It is quite interesting to observe the cycle of plants, especially when it comes to exotics like the orchid. Especially as a newcomer to these beautiful flowers, you are often surprised what happens – from the old shoot suddenly grows a new flower stalk and sometimes even a child. And what is it that seems to be growing out of the stem? A new aerial root or a new flowering shoot? We would like to explain how to proceed when orchids grow new shoots, as well as how to stimulate the formation of such.
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The old flower shoot as a potential base for a new one
One of the big questions regarding care after flowering is, among other things, what happens to the flower stem. Some cut it off, which is not necessarily wrong either. However, a new flowering shoot can grow from the same stem. In some cases, a new shoot with a leaf even develops on the orchid, that is, an orchid spindle (a completely new plant). Remove only the part that is above the eye, that is, the one where the flowers were.
If you still decide to cut the stem early (that is, not when it has completely dried up), it is not a big deal. In this case, the plant will simply put its strength into a new shoot.
Encourage new shoots in orchids
When the flowering period is over, the orchid, like most other flowering plants, goes dormant. In most cases, however, this period does not last long and can be over after just a few days. In some cases, however, it can last for several months, so you don’t have to worry if it does take a little longer. How can you stimulate new growth?
- Place the plant in a cool place after flowering. It should stay there for several weeks.
- Water the orchid only in small amounts.
- Do not fertilize the plants.
- Take care of the leaves. Wipe off dust.
Give the plant enough space
If the plant is too cramped, it needs a new, larger pot, because otherwise a new shoot will fail to appear for the time being. You can tell that the old pot has become too small by the fact that the substrate roots are already growing out of the drainage holes. Furthermore, many aerial roots that grow far beyond the edge of the pot are a sign that it is time for repotting. While you’re at it, take advantage of this to do some maintenance pruning.
You can repot even if the orchids are already growing new shoots. Only when the flowering begins, you should leave it and rather wait until after flowering, so as not to stress the plant unnecessarily.
As soon as you notice the new shoot, you can return the plant to its usual location and observe the new growth.
New shoot or aerial root – What’s growing from the trunk?
You see that a small lump has formed on the trunk and wonder if it is a new flowering shoot or “just” a new root? If you don’t want to wait until it’s purely visually obvious what it is (usually at 5 to 10 mm in length) – here’s how to tell what kind of plant part it is:
- grow from the leaf axils, that is, more precisely, from a place between two leaves, one above the other, from the “seam”
- are pointed and flat (shaped like a wedge)
- are already at the beginning rather directed upwards (towards the light)
- can arise singly or two at the same time
- is round (has no tip) and spherical when emerging
- usually forms in the front parts of the stem
- can sometimes appear where flower shoots are normally formed
- after a short time it is directed downwards or towards the substrate
When orchids grow new shoots: How to care for them properly?
So, as already mentioned, the orchid can return to its normal location as soon as the new flowering shoot has seen the light of day. From now on, you can also continue with the usual care. You water and fertilize as before, because in order for the flower stalk to grow healthily and form buds, it needs strength and therefore the necessary nutrients. What exactly does this mean?
- A warm location with temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees.
- Bright location.
- Sufficiently high humidity, namely around 60 percent. If you can not guarantee this, at least spray the roots and leaves with water. The water should be lukewarm and preferably free of lime.
- You can provide the leaves with a special vitality spray.