What to Do With an Orchid After the Flowers Fall Off?

Orchids are considered one of the most enigmatic plants and can be intimidating to grow at home. Consisting of single blooms on a single stalk, the delicate flower is a sight to behold. Once the petals drop, you are left with a lonely, empty stem. With consistent care, it is possible to encourage the plant to flower again.

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Immediately After Blooming

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When the last flower drops from your orchid plant, it is time to begin a care and maintenance routine that will help your plant bloom again. Begin by trimming the spent stalk back by half. Cut with a clean, sharp blade and seal the cut with melted wax to prevent bacterial infection.

Encouraging Rebloom

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The plant will typically send out new growth near the cut site. Continue your watering and fertilizing schedule to encourage rebloom. Most orchids grown in the home should be watered every 5 to 12 days, depending on the medium it is grown in and the current season. Orchids typically fall into one of three categories for watering needs: those that require consistently moist (but not soggy) soil; those that prefer moist soil but should dry out between watering; and those that perform best when the soil is kept nearly dry.

Check the packaging included when you purchased your orchid to determine which watering schedule to follow. Fertilizer should be applied once per month. Inadequate fertilization can stunt growth and affect blooms. Fertilizing too often can burn the roots and leaves. Keep the plant in a location that receives strong but indirect light; a south-facing window is ideal. Monitor leaf color to determine if your orchid is receiving the proper amount of light. A plant receiving too little light will have dark green leaves, while one receiving too much light will present reddish-green leaves. Ideal light conditions will cause bright green leaves to appear.

Be consistent in your care routine and patient with your orchid. Orchids are notoriously slow-growing and the rebloom may take place up to one year after the new growth appears.