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Orchids, like most blooming plants, bloom in seasons. The best way to ensure that
your orchid will bloom again after its first blossoms fall off is by taking proper care of the plant during its
dormant non-blooming season. By taking the proper measures at the end of one blooming cycle, you can set the
stage for the next set of showy blossoms and ensure that your orchid blooms again and again every year.
Each orchid species has a natural blooming season.
In most orchids, including the highly popular Phalaenopsis orchid, the growth period during which new leaves
emerge begins during the summer months. By autumn, spikes and flower buds begin to appear, and the plant will
normally bloom around late autumn, with the blooming period typically ending around the end of winter or early
weeks of spring. Although many commercial growers force plants to bloom out of season so they can sell flowering
orchids all year round, once your orchid is living at home, you cannot expect it to bloom all year round, as it
will naturally revert back to its natural blooming cycle. Most species bloom once a year, with blooms lasting up
to several months. Once the flowers begin to drop off, a few more blossoms might appear on the same spike, but
this does not always happen. The period of dormancy or non-blooming in most orchids typically lasts about 6 to 9
months, and if your orchid is properly cared for with all of its essential needs met, it will naturally bloom
again on its own.
To make sure that your orchid is happy and healthy enough to re-bloom each year, take the following steps to
ensure optimal blooming conditions:
While it may be tempting to repot your orchid in fresh mix when you first buy it, it’s really not recommended as
it can cause the bloom to drop prematurely. Once the last bloom drops is usually the best time to repot your
orchid as that is when most orchids begin their active growth phase putting on new roots and leaves in
preparation for the next bloom. Make sure you cut dead roots off with a sterilized scalpel when re-potting. Sterilize your scalpel before using it by soaking it for 10
minutes in a Physan 20 solution. Choose an orchid pot to provide ample water drainage, but make sure it’s not
much bigger than the actual roots of the plant. Orchids don’t need a big pot to grow in, in fact what they
really need is to feel snug in the pot and be able to get physical stability by wrapping their roots around the
inside of the pot. Your new pot should be no more than 1 inch bigger than the pot it came out of. Use a
specialized potting medium for orchids to provide the proper growing
environment for this epyphyte or “air plant,” as orchids do not grow in regular soil.
A good orchid fertilizer, such as FEED ME MSU, will help to prolong your plant’s lifespan and encourage healthy
blooms. To enhance blooms and reinforce the plant, try a probiotic such as Quantum Orchid, which you can use along with
regular fertilizer. Quantum Orchid is not a fertilizer, chemical, pesticide or artificial hormone, but rather a
supplement that increases blooms and helps your plant become more resistant to pests and disease. Quantum orchid
supports healthy growth by fortifying the orchid’s all-important root system. The formula also encourages
brighter, more intense colors and enhanced blossoms, and helps stressed plants overcome damage caused by pests
and improper growing conditions.
It is important to make sure that your orchid truly regenerates during its dormant period, and you can help take
stress off the plant by removing old, dead spikes once flowers fall off to help the plant retain more of its
nutrients and energy. Use tools that have been sterilized in a Physan
20 solution to trim each spike to about one inch above the lowest node on the stem. Any dead stems
should also be trimmed away. Always cut spikes and roots diagonally to encourage growth.
While orchids need lots of humidity, they only need to be watered about once a week or every 5-12 days, because
as epiphytes, they prefer to absorb humidity from the air. A great way to provide the required humidity for your
orchid is to mist the plant periodically. Orchids also love to live in
large groups or clusters of several orchids so that together they can create their own little ecosystem. Using a
humidity tray underneath your orchids will ensure that they have ample
humidity without risk of leaving the roots in standing water, which can be dreadfully harmful to orchids. When
you do water you orchid, make sure all water drains out of the bottom of the pot, and the potting medium dries
on top between each watering.
Because orchids bloom according to natural seasons, they will typically respond to changes in ambient
temperature. When they sense that temperatures are cooling down in the evening, toward late fall, they begin
their blooming cycle. To encourage this, move your orchid to an environment where nighttime temperatures
naturally drop a bit. Placing the plant on a windowsill may accomplish this, or consider turning down the heat
in your home in the evening during winter months.
To learn more about caring specifically for your particular orchid, please see our informative pages on Phalaenopsis Orchid Care and Cattleya Orchid Care, depending on what type of orchid you have.
These pages provide all the basic information you need to keep your beautiful orchids healthy, happy, and
blooming! For a pictorial step by step walk-thru of staking bloom spikes, feel free to visit our Demonstration of Orchid Staking instruction page.
“This fall I religiously followed your advice, creating an environment of shortened
days and lower temps in order to encourage blooming...I was successful. FINALLY!! Thank you, thank you!!
Both of my plants decided to bloom and they look beautiful. I wanted to share the good news and
my gratitude with you. Thanks again!”Laurie J.
“The potting medium you sent is gorgeous!! It's superior to the bark I've been
buying at Lowe's. I can't imagine what (my orchids) will do when I put them in your potting mix. It even
smells fresh!! Many, many thanks. I'll be ordering from you again.”
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