Tag: orchid

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 die-hard 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.

Orchid Rebloom

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 a night temperature of 65°F. (In your home works perfectly fine.) 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.

Phalaenopsis Orchids

If you’re like me, caring for something as delicate looking as an orchid can be intimidating, but these plants are surprising little creatures. They can be some of the easiest and most beautiful houseplants to grow.

Orchids are a vast and elegant family. There are some thirty-five thousand naturally occurring species from all over the world. The family is divided into four major groups based on whether they grow in trees, on rocks, decaying vegetation or in sand.

If you’re a beginner at growing orchids, I recommend that you start with the Phalaenopsis orchid. They produce spectacular sprays of blooms in solid or variegated, white, pink, lavender, yellow and even red. When you select one go for a plant with healthy foliage and mature flower buds rather than open blooms.

Phalaenopsis Orchid
The reason the Phalaenopsis orchid is a favorite houseplant of mine is that it will take low light conditions and when it comes to temperature, if you’re comfortable, it is too. Phalaenopsis enjoy a temperature range similar to what we prefer, about 70 to 80 degrees during the day, but a bit cooler at night. This makes them the perfect companions in our homes.

When it comes to soil, orchids really don’t grow in soil at all. They grow in the bark of fir trees and some growers like to create a blend of fifty-fifty fir bark and lava rock.

Now when it comes to feeding, orchids are light eaters. You only need to fertilize them with twenty-five percent of the recommended amount on a liquid fertilizer label. And they should be fed about every other week. Orchids hate salt build-up from fertilizer so it’s important to wash that out when you water.

If growing something this beautiful has seemed out of the question for you, you should really give Phalaenopsis orchid a try. I think you’ll be surprised at how easy and enjoyable they are to have around.