Staking Orchid Spikes

My orchid is growing a new bloom stem/shoot. Should I stake it?

Updated 3/1/17

Staking orchids is easy and essential for growing your standard indoor orchids. Most orchids do not naturally grow up, as we see them sold in our local florist shops. In nature they sometimes grow on trees, clinging to them and sometimes growing down (as shown below). It will not hurt your orchid to stake it, we simply do this because it looks pretty growing in our homes and saves space.

Overview

I normally wait till my spikes are at least 3 – 4 inches long and then I gentle attach (clip) them to a stake and wait for them to grow even longer before attaching a second clip. Then you can gradually add more clips and manipulate it straight up.

Note: They are very fragile at first and will break very easily. This has happened to me before and I was heart-broken.

On the other hand if you wait till they are much longer and try to stake them then they can break as well because at this time they have hardened a bit. You have to start when they are smaller but be very careful because the new stalk is tender and gradually gets much firmer as it grows.

How to stake an orchid

1. Once your orchid shoot/spike has begun growing it will grow upwards for a couple of inches before it would naturally starts falling. At this time get a stake (I get mine from here) and gently push it in the mix next to the shoot (as shown below).

img_1099

2. Then take ties/clips to secure it to the stake.

There are many ties/clips you can choose from. Here are two examples of basic clips and then some fun clips…

3. As your orchid shoot grows you will need small to large stakes. Gently replace the stakes, with larger ones, as it grows (as shown below).

img_1096

4. Eventually it will begin to produce buds and at this point you can let it fall naturally at the top to create an arch, which will give it a nice full look.

 

 

 

 

 

Below is what your orchid should look like when fully bloomed and staked properly.

IMG_1097.JPG

Hope that helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

48 Comments on “Staking Orchid Spikes

  1. I’d like to try to allow my orchid to cascade down from a ledge and have the blossoms trundle down. Would that work?

  2. I recently went to stake my new spike and it snapped below the buds๐Ÿ˜ฉNow what should I do? Cut the rest of the spike/stem off at the base or leave it and will another spike form/sprout this season since that one is now done before it started๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ช Thanks so much

    • I am so sorry this happened to you. I recently did the exact same thing. Is there a node below it? If so it may start another shoot from there. Also sometimes it sprouts a new one in a different place. Leave it alone for now,

      Hannah

      • I also broke my new spike in trying to stake it, but fortunately it was just above a node and about a week later a new shoot started from this node. So, I guess the lesson here is when staking a shoot, look for a node and clip above it, so in case you brake the new shoot, there’s another node below for a second chance.

  3. Hi,
    I was given an orchid last christmas and it has never ever stopped flowering in the past year ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for this article as I didnt realise they like to be snug so I dont need to repot or do I ? as the roots are starting to look woody, but it is always in flower lol
    But question is the stalk that the flowers are on are so so tall I have to put large ornaments next to the pot to keep it balanced, I have attached more stakes to the original stakes as I really dont know what to do as they are incredibly tall.32 inches high and now there are 2 more stalk bits coming from under the leaves and I want to stake them as they are going off in weird angles and may break.
    Love this gift but not sure how to care for it now due to size etc. It obviously loves the position it is in ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Hi Hannah,

    Just curious: Is it necessary to stake an orchid growing inside in a pot? It looks prettier, yes, but what would happen if I just allowed the spike to grow naturally in whatever direction it wants?

    • Hi,

      No it is not necessary at all. People do it because it looks nice but if you just let it grow naturally it will not stand up as straight and may even grow down.

      Hannah

  5. I have read that when a new bloom spike (Phal) is still tender & fragile – –

    You can gently tie a ribbon or piece of clear plastic to secure until teh spike is strong enough for a clip. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. I am not sure what is happening with my orchid. I have a leaf base with a shoot that I had trimmed back somewhat because it had browned some. I cut it at the nodule previously & now it has grown 3 new leaves sideways (with a new 4th baby leaf growing also). It also has grown a long root shooting downward. Do I cut the leaf base off & bury the root? I wish there was a way to attach a picture here. Please help. Thank you!!

  7. Hi Hannah
    Thanks for the brilliant article.
    I have a phal with its new flower stem currently about 6 inches long. The problem is its directly underneath a really wide and large leaf that lies pretty flat. I’ve been trying to find a way to persuade it to emerge one side of the leaf or the other but haven’t been able to stake it. I’m worried now it’s getting longer and growing horizontally under the centre of this leaf I won’t be able to gently coax it up and around in order to be staked. How should I continue? I don’t want to risk snapping the stem and it’s already getting harder longer and still totally horizontal. Hope you’ve seen this before ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi,

      This has totally happened to me. Sometimes you just have to leave it. If there is no way to stake it without breaking it then that’s what I suggest. Staking is more for us so we can see how pretty the flowers are super tall. In nature they of course are not staked and it won’t hurt it at all just to leave it,

      Hannah ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi Hannah,

    I enjoyed reading your page, really great advice!

    I got my Phal when it was in bloom in February 2014, and it hasn’t bloomed since…but it has grown six new healthy leaves, and I’m so excited because a spike finally emerged this past week! The spike is now roughly 4 inches long and the shape of a parenthesis so I think I should start to stake it as you say, but I am wondering first about the angle of sunlight. Since the spike emerged I have been turning the plant in an effort to help the spike grow straight. Would it be better if I left it in one position?

