Nothing can match the exquisite and breathtaking beauty of Orchid Plants. Orchids are extremely easy-going and low-maintenance plants. That’s the reason why a lot of people prefer having them in their houses. What most people do not know about orchids is that their flowers do not last forever and wilt quickly. But what to do when you have orchids and they are no longer blooming? We will tell you how to care for orchids after blooming.
1. How Long Do Orchids Bloom?
Typically, orchids bloom once a year, but if they are in a great environment, they can bloom more than once in a year. They remain in bloom for 6 to 10 weeks, so if you are planning to buy an orchid, buy the one which hasn’t bloomed properly and still has buds. Also, avoid the orchid with yellow or dry leaves as it indicates that the orchid has been in bloom for quite some time and its flowers are about to fall off.
Phalaenopsis and Moth Orchids are types of orchids whose bloom can last up to 10 months, as they bloom 2-3 times a year after reaching maturity.
2. How to Care For Orchids After Blooming?
After the orchids have bloomed, you need to take extra care of them to encourage their rebloom. Following are some steps that can let you know more about orchid care after blooming.
2.1 Orchid Spike Care
After the flowers fall off the orchid, all there is left are its spikes. Spike care is a critical part of care for orchids after blooming as it prevents any infection to the whole plant. You have three options to treat the spike.
Option 1: Don’t Do Anything
You can leave the spike of Phalaenopsis orchid as it is. The orchid will show some bloom after a while, so there is no need to cut off the spike.
Option 2: Cut the Stem Above the Node
Before doing anything, you must know the type of spikes you are dealing with. Usually, an orchid is single-spiked or double-spiked. If a spike is healthy, it will be green and firm. Cutting the spike from its node can stimulate growth. Nodes are the triangular bumps at the top of spikes. In the Phalaenopsis orchid, cutting its spike from the tip will help a lot during the reblooming period. You just need to cut the spike one inch above the node with a clean and sterilized tool.
Option 3: Cut the Stem From the Base
If the spike has turned yellow or brown and is drying up, cut it from the base, as it won’t help in any growth and flowering. Cut the stem from the very base with a scissor after rubbing some alcohol on it.
2.2 Care for Orchids After Blooming
Most people assume that the orchids don’t need any watering after blooming, which is far from the truth. The dormancy period is normal for orchids, and it doesn’t mean that the plant is dead. It just means that the orchid is in a state of rest. When an orchid is dormant after blooming, you do not need to water it heavily. Stick to heavy misting after every 5-10 days, so the soil doesn’t become dry.
You can also water the post-blooming orchids with ice cubes after a week, especially Phalaenopsis, as it doesn’t get dormant for a long time. But you need to be cautious with the watering because drying takes some time, and if an orchid experiences overwatering, it will not be able to rebloom.
Orchids do not take their nutrients from the soil, rather, they take them from fertilizers. However, orchids post-bloom don’t require any fertilizers. Only start the fertilizers when the new leaves start growing. Orchids need a 20-20-20 fertilizer every week for proper blooming.
Too much bright sunlight is not good for orchids, as it can affect their blooming. Keep the orchids near the window after blooming so they can get indirect light to keep themselves upright during the dormancy period.
2.3.Post-Bloom Orchid Care during Resting or Dormancy:
Resting or Dormancy is a part of an orchid’s natural life cycle. Dormancy lasts until 6-9 months, in which the flowers of the orchids fall off, and they try to regain their energy for reblooming. During the period of dormancy, orchids need extra care to rebloom their flowers. You can take care of your orchid plant during dormancy by providing it with the right light, water, and fertilizer conditions.
In the dormancy period, the orchids are in resting and, therefore, need less watering; misting is preferred. Moreover, stop fertilizer and only feed the plant when you see any new leaves. And avoid placing the orchid in direct sunlight. An east-facing window that receives bright indirect sunlight is ideal.
2.4. How to Rebloom Your Orchids:
Orchids automatically start reblooming after their dormancy period ends. However, to encourage reblooming, you need to provide extra care for the orchids after blooming.
- Spike Care:
Orchids have one or two spikes that need to be taken care of after the last flower falls off from the orchid. If the spike is still green during the dormancy period, you do not need to cut it. Phalaenopsis is the only type of orchid that can rebloom from the same spike. Trimming its spike is good as it stimulates growth. When the spike is still green, trim it from the node below the lowest flower stem on the spike.
However, if you suspect brown or yellow spikes, it is better to get them off from the base. Rotten spikes do not take any part in reblooming, and cutting them will encourage root growth, which in turn will stimulate the growth of new spikes.
- Sufficient Light:
Orchids grow best in bright indirect sunlight, so it is best if you place them in an east or west-facing window. When the orchids get sufficient light, they will rebloom quickly. If you cannot give them bright light, use some artificial source that can easily mimic the sun’s cycle.
- Lower temperature:
Orchids grow in the tropics, where the nights are cooler. They enjoy warm temperatures during the day and cool temperatures at night. If you want your orchid to rebloom, it is important to mimic its natural environment. When all flowers fall off from the orchid, keep them in a place where the nighttime temperature is 55F-60°F. You can also try opening the window to let the cool air in. Once you observe a spike growth, move the orchid to normal room temperature.
