You’d expect orchids that look unhealthy not to bloom, but when there aren’t signs like wrinkled leaves, happy orchids should bloom at least once every year. What if your orchid is not flowering yet it looks healthy and happy; what could be the problem? How can you make it bloom sooner?
Orchids bloom at least once a year but some varieties, such as the Vanda orchid bloom 2-3 times a year, with the flowers lasting up to 6 weeks. You can make your orchids bloom again by feeding them with a 20-20-20 NPK fertilizer, watering them 1-2 times per week, and providing bright indirect light.
An orchid that’s not blooming is a sign something isn’t right with the care the plant is getting. On this page, I’ve discussed some of the reasons why orchids may not bloom and explained how to help the plant produce flowers again.
When do orchids bloom?
Some varieties of orchids can bloom up to 3 times per year.
Most orchids bloom naturally when the weather calms during winter or spring. Blooming occurs just after their best growing time, which is summer. For instance, Phalaenopsis blooms in late winter and throughout the spring.
Do orchids bloom more than once?
Some orchids bloom more than once. Though most of them bloom once every year. In most cases, the orchids bloom twice or more yearly if provided with appropriate conditions to trigger flowering. Some of these conditions are listed below:
- Enough amount of light – most orchid species require 12 to 14 hours of light to be happy. Such varieties include cattleya and Dendrobium orchids. Artificial provision of this vital requirement to your orchids activates them to bloom more than once a year.
- Cooler temperatures – Introducing orchids to colder temperatures at night triggers blooming. According to The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, a temperature drop of at least 10 degrees at night is critical for rebloom in indoor orchids, as it triggers their seasonal cues for flowering. For outdoor orchids, the temperature drop occurs naturally.
Also, if you purchase an orchid that is in bloom when buying, reblooming is almost guaranteed if you provide the right care requirements for the plant.
How many times do orchids bloom?
Most orchids grow back and bloom one to two times a year. Since orchids are perennials, they stay vegetative for many years, as others shed theirs annually. After the falling off of flowers, the plant remains dormant until the next re-bloom.
Dormancy is the stage where the plants rest for some time as they regain the energy spent during the last blooming.
Re-blooming of orchid plants takes place over a period of six to nine months.
How do you get orchids to bloom again?
As I’ve explained above, orchids stop blooming when they enter the dormancy stage. In this stage, you might think the plant is dead and will not bloom again, but that is not the case.
While they can replace the nutrients on their way to blooming, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to help the plants thrive again.
Here’s what you can do to make orchids flower again:
- Add a moderate fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to speed up the flowering process.
- Transfer the orchid plants to a colder area with an approximate temperature of 55°F to 65 °F. Also, ensure that the area has indirect sunlight until the first flower spike arises.
- If these conditions are maintained, the orchids will continue to develop more spikes. When the spikes are about four to six, anchor the plants by holding them with a loose tie and a stake.
- Water your orchids 1-2 times a week while allowing the top two inches of soil to dry between waterings. Be careful not to overwater orchids, as soggy soil can cause root rot.
Apart from watering, care for the plants as you normally would so that they remain healthy all the time.
If you do all this, the plant’s bloom should last 30-45 days. If you are lucky, the plant may even bloom twice a year.
If your orchid does not bloom again after providing the required conditions, move it to a different location, preferably with relatively higher humidity.
How long do orchid flowers last?
Depending on the species of orchid, some orchid flowers bloom for seven days up to four months. Some orchids have long-lasting blooms. Such include moth orchids.
Others, such as the phalaenopsis orchid (a common type of orchid), bloom for 60 to 120 days. Another factor determining the flowering time is how well the plant is cared for.
What to do after blooms fall off
Continue watering the plant especially if its stems are still green. If the orchid stem is dying, cut the stem a few inches above the plant and proceed with the watering.
After some time, your orchid will produce a set of flower buds and go on to bloom again. Also, add some appropriate nutrients to quicken the blooming process. Providing plants with the necessary environmental conditions is also crucial at this stage.
Most orchids bloom once per year under the right growing conditions. However, some orchids can bloom twice or thrice yearly, resulting in a longer bloom period (up to 120 days for some varieties. You can stimulate orchids to rebloom by applying fertilizer, watering, and providing the proper lighting conditions.