Orchid fever

Don’t throw your moth orchids out when they finish flowering, encourage new flowers easily with this pruning method.

moth orchid
Moth orchid. Image: Martin Mulchinock.
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Flowering orchids make wonderful gifts and thousands are sold every Christmas. The moth orchids, (Phalaenopsis orchids) are particularly easy to grow and the flowers last for weeks on end. Don’t throw the plant out when it has finished flowering, with some careful pruning, your plant will grow fresh new flower spikes and flower several times each year.

When the last flowers on the spike have died, cut the flower stem off above this node. Image: Martin Mulchincock.

Step 1

While your orchids are still in flower take a careful look at the stem, there are nodes or eyes down the whole length of the flower stem.  Before the current flowers on your orchid have all died back, and when the sap is still flowing in the stem find the highest unflowered node on the same stalk. This is where you need to cut to remove the dead flowers above and to encourage a new stem to form.

Step 2

When the last flowers on the spike have died it’s time to act. Cut the flower stem off above this node with sharp secateurs and then move the whole plant into a cooler room. Feed your plant with a flowering, indoor plant food or mist the leaves with a special orchid mister.

Step 3

The node will start to swell and produce a side branch with more flower buds. Image: Martin Mulchinock

Keep an eye on the plant; the node will start to swell and produce a side branch with more flower buds. This is the signal to move your plant back into a prominent position in the house so you can enjoy the second flush of flowers.

When this stem has finished flowering repeat by cutting the main stem above the next unflowered node. You can continue in this way until the base of the stem is reached or if it fails to rebloom.

Step 4

When there are no more nodes to flower you can cut off the stem at the base and wait for a new flowering stem to grow. Feed your plant with a dedicated orchid plant food to encourage strong healthy growth and flowers.


Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
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