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You may be wondering what to do with your orchid when the flowers have withered and died. Your beautiful blooming orchid that you purchased will bloom again for you if you follow a few simple steps that are outlined below!
You really have 3 total options to figure out what to do with your orchid after the flowers fall off.
I have photo illustrations for these below so keep reading.
How Long Do Orchids Bloom?
It depends on the individual orchid, but most moth orchids or Phalaenopsis will grow a new flower spike about once a year.
Although most will only grow one new flower spike per year, that spike can be in bloom for a good 3-5 months!
After all the orchid flowers have all fallen off, you have 3 main options to get your Phalaenopsis to flower again.
What To Do With Orchids After Blooming
Before I go into the 3 options that you have, let me clear up one very important thing. I’ve had so many people get worried after their orchid flowers fall off.
If you’ve just purchased an orchid, you really don’t know how long the flowers have been open so don’t be shocked if they start to wither shortly after you bring them home!
The flowers will not last forever, so there isn’t anything necessarily wrong if your flower wither and fall off! They may have just been open for a long time already.
So what do you do after all your flowers are withered?
Option 1: Leave it As-Is
Option 1 is to just leave the whole stem in tact! I’ve never done this.
The flower spike may continue to grow some buds at the tip, but the stem will grow longer, will look ungainly and the flowers will be smaller.
Not the best option in my opinion, but it is possible to take this route.
Option 2: Cutting Stems After Blooming
Option 2 is to snip the bloom spike right above one of the nodes on the spike. You’ll see a node every few inches on the flower spike.
The nodes are very noticeable on the flower spike and will look like little bumps covered with a little triangular pointed covering. See picture below:
Count one or two nodes below where the bottom flower was/is located and snip it right above that node but leave a little room so you’re not cutting too close to the node.
Sometimes your orchid will branch off with new flower spikes right at one of the remaining nodes and will continue to bloom. This may not always happen so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t!
Sometimes you may already see new side branches on your flower spike starting to grow!
And sometimes they will appear after you lightly prune the flower stalk as I’ve described above.
With this option, your plant’s flowering season will be extended and you won’t have to wait until a new flower spike grows the following year!
But like I said, it doesn’t always happen so don’t think that something is necessarily wrong.
Option 3: Cut the Whole Flower Spike Off
If you start to see that the entire flower spike is starting to turn brown and dry up, it is time to cut the whole stem off.
In the photo below, I’m just demonstrating where to cut. I actually left this spike since it is still green and alive.
Take a pair of sharp scissors (sterilizing the tip would be a good idea…either in a flame or with rubbing alcohol) and snip the whole spike off as close to the bottom of the plant as possible, without damaging any leaves.
After this point, your plant should start growing more roots and a new leaf.
Orchid Care After Blooming
After you’ve completed one of the three options describe above, you should resume your normal care routine.
If you’ve had your plant on display somewhere in your house while in bloom, like I always do, return your plant to a window and let it do its thing.
If you’ve left your plant next to a window during its bloom, then leave it there.
East windows are ideal for moth orchids. Phalaenopsis are among the low light orchids, but the morning sun is gentle enough on them and will provide enough light for strong growth.
Continue to water and fertilize regularly.
Summering your orchid outside will work wonders for your plant, but wait until the nighttime temperatures stay consistently above the low 50s Fahrenheit.
These are just a few tips to keep your orchid growing and blooming, but there is really a lot more to learn.
If you have reason to believe that your orchid is truly dying, and has more than just some spent, old flowers, check out my blog post Help My Orchid Is Dying!
It goes through all sorts of orchid problems and let you know how to fix it.
Lastly, if you want to gain all the practical orchid growing knowledge that you need, quickly and in an easy-to-read format, check out my Moth Orchid Mastery. You won’t regret it!