What kind of orchid?

Asked January 12, 2016, 2:36 PM EST

I think that this is a common dendrobium orchid but I have never seen one with leaves growing from all of the stems. Have any of you?

Sarasota County Florida

5 Responses

This is a phalaenopsis orchid like the one in the pictures below. The other stems with the wilting leaves are curley willow branches stuck into the pot for effect. The moss on the branches is also just for effect and serves no other purpose. Finally the bow on the pot indicates that this may have been a gift and the nursery or florist added the willow branches and moss to "pretty up" the offering. Try pulling a stem (not the one with flowers) out of the potting medium and you will see that it has no roots and is not connected to the plant with the flowers. When all the willow leaves have died pull the stems out and enjoy your orchid. With proper care it will bloom annually at about this time of year.


Image result for phalaenopsis orchid

Phalaenopsis plant above and flower below. Does it look familiar?

Thank you for your response Tony. You are right and you are wrong. This phalaenopsis orchid did come from a florist and the moss and bow were added to "pretty it up" but the leaves are actually coming out of the orchid stems. There are no added willow stems to pull out. Some are dried out and have subsequently been clipped off but the leaves are definitely growing out of the stems. I received this plant for Mothers Day 2015. Many of the leaves have since dropped off and I now have a second blooming. I have been baffled by the leaves since May and an hoping for some good info on them. I am including a photo of the plant taken today today and a second close-up of the leaves.
one I sent was taken last spring.

Dear Anonymous

What you have is a pot with a phalaenopsis plant and a curly willow branch that has rooted in the same pot. If you are still not buying this analysis I invite you to take this to the florist that provided the plant to confirm it. The stems that dried out and were clipped off had not rooted as this stem did. I believe you will see that the flower stem has no leaves and the leaf stem has no flowers. They are two different plants. We raise orchids, have a curly willow tree growing in our back yard and my wife is a florist so we are very familiar with using these stems for arrangements and the appearance of each plant. The stems are usually used when dried out without leaves but your plant was obviously different which would be confusing. See the picture of a curly willow branch below.

Your orchid plant looks very healthy so you did find a good place for it. Be careful to not let water stand in the cup formed by the orchid leaves at their base as this will cause the plant to rot and die.

Curly Willow Branch


Boy was I fooled!! On even closer inspection I found that you are absolutely correct!! Thank you so much, Tony, for the enlightenment.

Dear Anonymous

You should be proud. A friend of ours has tried to root a curly willow from the branches many times with no success. You did it without even trying.

However remember the curly willow is a tree and will overwhelm your orchid in a few years. I would recommend that after the orchid is done blooming you separate the two plants and repot both of them. The tree can be repotted in potting soil or in your yard. It is hardy in growing zones 4 through 8 so depending where you are in Florida it may not like the high summer temperatures. But try it anyways. Here is a link to more info. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-curly-willow-tree-48193.html

To repot the orchid you can watch the video on this link. http://repotme.com/orchid-care-videos/index.html There is a lot of advertising on this website for their products but you can use almost any potting medium that is sold in stores like Lowes; no need to order it from them. I recommend the site because it is a great source of information for growing orchids.

It has been nice working with you on this problem. Thank you for using Ask an Expert.