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It’s a common misconception that orchid plants are of no use after they have bloomed, and the flowers fall off. However, you can care for an orchid plant in such a way that it blooms once more with its mesmerizing beauty.
The flowers on an orchid plant may stay beautiful for weeks, and sometimes months, but they will eventually die out. Don’t worry, we have some easy tips to help you care for your orchid plant after flowering so that it starts blooming again.
Let’s look at how orchids flower and what steps you need to take to care for orchids after flowering.
Orchids Varieties That are Easy to Grow
If you think caring for an orchid can be a difficult task, then you should choose an orchid variety that you can easily care for. Some orchid varieties can be challenging for beginners, but some other varieties grow easily and without much maintenance.
The moth orchids (Phalaenopsis orchids) are one of the most popular orchid varieties that every beginner can easily look after. The other varieties of orchids that will thrive with less effort would be Lady Slipper (Paphiopedilum), Dendrobium, Lady of the Night (Brassavola), and Dancing Lady (Oncidium) or new hybrid varieties that flower frequently.
How Frequently Do Orchids Produce Flowers?
The first thing you should know about the blooming of orchids is how often you should expect the plant to produce flowers. A standard orchid, if you care for it properly, will produce flowers once every year. Orchids are not once-in-a-lifetime flower-producing plants, but if you provide the right care for the plant before and after flowering, they’ll continue to bloom year after year.
You could also grow orchids that belong to a new hybrid variety with the capacity to produce flowers almost continually.
Tips for the Production of Flowers
Being aware of the necessary orchid care before and after flowering is important. Here are some considerations you need to take into account so that you have your orchid plant well looked after.
Light, Temperature, and Humidity
Before flowering, your orchid needs the same care as other houseplants need. It grows best in indirect light, cool to warm temperatures, and moderate humidity around the room.
The secret to making the orchids bloom is to provide a change in temperature for their seasonal cycle to boost up. There should be a difference of at least 10 degrees between day and night temperatures, while the actually suitable temperatures may vary for every variety of orchids.
How can you provide the change in temperature to stimulate your orchids to bloom? For example, the Dancing lady orchids bloom to their fullest if the temperature drops to 60 F at night from 80 F during the day. Moving your orchid to a location where nighttime temperatures range between 55- and 65 degrees F during the night will help with orchid flowering.
Water, Soil, and Root Growth
The watering and the soil need of orchids are a bit different from the other common houseplants.
Orchid roots grow when exposed to the air as the plant grows best without soil. Orchids belong to the epiphytes class of plants, also known as air plants. Epiphytes grow upon other plants or objects as they need that physical support to grow, however, they are not harmful or parasitic.
The orchid plant may die out if you put it in ordinary potting soil. The potting soil for orchids should have a lot of air space for the roots to breathe, it is a good idea to add shredded bark, perlite, sphagnum moss, and other similar high-draining materials. Remember to give a good soaking to the dry medium and then leave it to dry out.
A good thing about orchids is that you do not need to add fertilizers to orchids for better growth. Many houseplant owners habitually give fertilizers to all their plants. But orchids are different where their roots absorb no nutrients, so adding fertilizer is not going to help the orchids to flower more.
How Long Does the Orchid Plant Stay in Bloom
You might feel that the orchids don’t return the amount of love and care you give them. The lifespan of flowers depends on the variety and how much you take care of the plant. Flowers on some orchids die out in just 2 or 3 weeks, but some are strong enough to keep the flowers alive for 3 months, or more.
Beginners may find it easy to grow the popular moth varieties of orchids. With the moth orchids, although the flowers don’t last long, the plant produces flowers on the same flower spike again and again. Dedrobium orchid, on the other hand, produces flowers that stay alive for several months.
How to Care for Orchids After They Bloom
Now that you know about the flowering cycle of orchids, let’s have a look at what is required for orchid care after flowering.
With new orchid plants, one common worry is that the flowers start to fall off. This may be because they have completed their time of blooming. You don’t exactly know when the flowers bloomed, so don’t worry if they die out a day or two after you get the new plant. Continue to provide the after-flowering care and you will soon have new blooms.
Remember that orchid flowers have their own lifespan, and they have to die after completing that life.
Pay extra attention to the flower spike of your orchid. There are several things that possibly could happen with the flower spike after flowering. The difference is with the flower spike, where at times it may have the stamina to bloom other flowers or it may die out. The flower-bearing stems stay green and healthy without rotting or drying. But if the stem becomes soft or turns brown, they always trim it off. This way, the plant could focus its energies on the roots.
Sometimes, new flower spikes may start growing from one of the nodes on the flower spike. At times, new branches may start growing from the previous stem. Slightly pruning the flower spike may even speed up this process. This way you could even get flowers without waiting for another year.
Some species of orchids bloom flowers from the old flower stem, but some need a new stem each time.
So, here are 3 things you can do after all the flowers fall off an orchid plant.
1. Cut off the entire spike
If the whole of the flower spike turns brown and starts to dry out, then it is good to cut it off. With a pair of sharp scissors, snip the entire spike off from its bottom, as close to the plant as possible, but carefully, without damaging the leaves. If you do this, the plant starts to grow new leaves and more roots.
2. Don’t do anything – Give your orchid some time
The second option is to leave the plant as it is and not do anything about it. The flower spike may have more buds at the tip, but the flowers it will bloom will be smaller in size and the stem will grow longer. Although this is not the best thing to do, it is an option to consider.
3. Trim the spikes and stem
Another option is to cut the bloom spike not from its bottom, but above a node on the spike. The flower spike has noticeable nodes every few inches. Don’t cut very near the node but leave one or two nodes below the point where the last flower bloomed.
Following the above steps will help your orchid plant flower again but remember these are all things each plant is different so don’t worry if your plant doesn’t follow the same pattern.
What to Do after Cutting Off the Orchid Spike
Once you have the orchid flower spike cut, the next thing is to properly care for the orchid plant, so that it starts to bloom again as soon as possible. When the orchid flowers wilt off, it indicates that it is starting to store energy for the next flowering season, so it’s time the plant needs appropriate care.
Grow the orchid plant at a place where it receives bright, but indirect sunlight. It should also have air circulation, consistent moisture, and a temperature of about 75 F or 23 C during the daytime which may fall to 65 F or 18 C during the night.
Orchids like to grow in cramped containers. Remember to change the soil of an orchid plant when it starts to break down and mix bark, sphagnum moss, coconut fiber, and perlite in the potting mix.
Repot the plant carefully, as damaging the roots could kill the plant. You may need to repot the orchid plant after the blooming season, and water it with gaps to make the soil a bit dry, but never let it dry completely.
Hope the care instructions here have given you an idea of how to care for your orchid after flowering. Remember to pay attention to how the spike of your orchid behaves after flowering as this indicates what steps need to be taken.
Once your orchid flowers die, don’t give up hope as you know now with enough care your orchid will be ready for the next flowering season. Your love and attention may mean that you will see the plant blooming again soon!