Fertilizers with 20-20-20 NPK content i.e. nitrogen (20%), phosphorous (20%), and potassium (20%) are perfect for orchids. But to encourage reblooming, buy an orchid fertilizer that has high phosphorus content, as it will majorly help in flowering.
When the orchids produce new growths, you can fertilize weekly or every couple of weeks, but upon reaching maturity, decrease the frequency to monthly or bi-monthly. Discontinue altogether once the plants go dormant. It is not beneficial to fertilize orchids over a long time frame.
Water the orchids normally after their dormancy period ends to encourage reblooming. Bottom watering is the perfect technique for watering orchids. You need to place the orchid pot in a big bowl filled with water. Keep it there for 15-20 minutes so the water can travel upwards and moisten the roots. Bottom watering is preferred for orchids as it prevents overwatering, which can be deadly for orchids as it leads to root rot.
You can also try ice-watering once a week. One ice cube is enough for small orchids, while 3 cubes are good for mature orchids. This is also an effective technique as it mimics the slow drip of water from the leaves in the natural habitat of orchids i.e., rainforests.
Orchids do not like too much water, but they love high humidity. To stimulate reblooming in orchids, keep the humidity level to 40%-70%.
2.5. Potting and Repotting Orchids After Blooming
There is no need to repot the orchid often. But if you still want to do it, repot when all the flowers have fallen to avoid damaging them.
Is it time to repot?
Orchids don’t need repotting often. There are only a few conditions where the orchid might need to be repotted. Let’s talk about those conditions in detail:
- When you notice the potting medium of orchids has become compact, it is time to repot the orchids. When the potting mix decomposes, it gets hard for the water to get through the drainage holes. It is better to repot the orchid in a fresh potting mix in this condition.
- The pH level of the soil should be between 5.5-6. When the potting soil decomposes, the water cannot get out of it easily. Hence, the soil becomes extremely acidic, which is harmful to orchids, so it is the right time to repot.
- When the orchid gets big enough that its roots start getting out from the bottom of the pot, it is time to repot the orchid to a bigger pot.
Orchids don’t like bigger pots as water can sit at the bottom, which can cause root rot. When repotting the orchid, remember that it doesn’t need a much bigger pot. A pot that is 1-2 inches bigger than the previous pot will work for orchids.
Orchids grow on trees as air plants in their natural habitat. So potting mix should replicate the tree. A potting mix with tree bark and sphagnum moss is best for an orchid. Add perlite, coconut fiber, and charcoal to the mix, as they are good for air circulation and proper draining.
How to repot?
Gently take out the orchid from its previous pot and observe its roots. If you see brown or dead roots, cut them off from the orchid. Now take the new pot and fill it with ⅓ of potting mix. Put the orchid in it, and try to avoid any damage to its roots. Cover the roots with the remaining potting mix.
If you haven’t cut and trimmed any roots of the orchid while repotting, you can continue watering it weekly. However, if you have cut or trimmed the roots, it is better not to water the orchid for a week or so because the trimmed roots will need time to grow back.
3. Common Problems with Orchids After Blooming
Like any other houseplants, orchids also undergo a few problems, which can be overcome with patience and extra care.
3.1. Root Rot
Orchids are extremely sensitive to overwatering, so root rot is common in them. The number one symptom of root rot in orchids is yellow and droopy leaves. When the root rot reaches the leaves of orchids, it is extremely difficult to bring the plant back to life.
3.2. Fungal and Bacterial Diseases:
Every now and then, orchids also suffer from many fungal and bacterial diseases, which can harm the orchid to an extreme extent if they do not get taken care of soon.
- Anthracnose and Phytophthora are fungal diseases in orchids affecting the leaves. Anthracnose makes the leaves of the orchid black from tip to base. Phytophthora creates black lesions on the leaves, which slowly grow towards the roots. Both of these fungal diseases can be treated by insecticide or fungicide for an orchid.
- Fungal Crown Rot is one of the most common diseases in orchids. It starts with discoloration at the plant’s center and often on the base of the leaves. It can be treated by pouring a small amount of hydrogen peroxide onto the crown of the plant where the rot is.
Orchids are often vulnerable to many pests like mites, mealybugs, and scales. These pests can infect the leaves, roots, and stems of the orchids and can also affect other plants. Use a pesticide to prevent pests and spray some rubbing alcohol on the orchids where you notice some activity of pests.
3.5. Bud Blast:
Bud Blast occurs when the orchid doesn’t get any proper humidity and gets direct exposure to the sunlight, and its buds dry up. This affects the blooming, and the orchids aren’t able to bloom properly. To get the orchid out of this situation, keep the plant in bright but indirect sunlight and provide high humidity so the leaves and buds can grow properly.
Orchids make any space stylish and beautiful with their amazing colored blooms. With proper care for orchids after blooming, your plant will do the hard work and keep performing for years. If you liked this article, visit our website for more plant and plant care articles.
Are Orchids Toxic to Cats or Dogs?
Orchids are not toxic to cats and dogs, so you can keep them in your home without worry.
What are the Benefits of Keeping Orchids in or Around Your Home?
Apart from making your home beautiful with their presence, orchids are air purifiers too. They suck in the carbon dioxide from your environment and release oxygen.
Do you still water orchids after flowering?
You have to keep watering the orchids after flowering. Do the ice-cube watering for each orchid after every 4-7 days.