Skip to Content

What To Do With Orchids After Blooming: 3 Easy Options

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.

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

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!

JANE

Monday 31st of May 2021

Hi I did something dumb and didn't notice the bud and chopped the stem :(

Can i save it by replanting into the same soil/pot? HELP......

Raffaele

Monday 31st of May 2021

Unfortunately you can't really save the flower stalk if you cut it off :-(

Gloria

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

I just received a Phalaenopsis orchid for my birthday and your tips are very helpful and I will try and follow your suggestions and enjoy my orchid fo A long time You did not mention watering methods or perhaps I missed it. Please advice. I was watching the video and it stopped playing.

Raffaele

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

Hi Gloria! I have other care posts where I talk about watering. You can use the search feature to type in "orchid" and you will find several posts on orchids. I also have a very short ebook where I cover all aspects of care: https://www.ohiotropics.com/moth-orchid-mastery/

Magline Baker

Monday 3rd of May 2021

Hi my name is Maggie, I am new to orchards. I left the flower spike in after the blooms fell of. Now it looks as if there leaves growing on the flower spike. What do I do now?

Lisa Miller

Tuesday 8th of June 2021

@Raffaele, so exciting! Thanks for sharing your expertise!!!

Raffaele

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Sounds like you have a keiki, which is a baby orchid growing on the flower stalk. You can wait until it grows a bit and has its own roots and then cut it off and pot it up!

Ally

Tuesday 20th of April 2021

I loved this article. My kids gave me an orchid for Christmas, 1st one in my life - and I have grown monster vegie gardens on farms but with this, I wanted to cry. I was sure I would kill it. What is this strange alien plant that only a select few can grow? And I read a bit, so I didn't kill it with water; and I read some more, so I didn't try to repot the poor root bound alien in rich fertile soil; and I read some more.... And then I found your article, and wow.....100 years? I want more. I want more orchids. Beautiful fascinating plants. Thank you for this. Who knew? My new favourite!

Raffaele

Tuesday 20th of April 2021

Glad you enjoyed the post Ally! Good luck with your orchid :-). They're not hard to grow...just different! And once you understand them, they're a cinch!