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Orchid Care: What to Do with Your Orchid After the Flowers Fall Off?

Orchid Care Orchid Obsession

When it comes to orchid plants, it’s usually the exquisite flowers and buds that simply takes us away. They indulge us with their beauty for weeks, sometimes months. But what should you do after the last flowers fall off from your orchid plant? Don't throw it away just yet. Here's how to properly take care of your orchids after they bloom.

Cut the spike.

A typical orchid plant can bloom again and again as long as it has healthy flower spikes to bear it. An orchid spike is the long stalky part of the plant where the leaves and the flowers are attached to. Learn more about different orchid parts here.

Check if the stem is still green and plump. On the contrary, if you see that your spike has become yellow, brown, and withered, this means it’s time to give it a trim. Because of this, you are saving your orchid plant from wasting energy and nutrients and instead encouraging it to focus on thriving and blooming faster eventually.

When cutting an orchid spike, use a clean and sharp blade, preferably sterilized by alcohol or hot water previously. Make sure it’s free of rust or you’ll risk infecting your orchid plant. Create a clean cut on the nearest node where the first flower appeared. A new shoot should surprise you within 8 to 12 weeks.

What If I don't cut the orchid spike?

While other orchid lovers may argue that it will still bloom even if you leave the plant be, the American Orchid Society says that only Phalaenopsis orchids can bloom from the same inflorescence, albeit smaller and fewer. The reason is that blooming from the same spike twice can be exhausting and harmful for your orchid plant.

Post-bloom orchid care

Post-bloom orchid care shouldn't be a big of a deal. It's no different from how you should maintain and look after your orchid plant all the time. This includes:

  • Water copiously whenever the potting material is dry.
  • Give it ample amount of bright, indirect light.
  • Fertilize weakly, weekly with a high-quality urea-free orchid fertilizer after watering sessions. 

Some types of orchids will go through a dormancy period and may take time before they bloom again. Dendrobium orchids, Cymbidium orchids, Catasetums, Clowesias, Habenaria, and their hybrids reportedly go through a regular period of dormancy during winter or when temperatures start to drop. On the other hand, Phalaenopsis and Lady slipper orchids do not. They may just take a breather. 

If this happens, it's just normal. There's no need to freak out. Give it time and some tender, loving care and you'll see it will bloom again. 

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