A happy orchid blooms at least once a year. But what happens to this indoor plant once the flowers fall off? Will it grow back and bloom again? What can you do to get orchids to produce flowers multiple times in the same season?
Cut off the spent flower spike and place your orchid in a spot with bright indirect sunlight to get it to grow back and rebloom. Feed the plant with a phosphorus fertilizer and water it once a week while maintaining indoor temperature at 65-75 °F to encourage orchids to produce flowers again.
Do Orchids Grow Back Each Year?
The type of orchid will determine if it will grow back each year. Since they are perennial plants, orchids don’t die after flowering. Most orchids bloom once a year but some varieties can bloom twice or even more times.
Even though orchids are resilient to different growing conditions, provide them with the seasonal changes and conditions they prefer for them to grow back year after year.
Do Orchids Bloom Again After Flowers Fall Off?
Orchids bloom again after the flowers fall. Once an orchid finishes blooming, the old flowers fall off leaving bare spikes in their place. To make the plant bloom again faster, cut off the old flower spike so that the plant can put more energy into new leaves and roots.
You would want to cut off the old stem at the base of the plant as if you’re pruning it because leaving it intact can make the plant ugly as the stems eventually turn yellow and brown. Soon enough, it will produce a new set of blooms.
What to Do with An Orchid After the Flowers Fall Off?
As long as the spikes remain green, it has the potential of producing more flowers. The following are some of the things you can implement.
Remove the Flower Spikes
Use a sterile razor blade and cut the flower spikes, and dispose it after use. Alternatively, you can use alcohol to disinfect the cutting tool. To prevent fungal diseases from fungal diseases, apply fungicide to the places that you’ve cut.
You can also sprinkle cinnamon on the pruning wounds to ensure the surfaces you’ve cut are entirely covered.
Repot the plant
Once the roots start growing over the pots, you have to repot them. Do this once the orchids stop flowering, as it’s the perfect chance to move it from their old pot to a new pot.
When replanting, use a bark-based potting mix that is created explicitly for the orchids. Gently lift the plant when repotting to avoid it from breaking.
Watering and fertilizing
When orchids stop flowering, they rest before resuming flower production. Orchids with fleshy stems like Cattleya and Ondicium require less water. During the post-flowering rest period, reduce the amount of watering.
Orchids with less fleshy stems like Vanda and Phalaenopsis require more water to help them in thriving. Reduce the amount of fertilizer until the emergence of the new leaves. Lastly, always strive to use a water-soluble orchid fertilizer.
How to Get an Orchid to Rebloom
The best part of growing orchids as indoor plants is that they can grow back and rebloom after the flower wilts and falls off. However, an orchid can fail to rebloom because of insufficient light or troubled roots resulting from overwatering and underwatering.
Here’s how to get an orchid to grow back and rebloom after flowers fall off:
1. Check the spikes and treat diseases
The first thing you want to do to get an orchid to rebloom is to check the spikes and make sure they are healthy. Healthy spikes are green, thick, and firm when you hold them. If the spike is brown or yellow, it won’t produce any new buds. Let alone flowers. Short weak or thin spikes result from too much light, inadequate light, or nutrient deficiency.
Treat the orchid diseases to make it grow new flowers soon enough. In addition, if you think the plant is suffering from a virus or other disease, isolate it from the rest to prevent the sickness from spreading.
2. Provide the orchid with bright indirect light
Orchids don’t like too much light as it scorches their leaves. They want just enough light to cast away a shadow. Dark green leaves are an indication that the plant isn’t getting enough light. Medium and light green leaves are a good sign the orchid is receiving enough light.
Orchids are good east-facing window plants. Place your orchid in a spot where it can get direct sunlight in the morning. A place near a window can be ideal because indirect late afternoon sun can help the plant rebloom sooner.
The right amount of light will give it the needed energy to form a new bud with lots of flower spikes. If you suspect the light is too much, add a sheer to your window. If the light is insufficient, you can add artificial lighting to supplement the lightning.
3. Cut off the spent flower spike
After the flowers of an orchid fall off, they leave you with a flower spike where most flowers have dropped. Most orchids bloom once from the same stalk. To encourage new growth, you need to do the cutting.
Don’t cut the spike to the base. Instead, cut it off just above the node (visible joint). The process will stimulate the production of new flower stem after a few months.
However, if no-shoot appears, or the original stem becomes straw-colored, cut it at the base. The plants will produce a new flower spike after a while.
4. Water orchids 1-2 times a week
Orchids will easily bloom again when irrigated at least once every week. However, how often you water your orchids depends on the weather and humidity conditions.
- During warm weather, water orchids 2 times a week
- During cold weather (winter), water the plant once a week
Do not to overwater your orchids as this can cause wrinkled leaves and flowers, root rot, and general ill health.
5. Maintain a warm environment
Orchids can be cool growers, warm growers, or intermediate growers. Some varieties like cymbidiums prefer a drop in temperature to facilitate blooming.
To get orchids to grow back and bloom again, keep your indoor temperature between 65°F and 75°F Colder temperatures are better for some varieties to bloom quickly after the flowers fall off.
You can meet the need of warm and intermediate growers in a typical home environment. However, it can be difficult to get cool growers to rebloom, as it can be challenging to get your home to meet the low temperatures.
6. Apply a phosphorus fertilizer
Feed your orchid with a fertilizer with high phosphorous content to boost growth and promote flowering.
- Stop fertilizing just when the buds begin to grow to help in protecting them as they are the most fragile part of the plant.
- Don’t fertilize on the days when the plant is dormant (no flowering or growth of new leaves or roots occurring).
- Always wait for new growth before fertilizing.
How Long Does It Take for An Orchid Spike to Grow?
Once you see the buds, an orchid can take between a month to 1 year for a new flower spike to grow. Their growth is relatively slow but varieties take between 1 to 3months to open flowers. Some special orchids may take longer to grow a new spike after blooming.
The rate of the spike development depends on the temperature and light. Increased lighting will facilitate photosynthesis, which helps in generating energy for an orchid to grow a new flower spike.
High temperatures accelerate the plant’s metabolic rate resulting in increased rate of spike development.
Understand Your Orchids
When you know your orchid, you will have a glimpse of when it’s ready to produce flowers. A variety like Phalaenopsis takes one, two, or several months to rebloom. Other types bloom annually.
Since orchids have four growth stages (leaf growth, flowering, root growth, and dormancy) understanding all these stages will ensure you correctly take care of the plant to help it grow back and bloom multiple times in a season.
Orchids grows back and rebloom after the flowers fall off. All you have to do is to take care of them appropriately for them to rebloom year after year. With some experimentation here and there, you will get the hang of it.