Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spike or root?

Dtps Yu Pin Burgundy on left, Phal Gold Tris 'Desk Pot' on right

     It's a question we often ask ourselves, as amateur orchid growers, when our precious orchids start growing auspicious protrusions of uncertain origin.  With phals, roots and spikes can look very similar in the earliest stages, so when I first noted the two nubs in the picture above, I wasn't quite ready to decide what they were.

The same growths, one week later

     One week later, the growth on Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy has clearly revealed itself to be a spike.  The Phal. Gold Tris, on the other hand, remains mysterious.  I think I see three faint lines, indicating segmentation, but I can't be sure.  It could just be a weirdly shaped root. In one more week, the answer should be clear.

Dtps Yu Pin Burgundy

Phal Gold Tris 'Desk Pot'

     Both orchids are healthy, and have grown new leaves and roots since I've last written about them.  The old spike on Phal Gold Tris remains green, but otherwise inactive.

Growth on Phal Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhall'

     In addition, there's a promising new growth on Phal Memoria Audrey Meldman. In this case it is far too early to even hope to guess whether this is a spike or not.  It's in the right place for a spike, and many of my other phals are now spiking, but otherwise, I'm just being overly optimistic.  A few more weeks will show what this is with more certainty.

Phal Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhall'

     The phal has been growing well, and its root system overshadows the size of the plant.  

Phalaenopsis side spike

     And finally, the growths on my Phal noid have revealed themselves to be side spikes, rather than more keikis.  There is one such side spike growing from each of the three main spikes.  Exciting!


  1. Great! Many blooms to look forward to. I keep discovering spikes on my phals too, but some of them will probably stall or blast. With heating on humidity in the house dropped to almost 40%, so whoever is not in the humidity tray - will be suffering. I desperately need my Orchidarium and it takes soooo long to get it.

    1. I've got one of those sonic humidifiers going next to the growing area full blast, but the drying heat is hard to combat. I can turn the heat 'down', but my building doesn't let me turn it 'off' (understandably).

      How much longer on the orchidarium? Seems like it's already been months since you announced it.

  2. I would have to say that all of these auspicious growths are spikes! One of the best ways to tell a spike apart from a root in its eariliest stages is that I find that spikes tend to be very long and narrow when the start to poke out of the side of the plant, while root tips are (almost) always circular. Also, root tips are usually very rounded.