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When Do I Cut Back Orchid Stems After They Bloom?

By: Jessie Keith

“Do I need to cut off the stems after my orchid flowers fall off or will new flowers grow on the stems next year?” Question from Bonnie of Young, Arizona

Answer: It depends on the health and blooming stage of the flowering stem. If the stem/s are still green, prune off the spent flowers to about 1-inch above the closest node on towards the bast of the stem; this may encourage further flowering. If your spike/spikes are beginning to turn brown, prune them all the way back to the base of the plant. Always use clean, sharp shears to prune off old stems, and sterilize the shears in a 10% bleach solution before pruning another orchid. This will reduce the risk of cross-contamination if one of your orchids happens to have a disease.

Always keep a lookout for keikis. On occasion, certain common orchids will develop little plantlets on their flowering stems, called keikis. These can be nurtured, removed, and replanted as entirely new plants! (Click here to learn more about keiki removal.)

Once your orchid has finished flowering, it needs a rest before it will bloom again. The length between blooming will depend on the type of orchid you are growing. But, in general, slightly decrease the growing temperature for the orchid, and give it good care and fertilization. (Click here to learn more about how to get certain orchids to rebloom.)

Please let me know if you have any additional questions about the specific orchids you are growing!

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

 

About Jessie Keith


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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