Most of us have seen those gorgeous orchids at the grocery store or home store and we brought one (or more) home to liven up our interior. But once the blooms fade, we’re left with a set of leaves that aren’t that fun to look at.
Is it possible to make that orchid bloom once again? Absolutely! The key is tricking your plant into thinking it has gone dormant and is ready for another show.
Keep reading to find out how to make it happen.
Why Orchids Stop Blooming
Did you know that the orchid family is one of the largest families of flowering plants? The flowers of Orchidaceae have spectacular colors, sizes, and a fragrant scent that is attractive to various pollinators.
Thanks to their fantastic appearance, thousands of people collect and grow orchids at home. However, the flowering process is quite complex in orchids.
The flowering phase is divided into two separate steps: floral transition and floral development. In the floral transition step, the plant needs cool temperatures to bloom. Floral development is when the spike appears and petals grow.
The reason that orchids don’t rebloom comes down to several factors. The growing conditions need to be just right if you want to see fresh petals.
When growing orchids, you need to provide them with adequate light. The most common types of orchids that are kept at home are Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilum, which both require filtered light.
Ideally, you should keep orchids on a windowsill with a sheer curtain to protect your plant from harsh, direct sunlight but provide lots of bright light.
Depending on the variety, you might need to give your orchid more sunlight or less. For instance, Dendrobium, Cattleya, Oncidium, and other medium or high light orchids might have to be placed outdoors for a short period in summer.
If your orchid needs more light, you can try hanging it in a basket from a tree, so it gets more light. Otherwise, you can place artificial lights around the plant to stimulate more flower growth.
2. Root System
Think of it this way; if you have a robust root system, you will get vibrant blooms. Investigating the root of your orchid is essential even if the flowers look healthy. Sometimes, the leaves can appear strong, but the roots are suffering.
When the roots don’t receive enough oxygen, it will stop the flower from developing and limit the production of flowers. Another symptom of root problems is when the roots turn black and feel soft.
Repotting your plant is a good idea if you think the roots are in trouble.
3. Wrong Season
Each orchid species has its own time of year for blooming, so research the growing season for your particular plant. Remember that nurseries can force blooming at any time of year in order to sell plants. Just because it was blooming when you bought it, that doesn’t mean it will always bloom at that time of year.
Generally, orchids grow in summer and bloom in fall. If you’re worried about your orchids not blooming in the depth of winter, just be patient.
Most likely, you’re checking for blooms at the wrong time of year. So, give it some time, and you’ll see some lovely flowers!
4. Not Enough Natural Stimuli
Orchids are directed by their natural climate, so they know when to rebloom. If the plant isn’t given the correct amount of natural stimuli, it won’t bloom.
To help you get your orchid to rebloom, you must know how to mimic its natural environment. That’s what we’ll talk about next.
Tips for Making Your Orchid Rebloom
Try these tips at home for getting your orchid to rebloom. You might need to try several techniques before you find what your plant needs.
1. Adjust Lighting
The best location for orchids is a south-facing window covered in a sheer curtain as they will get light throughout the day. You can also mimic natural sun with artificial lights. To recreate the natural rhythm of the earth, leave them on longer in summer and less in winter.
When you check your plant, you should look at the color of the leaves. A healthy orchid that’s sufficient light will have medium to light green leaves. A new leaf should be bigger than the last one as it goes into the bloom cycle.
2. Provide Cooler Temps
Orchids need a comfortable climate if you want to see blooms. However, in order to trigger new flowers, you need to trick it into thinking that it has gone through a cool, winter period.
Placing your plant in a cold spot can trigger reblooming. The temperature should be 60°F, and you should leave it there for a few weeks. Consider placing your plant near a basement window or even in a garage where it will receive light.
You can also try opening a window at night time as this will replicate the natural transition to colder temperatures in rainforests during the night.
Even though 60°F is suitable for some orchids, other species might need even colder temps, down to 40°F. Make sure to know what your particular orchid needs.
3. Cut the Flower Spike
The flower stalk on orchids tends to only bloom once, except for a few varieties like Phalaenopsis. Once that flower spike fades, it won’t bloom again, so you can remove it.
For some orchid plants, cutting the flower spike will recharge its energy and increase the likelihood of reblooming. Just remember to wait until the blooming season has passed and cut the stalk with a pair of sterilized shears.
Once your orchid goes dormant, start feeding it with a mild, balanced fertilizer made for houseplants. Apply this once a week or every other week until blooms start forming.
When you notice the flower stalk and buds growing, stop feeding.
5. Water for Reblooming
Overwatering rarely leads to positive outcomes for orchids. You must limit the amount of moisture you give the plant to encourage reblooming.
The plant is usually dormant during the winter, so it needs less water than in the summer, but don’t let it completely dry out.
6. Give Your Plant Time To Recover
After your plant has bloomed, it takes time to recover and flower again. Some orchids, like Phalaenopsis, can rebloom several times per year, but others will only bloom once, no matter what you do.
Try not to be impatient. Nature has its own timeline.
When the climate is ideal, you can be sure that flowering will occur soon. After you provided cooler temperatures and started feeding, it should only take a month or two before you start to see a new flower spike.
7. Learn About Growth Cycle
No matter what kind of plant you’re growing, learning about the individual growth cycle is crucial when looking after new plants.
Once you discover the rhythm of your plant, you’ll be able to determine what stage your orchid is at and how to accommodate its needs best. Then, you can focus on nurturing it during growth and ensuring the flowers bloom.
8. It Might Be Bad Genes
Unfortunately, another cause for an orchid not reblooming is that it has bad genes. Although you can’t do something directly about this problem, knowing what might stop flowering in advance is helpful.
When purchasing a plant, you should always buy from a high-quality seller and double-check the standard of other plants. This will help you determine if the particular plant is healthy and if it will rebloom.
9. Look Out for Pests and Diseases
Of course, pests and diseases are often associated with a failure to rebloom. Some insects can destroy entire plants and ruin the possibility of new flowers.
No one wants their orchid to lose its beauty, so doing regular health checkups is a vital part of your caring routine.
So, what are some common pests and diseases?
There are a few main issues to be aware of when looking after orchids. Firstly, rot can prevent your plant from reblooming. To identify this disease, you will be able to see yellow, orange, or red spots appear on the leaves. Roots might have black patches or be mushy.
The most straightforward treatment for rot is to remove the infected area and reduce watering. Also, make sure your plant isn’t left in standing water. Treatment with copper fungicide can also help. Bonide makes an excellent option and you can grab it at Amazon.
Botrytis also infects orchids and can be detrimental to reblooming. The symptoms are small brown spots on your orchid flowers. Once your flowers fade, the plant is still infected and new flowers might not emerge.
Good air circulation and careful watering to avoid the leaves or allow standing water to remain are key to avoiding this problem. You’ll want to keep infected plants isolated so the disease doesn’t spread.
Watch out for aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs, as well.