‘Best’ method to prune orchids for continuous flowering

Phalaenopsis Orchids: Expert shares how to care for plant

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Orchid blooms can fade before six weeks and endure beyond 10. The quality of the attention and orchid care that gardeners give to their houseplant is what will make the difference between flowers that fade and wither almost as quickly as they appear and blooms that last for weeks. Everything from how to water orchids, to when to repot orchids, and even knowing how to prune orchids will all play a part in the longevity of the blooms. 

How long do orchids bloom?

Orchids bloom for six to 10 weeks on average. The amount of light an orchid gets, the material in which it is potted, how often it is watered, and whether it’s exposed to cold air and drafts, can all make a difference to how long gardeners will have to see it thrive and enjoy its blooms. 

But that doesn’t mean they are actually that tricky to grow – in fact, orchids are considered one of the best winter houseplants, meaning cold conditions aren’t necessarily a deterrent to choosing orchids for decorating with plants.

Kylie Wall, Marketing Manager at QS Supplies said: “Despite their elegant appearance, orchids are actually more robust than you’d imagine. As an orchid blooms, it creates beautiful flowers that will last for months.

“There are many types of orchid, but the majority need good levels of light, so it’s worth keeping this in mind if your room is rather shaded.”

Experts have shared their insight on how long orchids bloom for and the best tips to extend their floral display.

How do you keep orchids blooming?

Isabelle Palmer, plant expert and author of House Plants revealed: “Orchids also thrive in a variety of different temperatures, so choose the best position in your house to suit the needs of the particular orchid you are growing.”

When orchids are placed in the optimum position, misted regularly and watered once a week, and given a specialist feed every three weeks or so, they will reward you with long-lasting flowers.

Rachel Crow, garden editor for Homes & Gardens said: “The blooms of a healthy and happy orchid should last six to 10 weeks.

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“After that time, the plant will go into a recovery stage when it recoups the energy it has expended during flowering, ready to bloom again.”

How long do orchids take to rebloom?

A common mistake when growing orchids is to throw them away once they have flowered, as the stems can remain bare for a considerable time once the blooms have dropped and it may appear as if the plant has died. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Sarah Gerrard-Jones, author of The Plan Rescuer said: “Millions of healthy orchids are thrown out every year once they finish flowering. An orchid isn’t dead once the flowers die – with some simple care they’ll bloom time and time again.

“An orchid has a natural flowering cycle. After flowering it will enter a dormant phase for four to six months before flowering again. 

“Remember to keep watering it occasionally and give it a bit of orchid food. It should flower again but be patient.”

Given the growth cycle of orchids, gardeners can expect their houseplant to flower at least twice a year, and possibly three times – giving plant owners around 12 to 30 weeks of blooms in total.

How to help orchids bloom again

Sarah said: “Knowing the best way to prune an orchid can help it bloom again from the same stem.

“If the stem is green, find a bump on the stem below and cut back to just above that point, it may flower again from there.

“If the stem is brown, cut it right down. If the roots look silver, soak them in water for 30 minutes to one hour, until they turn green. Finally, place the plant on a bright windowsill.”

Make sure to have super sharp pruning shears to use on orchids. The sharper the shears, the cleaner the cut will be and a clean cut makes for a healthier orchid. 

While the orchid is still blooming, cut back the flowers that are fading. Removing the orchid blooms that have finished will not only keep the houseplant looking neat but will increase its vitality.

Once the plant has been pruned, replant the orchid in a bigger pot each year so that it has more room to grow.

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