KategoricalKarnivore wrote:Again, no experience here, but what do you mean it's hard to propagate because it dies off? Can you get more plants from the spike like cutting VFT spikes and planting?
Yes, but not as easily as a VFT spike. Those little lumps or seams every few inches on the spike are a bract covering a dormant bud. The bud is capable of becoming a flower, a branch, a clone of the plant. Sometimes it will happen spontaneously (or when the mother plant is in bad health) and the little plantlet is known as a keiki. You can buy a paste containing hormones called keiki paste to apply to those nodes to encourage a keiki to sprout but it's best done after it has finished flowering because that's when the plant's internal hormones are most cooperative. Keiki paste is the most common way of cloning an orchid.
You can also cut up the spike and grow them in sterile culture. I've tried in basic MS media, which isn't really what you're supposed to use, without any luck. I've also cut off the spike and just laid it on some live sphagnum moss and kept it very humid and gotten a few strikes. But I made the mistake of leaving them in that humidity too long and they rotted. I think water probably dripped into their crown which is always the easiest way to kill an adult.
I've also read that on a very mature phal that's getting very tall/long, you can cut off the stump below the leaves and the newest roots, but with a few roots attached and it can supposedly grow a new plant. I've never tried that one.
Since my spike on the one plant dies off so quickly, it has been hard to get a keiki from keiki paste. I tried last year and it just ended up growing new branches and flowered for the entire year instead