How To Care For An Orchid After Flowering
Typically, when you purchase a live potted orchid plant, it will already have open blooms. In addition, it may be sporting some buds that will soon reveal an extraordinary flower. But, unfortunately, these flowers do not last forever, and they will drop off, leaving the leaves and stem.
Bare orchids do not mean that your plant is in trouble, though. Often, an orchid plant will only flower once or twice a year. Alternatively, with the proper care and maintenance, you may be lucky enough to see blossoms two or three times a year when the conditions are right.
You must provide your plant with the best environment possible so it will continue to thrive through the years. Some essential care tips for your orchid plant are:
-Water once per week
-Allow adequate sunlight exposure
-Prune as needed
-Repot if necessary
Water Once Per Week
Orchids need to water around once a week, depending on their size and pot. They should have drainage so the roots are not sitting in moisture, which can create root rot. You should not let them dry out too much in between waterings, though.
You can water your orchid in a few different ways. Always remember to use distilled water for your plant and not tap water. Otherwise, your plant may take in minerals or additives that are harmful.
-Soaking in water for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain thoroughly and replace into the pot
-Use one or two ice cubes per plant twice a week for a slower watering method
-Pouring small amounts of water over the base, not the leaves, ensuring there is no standing water after
Allow Adequate Sunlight Exposure
Orchids will thrive in perfect lighting conditions. However, you should ensure they are in a room with plenty of indirect sunlight. When they sit in direct sunlight, the leaves can suffer burns and cause damage to your plant.
Do not allow your orchid to sit in a window with direct sunlight. Instead, place it elsewhere in the room to receive ample light from reflection off of walls and other surfaces. Your orchid flower should receive at least six hours of indirect sunlight each day for optimal growth.
Orchids can be finicky plants if the climate is not up to their standards. These plants need to be in a room without drafts and a moderate amount of humidity. If you live in a dry climate, you can still have a healthy orchid by lightly misting it once a week with distilled water.
Some orchid species will react well when placed in a slightly cooler location during the evening hours. This moderate change in temperature can encourage blooming.
Using adequate food is essential for the proper growth of your orchid flower plant. You can use liquid food to pour over the base and root system sparingly or freeze it into ice cubes as part of the watering routine.
If you use feeding ice cubes, there is no need for extra watering during that time. Otherwise, you may risk your plant being too wet and sitting in water.
You do not want to over-fertilize your orchid flower. Otherwise, you can cause burning or other damaging effects. On the other hand, it is better to under-fertilize your plant than feed it too often. Typically, you will provide your orchid feed once or twice per month as necessary.
Prune As Needed
Orchid flowers can remain on the stems for up to 12 weeks before they begin to fall. Once they drop off, the plant will have bare spikes on the stem. Knowing when to prune your orchid plant will help it focus on providing essential nutrients to areas that need regrowth rather than dead parts.
As a general rule, if the stem is green, it is still thriving, and you can leave it alone. However, if it is brown or yellow and feels dry, brittle, or hollow, you should remove it. Use sharp shears or a knife to gently trim away any dead or dying areas of your plant’s leaves, stems, or roots.
Make cuts on an angle rather than a blunt, straight-across cut. An angle will promote future healthy growth, whereas a sharp, blunt cut will stagnate the stem and stop any future buds. Where to prune on your plant will depend on if it is your first time or a subsequent time making cuts and if the plant area is thriving or dead.
Caring For An Orchid Flower
Orchid flower plants may look delicate, but they can be extremely hardy plants with the right growing conditions. With a careful watch, your orchid will show signs that it may need more or less water, better lighting or humidity, and even additional feedings.
By properly caring for an orchid flower, you are sure to enjoy its exquisite blooms within the year. Learn more by taking one of our gardening classes.