How to pollinate a Phalaenopsis

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OK, this thread doesn't really have any place on a slipper forum. I actually put together this series of photos for someone at my forum (Denver Orchid Society), but since nobody actually visits that forum, I thought I'd post it here too :) Maybe it will help someone out. I couldn't decide whether to stick this in the Beginner's section or here, but this seemed to make more sense.

Anyway, someone at the forum wanted to know how to pollinate a Phal, so...

First of all, this is the plant that I'm going to be playing with today. Its the only Phal that I happen to have in bloom right now. I bought it at Target for at least $10 :) It's a Phal. Brother Digger clone.


The first step is to find the Anther Cap. Its right in the center of the flower, and it has a little sticky beak pointing down towards the lip.


The anther cap covers the pollen. All you have to do to get to the pollen is put a toothpick underneath the little tab that hangs from the anther cap. It's sticky under there, so it will adhere to the toothpick, and and you pull the toothpick away from the bloom, the anther cap will come up and the pollen will be stuck to your pick.

Sometimes, the whole anther cap and pollinae set will come off together. In that case, you can just pick off the anter cap (it should just drop off), and you're left with the pollen, as seen below:


Now, you just have to figure out where to stick the pollen. If you look underneath the column, below where the pollen used to be, there's a little cave :) My photos aren't very good, so it's hard to see, but it will be obvious on the actual bloom.


You just stick the pollen in there. Not much to it :) I usually only use half of the pollen, but two will also work.


Then, you just sit back and wait. If it's successful, the flower will wilt but not drop off, the pod will start to grow, and you'll have seed.

Let me know if anything needs clarification... hope this helps!

As Ever,
Matthew Gore
That's pretty cool Matt. Did you take the photos yourself with your other hand? That's pretty dexterous of you, especially getting the focus on the pollinia.
I did take the photos with my other hand, which is why I left those photos so small... so that its not so obvious that they're really blurry :) Actually, the camera was on a tripod, so that helped.

Looks good to me, Matt. The only other thing you might want to show, like on your Paph demo, is the ovary -- maybe when it's starting to plump and the flower is fading?
I really only did this one to help out someone who didn't know how to pollinate... not building a section on my website or anything :) So, I don't have any future genera planned. But I might do one with Disas this spring, if I think of it. I don't grow many other genera....

- Matt
Good demo, we did this once and it did take, carried the pod for a few months before the spike got broken off. Oh well, not like I have a lab or anything.

any thoughts on how to do it with a ludisia? i know where to find the pollen but just where is the stigmatic surface?...

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