Potted orchid plants are a real delight to receive. Not only do the butterfly-like blooms last nearly forever, you still have a green and glossy plant long after the bloom fades.

It’s also not that hard to prompt your orchid to bloom again!

Enjoy your blooms now, keep caring for your plant, and use these three tips to keep your orchid healthy and producing new bloom stalks for years to come.

Give the Plant a Trim

After the last flower has failed on the bloom stalk, you’ll want to ease the plant into dormancy, and trim back the stalk. Orchids will form the next blooms on the same stalk, so cutting it correctly is very important. Go ahead and remove any supporting stakes or clips at this time.

If the stalk is still green,

  • Use a sharp knife or scissors that you’ve cleaned and disinfected.
  • Cut the stalk about halfway down, or you can look for the second or third “node” up from the base of the stem.
  • Cut at an angle between the second and third node, or at the halfway point on the stalk.

If the stalk is already brown,

  • Go ahead and trim it down to the base. Now your orchid is ready to rest and replenish itself after all that hard work it did while blooming.

Keep Fertilizing and Watering

Your orchid is now set for a vacation. Continue watering it about every 10 days. The potting medium should almost dry out before you water it again. The actual length of time will vary with the size of the plant, room humidity, and other factors. Healthy orchids will still have green leaves that aren’t shriveled or brown.

Fertilize your orchid every month with a good fertilizer that is made for orchids, or a houseplant fertilizer with a 20-20-20 formulation.

If you use the latter, mix it at half strength. The goal here is to help your orchid plant build up the energy and nutrients it will need to produce a new flower stalk. They make it look easy, but orchid blooms take some hard work on the part of the plant!

Place Your Plant in the Right Spot

Orchids in the wild grow under tree canopies, in filtered light. In your home, it’s not necessary to attach them to a tree to mimic this experience – they will be just as happy in indirect sunlight.

They aren’t used to the bright sun, so avoid spots where they will be in hot, direct sun – and away from hot and cold drafts.

Keep on feeding them and enjoying their shiny green leaves and interesting roots while they enjoy their dormant period. Your orchid should begin growing a new leaf, which indicates that it is recovered, and is ready to form a new bloom stalk.

When the leaf has reached the size of the older leaves, it’s time to expose your plant to lower nighttime temperatures – this stimulates the blooming cycle.

You don’t want to expose your plant to freezing temperatures – the nighttime range should be between 55-65 degrees, for best results. You can achieve this by moving it closer to a winter window, placing it in a basement area, or moving it to a cooler room. You’ll want a slight change of about 10-15 degrees between the daytime and nighttime temperatures.

Continue with your regular watering and feeding routine, and watch for the flower stalk to emerge. Once it does, you may move the plant back to its regular location, and enjoy the blooms for weeks to come!

Orchid Christmas

Orchids are easy to grow, and you’ll be able to follow the same steps after each bloom cycle.

Enjoy your lasting gift!

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