Cut blooms to encourage new eyes?

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SEMO-Cypr

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Hello my Cypripedium loving friends!
I’ve had this clump of Pubescens for about 4 years now and it has consistently stayed at 5, this year they appear to be much larger than previously and all are going to bloom. I would like this clump to become larger than just 5 and hoped it would have expanded by now. Do you all think if I clipped the blooms either soon as they are showing or once they are open (so I can enjoy them) would increase the chances of increasing this to a 6 eyed or larger plant this fall? The lady I received this from had over 50 blooming and nearly 70 plants this was divided from. I expected it to have expanded faster honestly.

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Ray

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Put rather simply, plants put out effort in three areas - maintenance (staying alive), adding tissue (growth), and reproduction (blooming) - in that order. They take in water, nutrients, and air as building blocks, photosynthesize to generate fuel, and then there are a multitude of chemical processes that go on to support those efforts.

If all of those go on well - proper amount of nutrition, water, light, correct temperatures and humidity, etc. - the plant will build reserves over and above what it needs for "maintenance". If the rate of accumulation is sufficient and the plant has "learned" to expect it to continue (i.e., "stress-free"), it will add growth, and if everything is going very well, it may expend some of the reserves on reproduction.

That said, if it expended some of those reserves on flowers and they are cut off, it doesn't get them back, although it might recover some of those that were in the inflorescences, and won't utilize those "budgeted" for keeping the blossoms viable in an attempt to reproduce. So, yes, that may be helpful, but don't expect an extreme response.

Older growths only consume the "maintenance" resources, but are great storage vessels them AND continue to acquire more resources through water and nutrient uptake and photosynthesis, so I think you'll see the colony will expand faster as it matures. Maybe not exponentially, but likely not just a linear growth, either.

FWIW, I have noticed plants develop colonies faster when given a regular Kelpak (KelpMax) supplemental routine. Based upon what I've learned relatively recently about it being analogous to a "plant IV", providing all sorts of chemicals and nutrients that the plants ordinarily produce for themselves - externally administered "reserves", if you will - it makes sense.
 

tnyr5

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I've done it before with a wild plant near my house that was in danger of being poached (As soon as the colonies started throwing 4-5 flowers, they turned into dig holes, but nobody would steal them out of bloom, it seemed.) It started doubling yearly, until it was bulldozed for a power line.
 

KyushuCalanthe

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You could cut the flowers, but I would only do that if the plant looked weak, or if it were newly planted with a limited root stock. I say let it flower and then cut them. Consider also other factors that may be affecting it's potential, especially the growing medium. If grown under normal conditions it is common for Cyps to just plateau or perhaps get bigger incrimentally. I remember one pubescens my dad planted in our New York yard (a second growth forest with medium acid loam) that grew and flowered every year for 15 years, but never expanded beyond one stem. When I got into Cyps in my late teens I suggested we move it to a brighter location, and plant it in a lighter compost with dolomite pellets (used for chickens). The next year it had 2 large flowering growths. Then I went off to college!

I've done it before with a wild plant near my house that was in danger of being poached (As soon as the colonies started throwing 4-5 flowers, they turned into dig holes, but nobody would steal them out of bloom, it seemed.) It started doubling yearly, until it was bulldozed for a power line.

Say it ain't so! Yes, most folks just see the flowers, otherwise it all "green stuff".
 
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SEMO-Cypr

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I've done it before with a wild plant near my house that was in danger of being poached (As soon as the colonies started throwing 4-5 flowers, they turned into dig holes, but nobody would steal them out of bloom, it seemed.) It started doubling yearly, until it was bulldozed for a power line.
Oh man! All that effort and then to loose it to the power company…. That’s discouraging..
 

SEMO-Cypr

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First Thank you for all for the detailed responses everyone! First, Ray is MaxSea nearly the same as KelpMax? I know MaxSea is seaweed based. I also could fertilize with MSu, but since it’s true soil I feel it would be a waste. I give it a few Osmocote plus pellets every spring but not many because I was afraid of over fertilizing.. But I guess I could just watch for brown tips on the leaves.

David, I read in another post recently that Pubescens can be a heavy feeder so maybe I’ll add it to watering routine, but I’ve gotten too much rain lately. I may just go heavier on the Osmocote…

Last but not least Botonyboy! (big fan BTW)!
Its been a healthy plant. Two of the immature growths are normal size now and have started flowering that previously didn’t when I first received the plant. I like your idea and taking cuttings once they have fully bloomed so it will atleast keep them from maintenance of the flower over the two-three week bloom period they usually put on (temp dependent). I amended the soil when I first planted it but didn’t write it down, nor take a picture prior to planting. I know I mixed a lot of leaf dander, pee gavel, Turface, and sand into the mix. Is that dolomite lime that your mentioning with the Chicken grit? I’ve used chicken oyster shell for my Pinguicula and have that on hand as well. For light it gets about 2 hours of morning sun and dabble shade most of the day except for mid day where it does receive about 30min between the trees. I took out all the understory trees in this area years ago and there’s 80ft oak/hickory it’s planted between.

I’ve considered moving it to my retaining wall which increases in size from about 2ft to 8ft tall where it would be on the NNW side which I would think would be good side (wish it was facing NNE but can’t have it all), but it would get some Full Sun during a few hours early morning and about 2 weeks in June before it would start getting more shade again. Would get any fun from West as its all woods to the West. Right now there are LARGE hostas there that I’ve never done anything with since we bought the place. My original plan was to make that a Cypripedium bed, but wasn’t sure if it would be too much sun. I have a northern Maiden hair fern at the base of the 8ft side that has never died, nor really expanded for a few years. That was more of an experiment because it’s the deepest shade. Think I should move it?
 

Ray

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First Thank you for all for the detailed responses everyone! First, Ray is MaxSea nearly the same as KelpMax? I know MaxSea is seaweed based.
I don’t think the two could be any more different. MaxSea is a fertilizer. KelpMax (Kelpak) is not. Kelpak is sold as a “biostimulant”.

I also could fertilize with MSu, but since it’s true soil I feel it would be a waste. I give it a few Osmocote plus pellets every spring but not many because I was afraid of over fertilizing.. But I guess I could just watch for brown tips on the leaves.
Why would the substrate being soil discourage you from using MSU fertilizer? They’re all the same materials, providing the same nutrients. My orchid-feeding regimen (K-Lite fertilizer {a derivative of MSURO}, Kelpak, & Quantum) is also my regimen for my tomatoes and herbs, flower boxes around my deck, and all houseplants.
 

SEMO-Cypr

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Mostly because I have cheaper fertilizer that I use in the garden that I could use or put more osmocote on it.

I will have to order some Kelpac and add it in. Looks like there are lots of different types of quantum fertilizer, which one do you use?
Also, on the possible movement of the plant for more light here is the retaining wall at about 11:00am.
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Ray

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Mostly because I have cheaper fertilizer that I use in the garden that I could use or put more osmocote on it.

I will have to order some Kelpac and add it in. Looks like there are lots of different types of quantum fertilizer, which one do you use?
Kelpak is a biostimulant, not a fertilizer, and neither are the Quantum products.

When Concentric Ag ceased production of Inocucor Garden Solution, the technical director at Ecological Labs told me that Quantum-Total was the one to use (it is also sold as Quantum Orchid if you want to pay more for the same product...). I'm in my second year of using it, and I am pleased with the effect is has on plants.
 
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