Orchids After Blooming: Learn About Orchid Care After Blooms Drop

Knowing how to support orchids after blooming increases your chances of sustained ornamental displays. Here’s how to give the best orchid care after blooms die

orchids in containers after blooms have died
(Image credit: Stanislav Sablin / Getty Images)

We love our orchids and cherish their delicate flowers, but many of us struggle with orchid care after blooms die. Despite their reputation among the most difficult to care for plants, orchids will grow well indoors. However, continued care for the plant can sometimes be tricky. 

This is especially true for gardeners who hope to encourage repeat-bloom. In most instances, subtle variations in growing conditions are the likely culprit when it comes to failure to flower. Learning more about each species’ specific needs can help growers to inspire budding and keep the plants looking their best. Here’s what to do when orchids lose flowers.

Best Orchid Care After Blooms Drop Off

  • Watering & Feeding: Continued orchid care after blooms drop is essential to repeat flowering. Consistent moisture is best throughout periods of active growth, with gardeners making certain that the plant’s medium is not allowed to dry completely. In terms of orchid watering requirements, water from below, with the use of shallow trays or saucers. Plants will also appreciate routine fertilization, and will benefit greatly from feeds specifically formulated for use with orchids.
  • Container & Compost Care: Established plants may need extra attention in terms of repotting. This can occur when the orchid has outgrown its containers or when roots have become prominent outside of the pot. The presence of surface roots are not a cause for concern, as they are a natural aspect of growth for many species. Still, moving crowded specimens can be helpful in refreshing growing orchid planting mediums and promoting new growth.
  • Temperature Control: Orchid care, after blooms die, will require continued regard to temperature. Seasonal variations in temperature will play a key role in the development of orchid flowers. To encourage buds indoors, natural conditions for growth must be simulated. Experienced growers note that decreasing room temperatures for several weeks may aid in this. Ideal temperatures to trigger flower production are said to range between 55-65°F (13-18°C).
  • Humidity & Airflow: Proper humidity is a key component in overall orchid health. Moisture levels can be maintained in a variety of ways. While many gardeners choose to mist their plants frequently, others have found success with the use of small greenhouses or humidity domes. Placing potted plants atop small trays filled with pebbles and clean water has been found to be useful.

orchid moth phalaenopsis in bloom

(Image credit: Mochamad Saiful Umam / Alamy)

Stem Removal & Deadheading

As orchid flowers age, most will drop from the plant on their own. Once the orchid dropping blooms has ceased to do so, growers should proceed with caution. Though some species will produce new spikes each bloom cycle, others will rebloom on the current stem. Removal or improper pruning of these types is likely to result in the loss of flowers. 

Orchid flower stems may still produce flowers if they are still green. A Phalaenopsis orchid that has finished flowering has the potential to produce another bloom or two, if the stem is healthy and green. If the stem is brown or has begun to soften, cut it off with a sterile instrument to the base. This redirects the plant's energy to the roots. Stems that are healthy on Phalaneopsis orchids after blooming can be cut back to the second or third node. These might produce a bloom from the growth node.

Dormancy & Disease Checks

It is easy to understand why growers may be alarmed when orchid blooms fall off. Checking for disease at this time can help to calm nerves and assure growers that their plants are healthy. In most instances, loss of flowers will mark a beginning period of much-needed dormancy and rest. 

Cycles of dormancy vary between species, most commonly lasting between several weeks and months. Though growth has slowed during these times, plants will require consistent warmth and care. Some orchids require a dormant period to form buds, such as Dendrobiums, which need six-eight weeks with minimal water. Cattleya requires cool nights with temperatures of 45°F (7°C) but warm days to form buds. Let the soil dry slightly between waterings, but never allow orchids to completely dry out.

orchid dendrobium in bloom

(Image credit: Yongkiet Jitwattanatam / Alamy)

How to Encourage a Second Flush of Flowers

The ultimate goal with orchid care after blooms die is to encourage plants to flower again, and again. You should be able to make orchids bloom again, provided that their required cultural conditions have been met. This includes each species' need for light, temperature, and even dormancy. Some types are much more likely to impress growers with repeated displays. Continuous blooming orchids, or those with especially long sequential bloom periods, are most notable.

Caring for orchids after they bloom may mean repotting. Orchids like to be in cramped quarters and only need soil changed when it begins to break down. When repotting orchids, use a good orchid mix with bark, coconut fiber, sphagnum moss and perlite. Be gentle, as damage to roots can be fatal and marring flower shoots can prevent bloom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Orchids Bloom All Year Long?

With proper care for orchids after blooming, most plants should be able to continue flowering. Those growing plants with especially long bloom cycles may be able to extend this period, provided that conditions are ideal. Still, most orchids will require rest in the form of either part or full dormancy in order to thrive.

Should Orchid Stems Be Cut After Blooming?

Determining whether or not orchid stems should be cut after blooming will depend upon the species. While some types will produce new flower stalks, others rebloom only from established stems. Though repeat blooming stems can be trimmed back to the nearest bud, healthy spikes should not be removed from the plant.

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has trasformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/@tonyawiththeflowers.

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