Knowing how to get an orchid to bloom again will give your plant the opportunity to create an impressive display year after year. While orchids are one of the most popular gifts for those with green fingers, many recipients will unfortunately give up once the blooms die and assume the plant is finished. But this is definitely not the case.
Orchids can not only re-bloom, they can also bloom repeatedly throughout the year and continue to grow in the process. Growing orchids couldn’t be easier either – check out our guide on how to take care of an orchid. So there is no excuse not to give your orchid a little TLC; do it, and soon you will see it bloom again. Here’s how to get an orchid to bloom again.
How to make an orchid bloom again
1. Cut off the old stem — First, once the last flower has dropped, you’ll want to cut the stem off, even if it looks green and healthy. Most orchids will not bloom more than once on the same stem, with the exception of the Moth Orchid or Phalaenopsis, so there is no point in leaving a bare stem in sight.
With a pair of sterilized scissors, or the best pruning shears, cut just above the first stem node. Cut at a 45 degree angle to create the optimal surface area; this allows for better water absorption and also helps the water come out of the cut if you look down on it. Remove the stem and discard, but save the stake and clips for your next bloom. Feel free to remove any rotting leaves or roots while you’re here too, this will improve air circulation. Remember to sanitize your pruning shears again before putting them away to prevent potential diseases from spreading.
2. Continue watering — While your orchid is now resting, you still need to give it as much care and attention as before. Of course, above all you have to avoid watering it excessively, which is easily done with orchids. Any excess water applied to the roots should be drained from the pot immediately to prevent root rot. Applying water with a couple of ice cubes is an easy method to avoid excess water. Water orchids once a week as a general guideline; if you’re ever unsure, you can always feel the top of the mixed soil with your finger to see if it’s dry.
Alternatively, if you have time to spare, another method is to soak your orchids for an hour in warm water. The water level should reach the top of the pots, but without spilling them. Be sure to set the orchids in place so they don’t fall into the water if you use this method. You can also add some fertilizer to the water to increase its effect. You should do this once a week in the summer and every two weeks in the winter for best results. Leave the orchids outside to drain completely once the time is up before returning them to their positions.
3. Fertilize when needed — Once the blooms have dropped, you’ll want to give your orchid an initial rest period from its fertilizer. orchid happiness (opens in a new tab) recommends reapplying fertilizer once you see fresh growth (i.e., new leaves or roots).
Don’t overdo this though, or you could do more harm than good. Follow the instructions on your fertilizer for dosage; if none is provided, fertilize once a month with a 25 percent diluted solution. Avoid watering your orchids in the weeks that you fertilize them as well. As a fertilizer, we recommend Miracle-Gro Water-Soluble Orchid Food ($4.99, Amazon (opens in a new tab)).
4. Find the best place — This is one of the most important steps in encouraging new blooms. The problem is that the ideal environment is not easy to find. Your orchid will not only require a specific temperature, but also a sufficient amount of natural light. Orchids do best in temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and thrive in bright but indirect sunlight. Do not place your orchid in direct sunlight or it will burn; if you must sit in the sun, only expose it to the morning sun, which is weaker compared to the peak hours of the day. If you feel your orchid’s current location is insufficient, feel free to try alternative positions.
If you want to encourage cool stems, you should also move your orchid to a cooler spot overnight. Aim for a setting that reaches 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit as a guide, but remember to return your orchid to its usual spot in the morning. This intense change in temperature recreates your orchid’s natural environment, encouraging growth and fresh blooms.
5. Replant when necessary — If your orchid has stopped blooming and refuses to budge despite trying all of the above, you may need a transplant for a fresh take. Move it to a suitable size clear plastic pot; it is best to use this type of pot so that the roots are exposed to light as they would be in their natural habitat.
Do not use normal soil – orchids will not survive due to reduced airflow. We recommend a special orchid mix, such as Miracle-Gro Orchid Potting Mix ($5.79, Amazon (opens in a new tab)). Wait a week before watering for the first time.
6. Be patient — Even if you follow all of the above instructions, orchids are sometimes just slow to bloom. Depending on the type, orchids may bloom every 3 months or just once a year if conditions are not right. In any case, the screen is so impressive that it is certainly worth the wait.
Keep adjusting the conditions if you think things aren’t quite right: once you figure out what your orchid wants, the flowers will be back in bloom in no time.
For more planting tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out how to care for air plants and how to care for succulents. Be sure to also see how to transplant succulents, how to prune roses, and how to prune tomato plants.