Orchids are beautiful plants to give as a gift or even buy for one’s own home. These elegant flowers can last for a month or more before the bloom dies off. Unfortunately, many people find that their orchid does not ever bloom again. This can be very disappointing for those who really enjoy the lovely flower.
Fortunately, there are methods available to help get that orchid to bloom again. It takes a little effort and patience, but with a little practice, those beautiful gifts can continue to brighten the home again and again.
Type of Orchid
There are many types of orchids that require their own specific care to bloom properly. Fortunately, most orchids bought are known as moth orchids or Phalaenopsis. Knowing this can assist in providing the right orchid care to ensure it blooms again.
The moth orchid blooms once or twice a year with the proper care. With the right amount of water and sunlight, these blooms can last two to three months. Once the bloom dies away, steps must be taken to prepare the flower so that it will provide new blooms in a few months.
Cutting the Spike
When the last flower on the moth orchid fades away, it is important to cut off the spike. The spike is the stem where the flowers grew from. Some people leave the spike, but when the flowers rebloom, they become smaller and smaller. Cutting off the spike allows a new spike to grow for better blooms.
It is recommended that the spike is cut off at the base of the plant. Some people prefer to leave a node or two. The nodes are the little brown lines on the stem below the flowering area. Leaving the nodes can initiate the flowers to bloom a little quicker than removing the entire spike.
Replant the Orchid
It is strongly recommended that the orchid be replanted after the blooms die off. The biggest reason for the replant is that often orchids are considered throwaway plants after they bloom. Due to this fact, the florist may fill the pot with pebbles and reindeer moss but no drainage.
To re-pot the orchid, gently remove it from the pot and shake off the old bark. Any dead roots should be cut off with a sterile razor or scissors. Do not replant in a larger pot. Orchids prefer their roots crowded in a smaller place.
The orchid should be planted in soil that is fast draining. Bark-based soil drains well but can break down quickly. It also does not retain moisture well so watering more often may be necessary. Peat-based soil retains moisture, so careful watering is important.
A month’s worth of temperature drops will help to trigger the plant to bloom again. This makes it important to place the orchid in a room or area that will have a temperature drop of at least ten degrees between day and night.
Placing the orchid in a room at about 68 degrees, near a drafty window in the winter, is the ideal area to help trigger its growing season. However, it is important to ensure that the orchid gets the right amount of sunlight. They prefer bright, indirect light throughout the day.
Water the Orchid
Orchids need a proper moisture balance to stay healthy and have the potential to rebloom. Orchids need moisture but will not handle overwatering very well. If using bark-based soil, watering may be necessary every 4-5 days. For peat-based soil, once a week is usually sufficient.
The best way to tell if the orchid has enough water is to gently push on the soil with a few fingers. When removed, if there is moisture on the fingers, do not water. If there is no moisture, provide a nice amount of water over the soil.
If the home is in a dry climate or the air conditioning keeps the home a little too dry, it may be necessary to mist the orchid daily. Using a spray bottle, simply spritz a little water over the orchid to keep it from drying out. If the home has a humidity above 40-60& misting is not necessary.
Feed the Orchid
Orchids also need to be fed regularly. The right fertilizer is necessary to ensure the plant has the nutrients it needs to remain healthy and potentially rebloom. This fertilizer should contain little to no urea. A 20-20-20 fertilizer should work perfectly for the orchid.
This fertilizer can be given to the orchid once a month. However, some experts recommend using a quarter of the monthly amount and applying it weekly. Never apply the fertilizer to a dry orchid, it could damage the roots. Adding fertilizer after watering is the best method for this process.
The orchid does need a lot of sunlight. However, direct sunlight for long periods throughout the day will damage the plant. Avoid west-facing windows to prevent too much sunlight. Indirect sunlight is the best option for the flower. North facing windows will not provide enough sunlight for the orchid.
It is best to choose a window that is east or south facing to provide the best lighting. If using a grow light, be sure to turn off the light at night to simulate the day to night change. This natural process is what triggers the orchid to grow in its proper seasons.
Other Tips to Remember
Air circulation is also important for an orchid. The circulation helps to maintain proper humidity around the plant. It can also prevent mold or rot from occurring due to too much moisture. It is even acceptable to take the orchid outside on nice days to enjoy the air circulation. Just keep the plant from being in the direct sun for too long.
It is also important to inspect the flower for bugs or diseases regularly. The dampness of the plant can attract all sorts of unwanted issues. There are a variety of products available to help kill various types of fungi or bacteria that can invade the plant.
In six to nine months, the orchid should bloom again. However, there are a variety of reasons that can prevent this from happening, including the wrong season. Adjusting the light, temperature, and even water can help prompt the flower to bloom again. With a little patience, the orchid should continue to bloom year after year.