When you buy a Phalaenopsis orchid, the flower stem is tall and straight, but a year later the new spike grows wonky to the side underneath the foliage. It happens when the plant is placed near a window, the spike will grow side way following the source of light. You may think to turn the plant around, hoping that the flower will grow the opposite direction, but it will make the flower buds grow out of order and the blooms will look wonkier with one facing this way and other one facing that way.

To make Phalaenopsis spikes grow reasonable straight above the foliage, a small wooden or bamboo stick and a bit of string can help. Though some Phals tend to naturally have long and reasonably straight spikes, many will have the problem. Phalaenopsis flower stems are not pliable, especially when they are still young. Do not try to straighten the stem by pulling it with your hand and risking it to break completely (I did it before and broke few spikes).

phalaenopsis-2-spikes-sept-2016

  • Wait until the spike is long and hard enough to handle.
  • Do not attempt to to pull the stem by hand as it is very easy to snap broken.
  • Insert a suitable wooden or bamboo stick (stake) into the media.
  • With the help of a string (I use raffia), pull the stem very gently towards the stake and tie it up. It does not need to get really straight and close to the stake for the first time, more adjustments can be done later on when the spike has grown longer and stronger.
  • Always face the plant the same way to make the flowers grow in a good arrangement later.
  • When the spikes have grown longer, the string can be pulled more closer to the stake to make the spikes straighter. More strings can also be used to tie it up. These adjustments can be done several times following the growth.
  • When the flower buds are mature and have started to open, it is safe to turn the plant around or to move it as you wish. It is also the time to remove the ugly strings and stakes. If the flowers are heavy, a stake can be left for support and special clips can be use. Or if you do not have the clips, you can at least tie it up neatly and discreetly to look more attractive.

This is my way to make our Phalaenopsis flowers grow reasonably straight and high above the foliage. I am not sure how the professionals do it, but I hope it can be a bit of help to deal with your wonky Phal spikes.