You’ve probably seen orchids in lots of different shapes, sizes, and colors. They often look like delicate butterflies or spindly spiders. Once the blooms are done, though, they fall off and you’re left staring at a bare stem. Is there anything you can do to get the orchid to bloom again? Do orchid flowers grow back?
Yes. Given some time and the right growing conditions, the orchid flowers will grow again. So, don’t get discouraged if your flowers fade. Using a few simple strategies, you can encourage your orchids to flower again. They should grow back in a few month’s time. But when the growing conditions and environment is right, you’ll be able to enjoy them for years to come.
What to do when the orchids flowers fall off.
After you’ve enjoyed the flowers produced by your orchid plant, they will eventually fall off. After they have fallen, you’ll have a spike left. It’s tempting to cut it down to its base, but don’t do it. You do need to cut it but cut the stem off just above a visible node or joint. This will help stimulate the stem to grow another flower over the next few months. For stems that do not produce a new shoot, or start turning brown or straw-colored, remove it just above the base. The plant will continue to grow new flower spikes.
How to Know When to Cut Flower Spikes
Butterfly or moth orchids are also called Phalaenopsis orchids. These plants produce plenty of flowers, all on long, arching spikes. The Phalaenopsis is the only orchid variety that sets flower buds on old spikes. As long as the stem stays green, it is able to produce more flowers. Some prefer to leave the entire stem in place. Others, prefer to cut it down leaving just one or two nodes at the bottom. Use a sterile razor blade to cut the bloom spikes to the desired length. If your plant is not a Phalaenopsis orchid, it will not produce another flower from the same spike. These spikes can be cut down to the base once their flowers fall.
What do I do after I trim the spikes?
Once the flowers fall off, cut the spike with a sterile razor blade. You can either discard it after use. Or you can disinfect it with alcohol or a flame. Orchids are susceptible to fungal diseases so you will want to use a fungicide on the cut surface of the spikes. Just be careful to make sure it doesn’t get on the orchid roots.
Caring for Your Orchid
Orchids are a common houseplant, but they need specific growing conditions. They do take a little more care than most other types of houseplants. Here are some tips for orchid care to help create an environment that encourages them to grow and produce more flowers.
Lighting for Orchids
- Orchids need the right amount of exposure to sunlight to encourage growth. Unlike many houseplants, they need to be placed in indirect light to bloom.
- Ideally, placing your orchid by an east or west facing window. You can also use fluorescent lighting if you don’t have windows facing the right directions.
- The plant will let you know if it is getting too much light by developing black tips on the green leaves. If this occurs, move it to an area where it will get less direct sunlight.
Creating the Perfect Environment for Orchids
- Orchids grow best in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Most varieties can handle nighttime temps down to 60 degrees and daytime temps up to 85 degrees.
- Place your plant in an area without drafts or extreme temperature changes. Of course, it should be kept indoors.
- Place your orchid far away from any ripening fruits. When fruits ripen, they give off a gas that is harmful to the delicate orchid.
Watering Your Plant
- Orchids usually only need to be watered every week or two. Check the soil. If it feels dry, it needs water.
- The best way to water the plant is to remove it from its container and place it in a plastic grower’s pot. Then, let tap water run slowly over the plant for 10 to 15 seconds. Avoid getting the crown and leaves wet. Let the plant drip-dry for five to 10 minutes before placing it back in its pot. This keeps it from sitting in water.
- Another way to water an orchid is to use ice cubes.
Repotting Your Orchid
Orchids will eventually outgrow their containers. When the roots cannot get enough ventilation, it is time to repot the plant. If you notice the roots turning brown, or trying to creep out of the container, it is time to repot your plant.
How to Encourage Orchid Flowers to Grow Back
It’s normal for an orchid to stop blooming and enter a stage of dormancy. The plant is not dead, it’s just resting. This stage gives the plant time to replace nutrients that were used up during the blooming stage. The dormant stage can last from six to nine months. Then, the plant will have the energy to bloom again. It will need some TLC to help the flowers grow back. Here are three ways to help your orchid rebloom.
- Fertilize the plant once you notice it goes into its dormant stage. Most of the time you can use a 20-20-20 houseplant fertilizer weekly or monthly.
- Move the plant to an area that is a bit cooler. Keep the temperature between 55 and 65 degrees (F). Remember to keep the plant in indirect sunlight. You should keep it in this area until it produces a new flower spike.
- After you see the new flower spike emerge, let it grow for a couple of months. Once it reaches about 5-inches, support the spike using a tie and a stake. If you notice a couple of months pass without a new bloom, move the plant to another area. It needs the right temperature and indirect sunlight to bloom.
After the plant reblooms, continue to water and care for it. The bloom should last from 30 to 45 days.
So, you see a well-cared-for orchid plant should have plenty of flowers for you to enjoy over the years. It just needs the right environment and a lot of tender loving care. Given those things, you should be able to enjoy this delicate and beautiful plant for a long time to come.