Moth Orchids – Post Bloom
I have had many people ask me what they should do with their moth orchid after it is done blooming. Your beautiful blooming orchid that you purchased will rebloom for you if you follow a few simple steps that are outlined below. I just had one finish blooming myself, so this is perfect timing to teach you about orchid care after bloom! You really have 3 total options (keep scrolling to see pictures for illustrations). You may ask yourself how long do orchids rest. It depends on the orchid, but most moth orchids will bloom once a year (although each bloom will last 3-5 months!) I had one moth orchid in bloom for a solid 5 months!
Option 1 is to just leave the whole stem in tact! I’ve never done this. The flower spike may continue to grow some buds at the tip, but the stem will grow longer, will look ungainly and the flowers will be smaller. Bleh. Not the best option.
Option 2 is to snip the bloom spike right above one of the nodes on the spike. You’ll see a node every few inches on the flower spike. The nodes are very noticeable on the spike and will look like little bumps covered with a little triangular pointed covering. See picture below:
Count one or two nodes below where the bottom flower was/is located and snip it right above that node but leave a little room so you’re not cutting too close to the node. Sometimes your orchid will branch off with new flower spikes right at a node and will continue to bloom. This may not always happen so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t! If you start to see that the entire flower spike is starting to turn brown and dry up, it is time to cut the whole damn stem off (see picture in Option 3).
Option 3 is the option that I recommend and do the most frequently. Just cut the whole damn spike off. Your plant will thank you. Your plant has bloomed its heart out, and it needs time to regenerate itself and prepare itself for blooming next year. You don’t want to poop your plant out. Right after your orchid is done blooming, just cut the whole stem off (see picture below):
Take a pair of sharp scissors (sterilizing the tip would be a good idea…either in a flame or with rubbing alcohol) and snip the whole spike off as close to the bottom of the plant as possible, without damaging any leaves. After this point, your plant should start growing more roots and a new leaf. If you’ve had your plant on display somewhere in your house while in bloom, like I always do, return your plant to a window and let it do its thing. If you’ve left your plant next to a window during its bloom, then leave it there. See my blog post titled “Intro to Growing Orchids” for more tips, but I’ll reiterate that east windows are ideal for moth orchids. They are among the lower light orchids, but the morning sun is gentle enough on them and will provide enough light for strong growth. Continue to water and lightly fertilize weekly. Summering your orchid outside will work wonders for your plant, but wait until the nighttime temperatures stay consistently above the low 50s Fahrenheit.
Also, right after your moth orchid is done blooming is the perfect time to repot your orchid! Click HERE to read my blog post on how, when, and how to repot your moth orchid. And click HERE for some general growing tips on moth orchids. Enjoy the orchid obsession! Because once it starts, there is no looking back…