Encouraging Your Orchids To Rebloom

If your orchid blooms have fallen off, don’t despair, there is hope! With these tips, you will be able to get your orchid to rebloom.

Phalaenopsis are one of the more common orchid types out on the market. They come in a large array of colors and sizes and are relatively easy to care for. I have heard time and time again, from many people, that they don’t know how to care for it or that it’s dead because the flowers have all gone away. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and I hope to give you all some hope with getting your orchid to rebloom.

Blooming Periods

Most orchids may only bloom once a year, although Phalaenopsis do have the ability to bloom up to 3 times per year. Blooming periods can last up to 3 months or shorter, depending on the type of care it is receiving during that time. Getting sufficient lighting and water all help with the bloom period and overall health of the plant. Just remember that when you encourage constant bloom, the plant itself won’t be growing much and bloom periods may not be as bountiful or long.

Some Phalaenopsis receiving some bright light from my northwest facing window.

Fertilizing and Watering

When your orchid has ended it’s bloom period and all flowers have been spent, you can now start to fertilize. I would fertilize once a month with an orchid fertilizer. I like to fertilize with my watering. Phalaenopsis do appreciate drying out between watering, and I would suggest watering every 2 weeks. If kept indoors, I tend to just water the root system instead of the whole plant. I notice that the plant is prone to leaf rot from a lack of air circulation in a household. If you have them out in the summertime, and you water the plant, it won’t be much of an issue because of the wind circulating air flow.

Cutting the Spike

I didn’t know this when I first started growing Phalaenopsis, but they tend to rebloom from the same spike. I made the huge mistake of cutting off the spikes down to the base after it would bloom, and I would just sit and wonder why it wouldn’t bloom again. I soon figured out that the best way to encourage a rebloom, is to cut a few centimeters above from an triangular node on the spike.

Blooms don’t come from the same area that a bloom had just been previously. Instead, they will emerge from further down the spike. As pictured below, new bloom spikes are emerging from little triangular nodes off of the spike.

Sometimes the whole spike will turn yellow, at this point it is best just to cut off the whole stalk down to its base. At times, the tip of the spike will turn yellow and may continue to do so all the way down to the base. I try to cut my spikes or stalks, before this happens. Also, be sure to always sterilize your sheers with rubbing alcohol, before cutting your spike.

If you do have to cut off the whole spike, and if you encourage bloom properly, the plant will grow a new spike from the base of the plant.

Dormancy, Temperature, and Lighting

Most don’t realize that when the plant has finished its blooming period, it needs to rest. The plant has just spent much of its energy creating blooms. I would just tend to the plant as usual for a few months before encouraging rebloom. During this time it may create new leaves or put out fresh new roots. It’s always best to make sure your plant is in overall good health before getting it to spike again.

Once you feel the plant is ready and is in overall good health, I would start to give it some cooler temperatures. You can give the plant cool temps down to 55 F or 12.7 C. A good range is 55 F (12.7 C) to 65 F (18.3 C). I notice my orchids start to spike around winter. They spend all summer creating new growth and staying healthy. In the winter, the temps start to dip and they seem to appreciate it. This dormancy period in the winter allows the plant to build up enough sugars to create a new bloom. Giving the plant cooler temps is another thing I didn’t realize I had to do in order to get it to bloom again.

Overall, the lighting should be the same for the plant always. I keep mine in my kitchen window, which is a northwest facing window. They get tons of bright light throughout the day but not enough for it to burn. They are tropical plants that grow epiphytically, or on other plants, so they’re not accustomed to getting full intense sun all day long. Dappled light and shade are perfect for outdoor conditions and bright indirect light is perfect for indoor conditions.

Don’t Give Up! Keep Up The Good Work!

I hope these tips help you understand your orchids a bit more. I was definitely lost when I first started growing Phalaenopsis, but with time it gets better. If any of you have some tips or tricks that I don’t know about, I would love to hear them. I’m always open to new information!


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