I have little leaves forming on my Phalaenopsis stem. There are no signs of flowers. What do I do now? Pat H.
You are the proud parent of a new baby orchid! Technically speaking, the mother plant has created a genetic duplicate of itself which, if transplanted and grown correctly, should bloom in a few years. The trick is knowing when and how to transplant it.
WHEN - Wait until roots have emerged from the little plantlet and are about 1" long. Any longer and the roots will be broken during the transplanting stage. Any shorter and the roots may not be established enough to carry on.
HOW - Cut the flower stem slightly above and below the plantlet (w/ roots) and wrap moist sphagnum moss around the roots. Then gently place into a small clay pot and keep damp but with good air circulation and indirect light for the next two years.
Turning our attention to the mother - remove any previous flower stems (cut near the base) so that the plant can regain composure, grow new leaves and roots this summer, and bloom next winter as desired.

My daughter recently knocked over my young Cymbidium and the whole top broke off. Will new leaves regenerate from the existing root system? Rebecca T.
Cymbidiums are extremely tough plants having evolved over thousands of years in harsh climates.
One untimely blow could end all that.
Orchids generally do not sprout new leaves or pseudobulbs if all that remains in the pot are roots. But occasionally it happens.
Surely, there are a few pseudobulbs still intact. They should sprout.
Try putting the pot outside under a tree in early April and see if anything happens after 6 months. Tough love can work wonders...

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 - 18:15