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What To Do With Orchids After Blooming: 3 Easy Options

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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.

Here is another photo illustration.

You can simply cut right where the tip of the scissors are.

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 (another great one is Paphiopedilum), but the morning sun is gentle enough on them and will provide enough light for strong growth.

Be careful of too much direct sun because moth orchid sunburn can occur pretty quickly if it’s sitting in direct sun all day.

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 concise Moth Orchid Mastery ebook. You won’t regret it!

Are you having trouble getting your orchid to rebloom? Check out my post to help you out:

How to Make an Orchid Grow A New Spike – 1 Little Known Secret

And once you’ve gotten your orchid to rebloom, be sure not to miss my tips on How Long Do Orchid Blooms Last + 5 Tips to Extend Lifespan.

Maggie Smith

Saturday 9th of December 2023

My plant had 2 flower spikes, left them, and now they both started growing new little plants which both produce new flower spikes. I have never seen this happen with store bought plants. ☺️


Monday 11th of December 2023

The little baby plants are called keikis, and they occasionally form! Once they are big enough and have some roots, you can snip them off and pot them up separately.

Bonnie Marberry

Tuesday 5th of September 2023

I am confused about the watering of orchids. The last two plants had instructions to remove little plastic planter, fill bowl, put plant in bowl (up to one quarter level, leave for a minute and do this once a week. Obviously, totally drain water from little plastic planter after one minute. Our plants seemed to start dropping leaves. I have also heard the ice cube watering. Then I heard that orchids do not like ice cubes. What is really the best way to water.? Also, do you water the same after the blooms have withered and/or dropped? HELP


Wednesday 6th of September 2023

Hi Bonnie! This is a very common question that people have. Given all the information out there, it is easy to be confused. I will list out some of my blog posts below. I recommend that you read them all. They will help! Also, after blooms are over, you still want to water the same way. Here are the resources I'd recommend reading:

How to water orchids: How to water orchids in moss: Why you shouldn't water with ice cubes:


Sunday 2nd of July 2023

I am from Brazil and live in Atlanta. In Brazil, a lot of people successfully attach orchids to trees after they bloom but I did not find anything in your website talking about this option. Do you have any recommendations? I want to attach some of my Phalaenopsis orchids to a Fiddlewood tree. Thanks!


Tuesday 4th of July 2023

@Raffaele - I will give it try, thanks!


Tuesday 4th of July 2023

Hi Cris! I have a friend down in Florida that does this a lot, and I asked for you. She likes to use zip ties to secure orchids to her trees. They have ones on Amazon that are 3 feet long, or you can attach a few smaller ones together to get around the circumference of your trees. Hope this helps!


Tuesday 9th of May 2023

What do you do with all the whitish looking stems shooting out the sides of the root? What good are they. I’m not sure if I should cut them. But I haven’t. I have a lot. Help!!


Wednesday 10th of May 2023

Hi Agnes! Hm, I'd have to see a photo to help. They may be more roots perhaps? If you want to use the contact form on my website to message me...when I reply, you can then attach any photos and I can take a look.

Denise Campeau

Monday 27th of March 2023

M’y orchid is in full bloom but the leaf are getting yellow and droopy what can I do


Tuesday 28th of March 2023

Hi Denise! Check out my blog post on droopy orchid leaves: