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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.

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

Looking to purchase a special Phalaenopsis orchid? One of my favorite and most convenient one-stop-shops to buy practically any plant is Etsy. Check out the Phalaenopsis orchid selection (link to Etsy) today!

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

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:

OHIO TROPICS PLANT CARE STOREFRONT

Lesley Paquette

Saturday 30th of April 2022

Great article about after flower care. But it was supposed to be how to fix drooping leaves... My orchids are doing fabulous but I always like to have information on hand just in case something happens!

Raffaele

Saturday 30th of April 2022

Hi Lesley, I do have another post on drooping orchids. Perhaps you clicked on the wrong one? Here is the drooping orchid post: https://www.ohiotropics.com/2019/11/30/droopy-wrinkled-orchid-leaves/

ZZ

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Hi Love the simplicity of the explanation for caring the orchids. I’ve quite a few that I rescued for$2. Not sure what to do with the stems after blooming. Do i repot them?

Thank you so much

Raffaele

Thursday 31st of March 2022

I usually choose option #2 that I talked about in my blog post. Normally it results in a new branch on the flower stalk and it will continue to bloom. It doesn't always work, but it often does! As far as repotting, I'd need more information. It really depends. If you just got them, they're probably fine for another year or two. Just one thing to watch out for. If they're in orchid bark, that will eventually break down and you'll want to repot into fresh media before it breaks down too much. Hope this helps a bit.

Chrissie

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Many thanks for your advice. I’ve had my lovely deep lilac/purple Phalaenopsis for about five years now and she is a beauty, flowering every year since I bought her, living in the morning sunshine window sill, all this time. We’re in the UK so she stays indoors, in my direct line of sight, so I appreciate her every day 🥰 When covid hit we got stuck in Australia for a couple of months before we could return and she had been in flower for a couple of months when we left and welcomed us back in flower on our return and for a couple more months. This year she outdid herself with one stalk bifurcating into two with so many flowers she was top heavy and I had to rig some scaffolding to hold them all up. Now she’s bare but the stalk is very tall and winding, thus my need for advice. There are now five long roots stretching out from the pot, which I think is in part the reason for her ongoing and best success, as there were none when I bought her. I have indulgently rambled, but finding another orchid enthusiast set me off to share the joy I feel about the plant that sits so unassumingly in front of my net curtains. Many thanks ♥️

Raffaele

Thursday 31st of March 2022

Hi Chrissie, it sounds like a lovely plant! You can trim the stalk back a bit like I talk about in option #2 in the blog post. It may just branch off and start to grow new flowers. It doesn't always happen, but it happens often enough!

Jessica

Tuesday 29th of March 2022

Hi! Thank you for these tips. I am on my first rebloom after receiving my orchid a year and half ago as a gift. I have three flowering stems with over 25 blooms right now! Two of the stems branched off of a set of new leaves that grew at the top of a stem. Are these leaves a new baby orchid that I can attempt to re-pot? My other question is that the base plant now has seven leaves. Do I ever cut away any of these leaves or just keep them going? The bunch of leaves are getting very heavy and starting to droop over to one side. Currently I have the plant in a 6 inch orchid pot. It sits in a south facing window.

Raffaele

Thursday 31st of March 2022

Hi Jessica! Sounds like you're doing great! The baby orchid growing on the flower stem is what's a called a "keiki". It is a baby orchid plant. You can wait until the small plant has some roots of its own, and then you can cut it off and pot it up! And I would NOT recommend cutting any leaves off unless they've turned completely yellow. Sounds like you're doing a great job with your orchids!

MARGARET Weisinger

Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

Thank you for all your tips and suggestions. My orchid just finished its 3rd year bloom I love them I have three.

Raffaele

Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

You're very welcome Margaret!