Because of their gorgeous flowers, orchids are generally kept for ornamental purposes. When they bloom, their bright and beautiful flowers light up the whole place.
However, when their flowers fall off, and you are left with just the leaves and stems, it’s like an entirely different plant.
The beauty of orchids lie in their flowers, but it is tough to maintain their exotic flowers all year round. Most times, you can keep them for 6-8 weeks before they fall off again and leave your plants bare.
What Time of Year Do Orchids Lose Their Flowers?
If you are going to keep orchids, you have to understand their blooming cycle. Just like every other flowering plant, orchids do not flower all year round.
There life cycle of an orchid is between 9-14 months, and if it survives its life cycle, it reblooms once in every 8 to 12 months. It usually takes about three months for an orchid to flower. Unlike many plants, many species of orchids are fall bloomers.
Some other species are winter and spring bloomers. Most blooms last approximately up to 6 weeks before they fall. Thus, depending on when they bloom fully and the type of orchid, orchids lose their flowers in winter, summer, or spring.
Some orchids bloom more than once in a year, and these are usually the rare species. For instance, Vanda orchids bloom two to three times a year. However, the popular species like the Phalaenopsis or moth orchids, the cattleya, and cymbidium orchids only bloom once a year.
One thing is, however, certain with orchids – expect those flowers to fall at least once in a year.
What to Do When They Lose Their Flowers
Some people get rid of their orchids once the flowers fall off. They find it challenging to get the plant to rebloom and would instead buy a new blooming orchid. This is a total waste, and one thing you should never do when the flowers fall off is get rid of your orchids.
Orchids are exotic plants with or without their flowers. Also, they are known for their virility and fertility. You must have noticed one or two grocery stores or garden stores displaying bare orchids for sale. Well, that is because they know that under the right conditions, a bare orchid will rebloom and thrive.
Also, some people appreciate the bare beauty of these plants and now buy them in their bare state.
Thus, when purchasing orchids, you should have a plan for when their flowers fall off. Are you going to discard them or nurture them until they bloom?
When the flowers fall off your orchids, it’s not the end of the journey for your plants. You can always nurture them to trigger reblooming. Orchids are generous with reblooming and will reward your care with lovely flowers in no time. Here is how to take care of your orchids to trigger reblooming.
Cut Dead Stems and Nodes
Although the flowers fall off naturally when they are done blooming, the process entails typically withering of stems and nodes. Therefore, you should cut the dead stems and nodes after the flowers fall.
A common symptom of withering stems and flowers is that they begin to turn brown or yellow. Thus, you can easily spot them and cut them off. This will encourage new growth of healthy stems that may eventually bear lovely flowers.
These dead stems will not produce any fresh flowers and may inhibit further growth. Thus, it’s best to get rid of them to encourage healthy growth.
Water Your Orchids Frequently
Orchids need as much water when they have no flowers as they do when they have flowers. Thus, you should not stop watering your plants because they do not have flowers anymore.
You should come up with a schedule for watering your plants and water consistently for the best results. It is recommended that you water every week or two. You should also look out for signs of the absence of moisture. You can feel the topsoil, and if it feels dry, then your plant needs to drink.
It is advisable to plant orchids in a grower’s pot with drainage holes. This way, you would be watering correctly. You can put it under a slow running tap for some seconds and ensure that you let the water sink in. The excess water will be drained out. When doing this, avoid watering the leaves or flower buds. You should only water the soil.
You can also try the ice cube method by simply dropping 3-4 ice cubes on the plant container for a week. This is about the right amount of water that an orchid needs weekly, and many gardeners have gotten great results with this method.
Make sure you observe the plants occasionally to see its reaction to the moisture. Watch out for new spikes and nodes and your schedule accordingly.
Fertilize Your Orchids
Orchids need the essential nutrients to blossom. You should, therefore, feed them frequently to trigger reblooming. If you apply a fertilizer with the right nutrient content, your orchids will rebloom in no time. However, you should be careful not to over-fertilize. This is a thing as most people go on a fertilizing spree in a bid to trigger reblooming.
You should place more emphasis on the type of fertilizer you use instead. Urea-free fertilizers are recommended as they will give your plants a nutrient boost. Alternatively, you can opt for standard balanced houseplant fertilizers or organic fertilizers.
For frequency, it is advisable to do this biweekly. However, you can do so monthly or weekly if you observe that your plants want more or fewer fertilizers.
Create the Right Temperature for Your Orchids
Orchids have various temperature preferences. Some orchids bloom in warm temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 75 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime.
Some others thrive well at an intermediate temperature, which is typically 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Others perform well in cold temperatures, which is about 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 60 to70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
Therefore, you should understand the temperature requirements for your orchids and try to recreate that, especially if you are growing your plant indoors. A good way to do this is by putting them by the window.
This way, they can benefit from the rise and drop in temperature during the day and night. If you are growing your orchids outdoors, you can create the right temperature by keeping them under a shade.
If you want your plants to rebloom, you should avoid extreme temperature changes. If your plants were performing well outdoors, do not bring them indoors. Plants get used to the temperature in their environment, and a sudden change can stall their growth.
If you notice no new spikes after a while, you can consider changing the environment, but this should be a last resort.
Repot Your Orchids
When the flowers fall off your orchids, the stems and roots that bore the flowers die. Thus, one primary reason why you should repot your orchids is to eliminate dead roots and create space for new growth. Also, some orchids outgrow their pots, and this may inhibit further growth if not repotted.
Roots grow further and may begin to creep out of their containers if they do not find a space to grow. You may also need to change your potting mix to improve its nutrient content.
Ensure That Your Orchids Get Enough Light
Orchids are best kept in areas with indirect sunlight. They need the right amount of light to bloom. They may get scorched if they are exposed to more light than they actually need and can also die.
It will be difficult for your plants to bloom under such circumstances. They have to struggle to retain enough moisture to survive the harsh impact of the sun and will, therefore, not be looking forward to blooming. If you are growing your orchids outdoors, you can provide some sort of shelter so that they do not get exposed to direct sunlight.
However, if your plants are indoors, you have to struggle to ensure that they get the right amount of sunlight. You can keep your orchids on the windows or make use of fluorescent light to regulate their exposure to light.
However, ensure that the window is not positioned away from the sun. You should keep your orchids on a north or east side facing the window for the best results.
With the above tips, you can nurture your orchids until they produce elegant flowers. Orchids are beautiful plants, and they always reward their owners with beautiful flowers if they are appropriately cared for. While it may be frustrating to watch your flowers fall off. It is equally very refreshing to watch them bloom again.
If you exercise patience and put in the right effort, you will be happy with the results. Once you master the art of triggering reblooms, you will never discard any of your orchids when their flowers fall off again.