What do phrag sheaths look like?

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Morja

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Google is a veritable desert for phrag info, so I ask- what does the very beginning of a sheath look like? Is there a way to tell if it's a sheath vs another leaf?
Of course, I can just be patient and find out, but it's more fun to ask.
Thank you!
 
The sheaths on Phrags look basically the same as Paphs.
That would help, except -and I will really show my beginner status here- I have owned all my slippers less than a year, and though my paph is growing well I have yet to see a sheath there either. 😂
 
They're nearly universally green and can be a bit tough to distinguish from any other newly emerging leaf.

However, if you look closely, you may notice that the new leaf is folded shut and not opening up like a normal leaf, that it looks like multiple new leaves emerging all at once, that it kind of bulges a bit (i.e. fat/puffy looking), and the "leaves" of the sheath tend to be a bit thinner or more delicate than a new leaf.

If you shine a light through a sheath, you'll see the outline of the internal bracts inside. Often times, the base of the growth will also be bulging and look particularly thick and bulbous down near the surface of the potting media.

Here's a couple of examples I found just a moment ago (and please ignore the dead leaves and brown leaf tips, I haven't gotten over to this end of the shelf to cull old leaves and to collect the plants that are preparing to bloom).

One is of a newly emerging spike. It's hard to tell it's a spike since it's fairly young, it looks very much like a new leaf. However, you can see from the "shadow" cast by the light shining through it, it looks like there's another leaf down inside that leaf. A good sign it's a sheath.

The other photo shows the sheath after it has emerged and at this stage its much more clear that this is a spike. I included it because it also gives you an idea of the slight differences in shape you may begin to notice when it first starts to emerge.
 

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Morja, you have to be a little patient. You said you have had them less then a year. They do not flower as regularly or as often as other types of orchids.
Some Paphs. do, some do not. The same holds true for Phrags.
So much of this depends upon strength and maturity of the particular plant. Light plays a role, as does fertilizer, watering, parentage, temperature, season, etc.
I would give each plant at least a year under your culture before I would be concerned. The more you grow, the more you learn. You’ll learn that there is no such thing as “a guarantee to bloom”!
 
Here's a couple of examples I found just a moment ago.
Thank you SO much, mrhappyrotter, for the examples and detailed descriptions. That was exactly what I needed. I know what to look for now and why it looks the way it does! I really didn't want to get my hopes up just for leaf growth and this helps.

I would give each plant at least a year under your culture before I would be concerned.
Thanks for the sound advice big923cattleya. I know it will likely be more than a year for one of my phrags, but my other has been growing so well and is a mature division, so it's hard not to get my hopes up. However, I will try to be patient! And will of course love them regardless. At least now I won't be thinking "Sheath? Could it be?" every time it grows a leaf.
 
On Phrags, I often see a new growth come up, and then a floppy leaf…you’ll start to see patterns to look for. Enjoy the process! I’m just a year back and starting to get sheaths but also have inherited some plants with blasted sheaths that never formed so I’m trying to figure out how to correct that right now…
 
How many leaves does the fan have already developed below the possible sheath?
Sorry, I am just getting to reply to this. They are all just new leaves I am pretty sure at this point. Each growth has 6 leaves, there may be one or two that had technically 7 or 8 leaves, but that lost a lower one due to root growth or age. It is a schlimii hybrid.
 
Here’s some photos of my sheaths that didn’t develop. These are on my Yelva Meyre.
Oh interesting, will those ever become something or are they a bust? Any idea what causes them? I am going to go stare suspiciously at a very centered new leaf now.
 
Phrags are notoriously slow to grow and bloom compared to other orchids. Mr. Bailey (Orchidbabies) complained to me about that. R.I.P.
And yet they grow like weeds compared to some of the multifloral paphs, so I hear 😂 I was eyeing tiny seedlings and flasks at a recent show. How much cheaper they are! But I don't know that I currently have the patience!
R.I.P. Mr. Bailey.
 
Oh interesting, will those ever become something or are they a bust? Any idea what causes them? I am going to go stare suspiciously at a very centered new leaf now.
Bust… 😢
They weren’t in my care when they developed. Not sure but I have some growths that are looking like they may spike soon so hopefully the issue has been resolved.
 
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