How to Care for Phalaenopsis Orchids After They Bloom
Although they may appear exotic, Phalaenopsis orchids are easy to care for and these days, easy to come by. Relatively inexpensive and available at your local grocery store, it's apparent why Phalaenopsis orchids have become so popular.
Now, I'm a diehard packrat who is reluctant to throw anything away — especially if it's living — so I hang on to orchids after the blooms fade. I know that with a little TLC the plant will flower again and there is no such thing as having too many orchids.
Here's how to care for Phalaenopsis orchids after they bloom.
Cut Back the Orchid Flower Spike
After the flowers drop from the orchid you have three choices: leave the flower spike (or stem) intact, cut it back to a node, or remove it entirely.
If you leave the stem intact, there is a chance that new blooms will emerge from the tip. You can also cut the stem back to the 2nd or 3rd node, recognizable by the triangular marking. This might prompt the plant to produce a new flower spike where you made the cut.
You can also remove the flower spike entirely by clipping it off at the base of the plant. This is definitely the route to take if the existing stem starts to turn brown or yellow. Withered stems won't produce flowers. Removing the stem will direct the plant's energy toward root development, which makes for a healthier plant and increased chances for new bloom spikes.
Basic Care for Orchids
Place your Phalaenopsis orchid in an area that receives bright, indirect light with a daytime temperature of around 75°F and night temperature of 65°F. Water weekly and feed once a month with a liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength.
Trick Orchids into Bloom with Cool Temperatures
A trick you can use to try and force them into bloom is to move them to an area where the night temperature is slightly lower, about 55°F. Be sure the spot receives bright, indirect light during the day. Once a bloom spike appears, return your orchid to its normal setting.
Recognizing an Orchid Flower Spike
Phalaenopsis orchids typically flower once a year. To identify a new bloom spike, look for roots that are growing upwards with glossy green points, rather than round tips.
Once a bloom spike appears, increase feeding to every other week with a liquid houseplant fertilizer that has been diluted to half the recommended strength and support the stem with a stake as it grows.