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First time bloomers: To cut or not to cut spikes?

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Cut the spike on a first time bloomer? Why?

  • Yes

    Votes: 2 10.5%
  • No

    Votes: 17 89.5%
  • I can't make a decision

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    19

Marco

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Alright well, my first spike to push up on me was on a Phal. Schilleriana which is also a first time bloomer. I went to go look at it today and was thinking "It's a first time bloomer. I need to cut the spike" :sob:. I've already cut the spike of a first bloom Dtps Every Spring prince - Black Butterfly. A spike that I didn't hesitate to cut because I recieved it in spike with the new leaf in the center rotten. I was told that it probably wasn't going to make it. Well two months later after serious surgery of taking the rotten leaf and underlying leaf out, guess what it's still alive. But now I look at the schilleriana's growing bud and I'm heartbroken. :sob: I know I'm going to do the same thing to all my first time blooming paphs :sob:. And the foreshadow just aches me!

I've read that cutting the spike asap is good for the plant because it allows the plant to use it resources to build itself up and not the flower(s).

Yes, I will cut them. I just want one flower to open up first to take pictures.

And to think, people doing that to a Sanderianum! That totally sucks!

I was wondering what you guys do to your first time bloomers. Do you leave the spike alone or cut it and why?
 

Marco

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Heather said:
If the plant is healthy and robust, I generally leave the spike.
I have cut a few besseaes that were not that vigorous, but I generally let them bloom first

Hmmm, ok I'm having second thoughts on the phal. I might have second thoughts on the paph to when the time rolls around :)
 

likespaphs

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dude...cutting the spike and not seeing the flower?!!
y'all have patience...
or is it that i misunderstand and you mean that, as you said, let a flower open then cut it? i might do that...
i've actually had some seedling live to the point that they may bloom soon. if it really happens, i may have to rethink this.
 

Heather

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I don't know. I think if you have a plant that takes 7-12 years to bloom, or grows a fan to maturity, only to choose to wait until the second fan grows to maturity before spikeing, I'd be leaving the spikes alone.

When my roths finally start spiking? Yeah, no way...not cutting any spikes, I'm going to darn well enjoy them for all the time and effort it has taken!
 
G

Greenpaph

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Heck, if the plant wants to bloom; let it! Enjoy it for a while before you cut it off and place it in a vase!

I just wouldn't breed with it until it has multiple growths. Now that would slow the growing process.
 

Marco

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likespaphs said:
dude...cutting the spike and not seeing the flower?!!
y'all have patience...
or is it that i misunderstand and you mean that, as you said, let a flower open then cut it? i might do that...
i've actually had some seedling live to the point that they may bloom soon. if it really happens, i may have to rethink this.
No way! I mean cutting the spike on first bloom after the first flower opens. Cutting without letting it open is blasphemy! I honestly dont know what to do now. I shoulda picked "i dunno" I haven't bloomed any myself yet. But, I've read that cutting off the spike off of a first blooms allows it to put more energy into itself and produces more growths. And more growths = most likely multiple spikes in next blooming . :drool: I don't know what to do. live for the moment or risk the possibility of splurging with multiple stemmed plants in the future.:confused:.
 
J

Jmoney

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most of the time, plants won't bloom for me unless they're pretty healthy anyway. I suppose for some of the cochlos you might want to stop them at some point if they decide to keep on going off the first spike.
 

paphreek

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I usually let them bloom and evaluate the flower(they're almost always better on the second and third bloomings). After enjoying the flower as it opens and changes, maybe 2 weeks or a little longer, I usually cut the flower. If the plant is vigorous, I usually don't worry that much.
 
E

Eric Muehlbauer

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I never cut off a first bloom....After all these years, I'm still thrilled any time I get a plant to bloom. If its blooming for the first time, I really want to see what it looks like. Contrary to what many people say, I find that first blooms are pretty typical of what a paph or phrag will produce. Later years may produce larger blooms, but basically, if its a disappointing flower on first bloom...it will usually be disappointing in future years. I always give them several tries...well, basically, if its a dog I'm stuck with it...I can't bring myself to kill a healthy paph...However, multifloral paphs may frequently produce defective blooms, usually with fused sepals/petals, as the first blooms on the spike, followed by normal blooms later. Similarly with phrags, the first blooms on the spike may be missing parts, and the other blooms are normal. This is an occasional happening. I do feel that with cochlopetalums, it is a good idea to terminate the spike after a few months...when the blooms get really small, or the spike gets ungainly...its easy to neglect repotting them because of the blooms...and they are perfectly happy to bloom even as they are dying. Similarly, phrags, especially lindleyanum, can bloom for so long that the last flowers are thin, pale, and spindly...spikes like that can be put out of their misery...this is more for appearance, as phrags are pretty cast-iron for the most part. Take care, Eric
 

SlipperFan

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It seems to me that the plant has already put a lot of energy into forming the flower and making it open. Does it really cost the plant that much more to enjoy the flower for awhile? I think those who cut off the spike to let the plant's energy go back into the plant do so when the spike first starts to form. That's what would make sense to me.
 

littlefrog

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Actually since the bloom is living tissue, and likely not photosynthetic (unless it is a green flower), it is taking substantial resources from the plant just by being there. So, take that for what it is worth. Orchids want to bloom.

I have some basic rules. If the plant isn't looking so healthy, I snap the spike off immediately. Otherwise, I let it bloom. From there, I have a few options. If the flower is hideous, I pitch the plant (I don't have time to deal with it). If it is nice, but isn't drop dead amazing, and I have a show coming up, I sell it (or try to, anyway), and those plants are plenty healthy to hold their flowers for a while (or I wouldn't sell it...). Borderline plants that I think might like to see bloom again on a bigger plant, I snap the spikes off within a week or so of the flower opening. Superstars I might actually take to judging on a first bloom, and, quite frankly if they are that good the plant is probably more than happy enough to tolerate holding the flowers for a while. I still try to remember to cut those off after a month or so, if I can bear to do it.

Every spring after show season (mid May, for me), I go through the greenhouse (or plant room, when I was growing under lights) and snap spikes on all phals, and all maudiae type paphs. They can take the summer off and will be better for it next season. I might leave a few for my own enjoyment, but most of them I sacrifice. If I only had a few dozen plants, I doubt I could bring myself to do that.

A more serious problem is 'what if I want to breed with it?'. You can kill young plants with capsules... I try very hard to wait until the next blooming to attempt a cross. But I don't always resist the temptation.
 

Wendy

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I only cut the spike on a firsttime bloomer when the plant itself is at risk. If it isn't healthy then it needs all its energy to put into growing, not blooming.

I also do what Rob does after show season and let my reliable bloomers have a rest for the summer.

When my Paph Micheal Koopowitz 'Fergus' HCC/AOS was awarded the first thing i did when I got home was to cut the spike. It was a first time bloomer with five flowers...that's a lot of energy. I still got to enjoy the flowers in a vase.
 

Paphman910

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When my Paph rothschildianum first bloomed in spring 2004, I let it flowered with no ill effect. It flowered again in early 2006 with darker and bigger flowers. It now has 4 new growths. I think two flower spike at the same time will be very impressive maybe next year but who knows.

Paphman910
 

Rick

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Phal schilleriana is a tough plant too. Mines been growing and blooming like crazy over the 5 years I've had it, and each year the show just gets bigger and better. Mine has already started to spike too.
 

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