    Thanks!
    Sarah

    • Hi,

      It honestly probably doesn’t matter what position the orchid is in for the spike to grow. Super excited for you!! Be very careful when staking it and be gentle. I have broken them and about lost my mind!

      Hannah

  9. Hi,

    Can the same stake be used for different orchid plants? I’ve read that you should clean your shears before using them on different orchid plants to prevent the spread of viruses. Is this the same for stakes and clips?

    Thanks,
    Susie

  10. that was a good and simple way. thank you. i am having dedrobium which has shown a spike now. do dendrobiums also need staking. you know that spike of a dendrobium starts from the top rather than the crown. please let me know.

  11. I have a Phal that my mammaw had before she passed. I got it in June and I never saw a bloom or stem or anything. It didn’t have any air roots either. It had six leaves and eventually the lowest leaf turned completely yellow and fell off. Well, it now has nine leaves, it’s April of the next year and it just got it’s first stem for me. I’m so excited!! It also has air roots everywhere and needs re-potted. I can tell it’s very happy. I have a humidifier by it and we turn our temp down to 67 at night and up to 73 during the day, here in Indiana. I mist it and check on it daily. It’s my first and only orchid…..for now. Thanks for this sight, it was a great help.

  12. Hi
    I bought my orchid last year the flowers. When my flowers all fell I added more moss because my pot cracked. Now I have aerial roots starting g to come up from the top. I noticed I think is a root coming out of the hole from the bottom of the pot. Does this mean it has to be transplanted it’s in a glazed pot. Thank you. Jeanne

    • Hi,

      I would love to help. If your orchid is growing outside of it’s pot then yes you want to repot it a bigger one. Just make sure you don’t go too big. Orchids like to be snug in their pots.

      Hannah

  13. How long do the spikes actually grow upwards for? Is it for 3-5 inches? Or less? Or more?
    Thanks,
    John

      • What about later? or is this the best time? p.s. I have a baby spike on one of my plants. So exiting!!! I hope I don’t mess up.
        Thanks,
        John.

      • This is a good time (but I live in a different region then you). How long is it? You want to wait till it is long enough to spike.

      • I live in Calgary, Southern Alberta, Canada.
        Ok.
        Thanks,
        John

  14. Thank you so much Hannah. You made my day I was so sad when the tip broke off, but the spike is only about 3 inches tall so I think there is hope for it.
    I am enjoying learning about orchids. A Vietnamese friend gave me my first one several years ago and now I am addicted. I got on the Internet and read up on everything concerning orchids. I really appreciate your blog. I will keep you posted on the progress of my poor broken Phael.
    Thank you for the prompt reply and the cheer you brought me today.

  15. I broke a tip of a new spike off while clipping it to the stake. Will it still keep growing and produce a bud

    • Ada,

      I am so sorry!! I just did this to a fully grown spike – I was beyond frustrated!!!

      What I have found is, that if the spike is very small then the orchid tends to shoot up a new one. In the case of the larger spike (mine) it produced a smaller spike off the existing top node.

      In the smaller spike case it doesn’t seem to affect the final outcome very much. I have never (until now) broken off the the tip of a very large spike.

      I will have to see if the final blooms look as glorious as they did last year once it blooms.

      Again I am so sorry – most orchids do have the energy to recover though.

      Hope that helps,

      Hannah

      • I am so excited Hannah. My poor broken spike is now growing a new one, maybe a little smaller, but it is growing nicely. I have 4 orchids that were all given to me as gifts and they are all growing spikes. the one is loaded with buds. What a nice Christmas gift.
        Merry Christmas to you and your family of orchids

        Ada Burkhart

      • Ada,

        Yay!!! Mine did the same thing! I knocked the tip of the spike off when I was watering one of mine (I was so upset)…then it produced another spike from the node right below where I knocked it off.

        Happy Holidays and congrats,

        Hannah

  16. Thank you for your helpful advice. When I put my stakes into the pot, how can I make sure that i will not damage the roots ?

  17. Hi,thanks for all of your info. I am new to orchid growing, and so far I’ve had good luck with the help of your information. Can you tell me why one of the leaves on a moth orchid that I have had for over a year is split? It was blooming when I received it, and it has rebloomed with the split leaf. I would appreciate any input.

    • Jennie,

      Thank you:)

      Some of my orchids have split leaves. They were either damaged before I got them or split from an already small tear.

      They just keep growing with these splits and it does not effect any other growth. It’s slightly ugly but it will have no effect on anything ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hannah

  18. hi, thanks for this advice. I recently brought an orchid (before the best one i have now), from a local florists shop. I was appalled that a florist couldn’t even stake an orchid properly!.It was wrapped in a fancy bag so I couldn’t see it too well but when I got it home the florist had staked the plant through two of the leaves, so there was just a mess of torn leaves, and because of this the plant, (which had also been badly over watered)was just a smelly rotten fungus mess. I tried to re-pot and save but to no avail. Gutted!. that was a birthday present!. maybe the florist should read your blog, she might actually keep an orchid alive.
    I took it back, had an argument, got my money back, and brought the one i have now, which is doing brill.I only use your blog for orchid care.I’m a beginner here, but even I know you don’t stake an orchid through the leaves.

    • That’s stinks! At least you got your money back! Thanks for the feedback:) I have been growing orchids for a few years now and by no means am an expert but I put all the helpful information I received from expert growers on here!

      I took down the monthly tips because I am going to add one whole comprehensive list next month! I will keep you posted:)

      Hannah

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