What To Do With Orchids After Blooming: 3 Easy Options

Orchids are beautiful and fussy plants, and it can be difficult to know exactly what you need to do with them, especially once they have stopped flowering.

It doesn’t mean the plant is on its way out, and you actually have several options when it comes to what you should do next.

It’s also not a complicated process to encourage your plant to bloom a second time, but you may need a little patience.

Let’s take a look.

How Long Can Orchids Bloom For?

How long an orchid can be in flower depends on the species of the orchid and the individual plant itself. 

Generally, moth orchids (also known as Phalaenopsis orchids, tend to be the most common, and the ones you’ll find in a grocery store) will grow a single flower spike in a year.

This doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider that flowers can appear and stay open for nearly half a year, this is a good deal for a houseplant.

Once all the orchid blooms have dropped from the plant, you have three choices in how to encourage another spike. 

Keep in mind that this is not an instantaneous process, and it will be a while before your orchid decides to put on a stunning show again. After all, flowering takes up a lot of energy.

What You Should Do When Your Orchid Stops Flowering

It’s important to know that while orchid flowers dropping from your plant can be a sign of your orchid being unwell (see also Things You Should Know About Dying Orchid Flowers), more than likely it is just your plant doing its thing as it should.

No flower lasts forever, and it’s a good thing, as flowers take up a lot of energy!

Keep in mind that when you buy an orchid, it tends to be in bloom so that you know what you’re getting (as well as being the main reason why you buy it), and you have no idea how long the plant has been flowering for.

Here’s what you can do after your orchid has finished putting on its magical display, and you are left with a bare flower stalk.

Cut Back The Flowering Stems To A Node After The Flowers Have Finished

The first option you have is to take some scissors or secateurs and cut back the flowering spike to a node on the stem. 

This method can extend the blooming window, meaning that you don’t have to wait a year for a new display of flowers, but it’s far from a guarantee.

You can recognize a node without any problems, as they look like raised bumps with a triangular part on the top.

You’ll want to take the stalk back to one or two nodes below the bottom-most bloom. Cut just above it.

The orchid could produce brand-new flower spikes at these nodes pretty quickly, but it can take much longer. 

Cut The Entire Flower Stem Off The Plant

This method is best saved for when the flowering spike has finished. This is when it starts to wither and turn brown. 

There’s no point keeping a stem like this, as there won’t be any more flowers to be had on it. It won’t grow a single thing, and it’s not worth keeping it on the plant.

When you do cut it, cut it as close to the base of the plant as possible without catching any of the leaves.

Make sure that the scissors or whatever you’re cutting the stem with are sharp and clean. Otherwise, this can cause problems later.

After some time, you should see new growth at the roots, and hopefully a brand-new leaf. 

Leave The Stem Alone

Option three is to do absolutely nothing, and leave the stem as it is. It’s possible that your orchid will continue to flower along this stem, after all.

But there are a few downsides to this option. The stem will elongate, making the plant look leggy and unhealthy, and the flowers that do appear eventually will be smaller than the original blooms.

How To Care For Orchids After They Have Finished Flowering

Once you’ve decided what to do with your orchid’s finished flower stem, it’s time to devote some attention to its care routine, resuming it as normal.

Some people like to move their plant elsewhere while it flowers so that they can appreciate the blooms as much as possible. 

Now that the flowers are done, you should put your orchid back in its usual place, if you had moved it.

In terms of light, moth orchids like morning sunlight, and a bright position otherwise. Both will invigorate the growth, and make sure the plant stays healthy.

If you like, you can move your orchid outdoors for the summer, but make sure that temperatures never drop below 50°F, even at night, and introduce the plant to somewhere shaded, so the sun cannot scorch the plant.

Keep watering your orchid on a regular basis, and don’t forget to feed it to give the plant the right nutrients.

Final Thoughts

It can be confusing to know what to do with orchids especially after they flower, but following one of the above options and then resuming its usual routine will help give the plant the energy it needs to rebloom when the time is right.

It may happen straight away, or it might not, but their unpredictability is one of the orchid’s charms.

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