me again.

Finally, regarding the broken leaves as a result of the fall, there is nothing to be done. They should be left where they are. Over time they will dry up and only then can they be eliminated.

I hope I was clear, otherwise, I'm here.

Dr. M. G. Davoli

If you want to get to know this plant better, consult the technical sheet dedicated to it:

Phalaenopsis


Video: How To Grow Orchids From Stem Cuttings