Orchid Care Before and After Blooming

by Mary Ann

Orchids which are given good care before and after blooming will continue on the path of their growth cycle and bloom again. Many people fear that their orchids won’t re-bloom, but this fear is unfounded if you follow some basics of orchid care.

Begin by purchasing a plant that is mature and has already bloomed once or is in the process of blooming.

That way you guarantee a basic degree of success and should not have an orchid which never blooms. It is your efforts at orchid care which will be rewarded with its next period of flower production.

So, let’s look at some of the basics of orchid care before blooming…

Orchids need a goodly amount of water but not too much water. It depends on the kind of orchid you have that determines how much is enough.

For instance, some orchids should get very dry before watering while others should not. If you have a moth orchid, which is one of the easiest to grow, the soil should not get overly dry nor should it ever be soggy.

The situation is much the same with orchid care and humidity.

Depending on the species of orchid you have, necessary humidity levels can vary from forty to seventy percent. Most orchids tend to be on the higher end of this spectrum as they grow wild in the tropics.

You need to find out what humidity level is needed for your specific type and then meet it. If you have a plant that needs lots of humidity and warm air but live in a cold location, you could try growing orchids in a glass home, such as a terrarium.

A terrarium, greenhouse, or other type of shelter can also help you maintain the correct temperature levels for your orchids. Again, the species of orchid will determine its favorite temperatures but a general range is sixty-five to eighty degrees. Cooler temperatures by ten or fifteen degrees overnight will aid the plant in flowering abundantly.

Bright light is also a blooming requirement although that doesn’t mean hours of direct summer sun.

Sunburn and scalding can be problems for orchids which receive too much direct sunlight. Inside, you can experiment with windows, especially those facing south or you can use the terrarium or enclosure approach where you can place florescent lighting.

If you get the light just right, your orchid’s foliage will be yellowish and not dark green. Dark green means too little light and under these conditions, the orchid may not bloom.

Blooms are also dependant on a plant well-fed with plenty of fertilizer.

You need to fertilize orchids every couple weeks. In most cases, use a very diluted mixture. The decision is yours whether it be organic or synthetic, such as 10-10-10, 30-10-10, or 10-10-30, but don’t let the fertilizer burn the plant.

Plants are dormant for several weeks after blooming. Continue to care for your orchid normally during this time.

Depending on the type of orchid, you may need to cut off the flower stem and surrounding sheath. Other orchids do not need the stem trimmed at all. Be sure to know which orchid you have and its post-bloom process.

If your orchid has been in the same pot for two years or more, it is time to repot during the period in-between blooming.

It may be too large for its pot or the medium in which it is planted may have overly decomposed. Be gentle and repot the orchid in osmunda fiber, fir bark, gravel, peat moss, or another material good for growing orchids.

This should give it a good start on its next period of growth and new blooms.

28 Responses
  1. emily permalink

    thanks for the information on how to bloom my orchids..it may help me a lot.

  2. Hi Mary Ann, it’s enligtening to receive your articles again.
    I stronger agree with you that it’s neccessary to repot orchid that has been in the same pot for two years or more.Decomposition of the medium has taken place in the pot. Rotting may take place from inside the pot upward. When this condition persists, the possibility of losing the plant is very high.It’s sad to lose a priced cultivar.
    Best regards.

  3. Andre permalink

    Brilliant thanks many stil to learn, i enjoyed it

  4. Elvira permalink

    My brother who lives in New York has several orchids indoor. When I visited him last week, one of his oncidiums appear to be okay, but it has curled leaves and curled drying backbulbs. It has been with him for a long time and has not rebloomed since he bought it. I repotted the plant and discovered that the medium used was sphagnum moss all throughout. The roots are soggy and soft, near rotting. I changed the medium to orchid potting mix (commercial) and removed the sphagnum moss. In the Philippines where I grow orhids, I use sphagnum moss, the same as that in his oncidium, only for decoration on dish gardens, or ground cover for plants on containers. There are many kinds of orchhids medium which are available in our place, but I have never came across orchids planted with sphagnum moss as mediun before. My question is: Is that sphagnum moss the same as the peat moss you mentioned in your article?

    Your articles are very informative and I really enjoy reading them. I will soon reside here in Virginia and I am really quite sad that I may not be able to enjoy an orchid garden like that one I have in the Philippines, where I grow cattleyas on trees, mostly palm trees; and vandas on drift woods. Morever, I have yet to learn how to grow orchids here in America.

    Thank you.

  5. Davetheorchidaddict permalink

    I use potting mix that does not degrade to the orchids stay in the same pot for years giving them a chance to grow into large beautiful specimen plants. I have found that some of the ones that I repot take at least one year to get over the shock and start putting out new growth and bloom.

  6. Mary Ann permalink*

    Hi everyone!

    Thanks for all your comments. I appreciate your participation in our community here. To answer you, Elvira, no. Peat moss is a different medium than the sphagnum moss. 🙂

    Please keep an eye open for my latest article. I love seeing your comments!


  7. anon permalink

    I use prime agra – its semi hydroponic medium and have almost all my orchids in it as it does not degrade. The prime agra is much more than normal potting medium but i mix in some perlite chunks and charcoal and my orchids are all growing out of their pots and headed to specimen plants. They all have recovered after some had terrible ordeals being in sphagnum moss which either dried out too fast, or stayed far too moist. After repotting all my orchids are growing like weeds- I chopped a few up into small pieces as the bases were rotting from being in spahnum moss- which is peat moss but usually has organic components and perlite mixed in. I repotted almost everything in prime agra and grow in a 75 gallon aquarium under glow panels which are led lights with the right combination of red and blue light but are also next to the southern windows which let in direct sun almost 8 months a year and they all adapt to direct sun when they get it and are all very strong and healthy. The plants bloom on almost all regular basis unless they can bloom more than once a year like my phals which have rebloomed on the same stems or spikes about 3-4 times now. Everything else has bloomed at least once and is well on the way to another later this season or early next year.

  8. susan beck permalink

    Thanks I’am really learning very day and your website is very helpful.

  9. Mary Ann permalink*

    Thank you so much! I’m thrilled to hear it! – Mary Ann

  10. Brenda Bridgett permalink

    Just finished your book and joined this blog!! Thank you for your willingness to share your wisdom of growing orchids. I am only 6wks into growing this variety. One flower was at the verytip of a stalk. Second stalk has five flowers. How do I care for the stem that now tall without any flowers? Thanks so much!

  11. Mary Ann permalink*

    Thanks for your comment. 🙂 We are happy to have you.

    Plants are dormant for several weeks after blooming. Continue to care for your orchid normally during this time.

    Since you still have flowers, I would let the blooming cycle carry on until the last flower fades. Then you should do a search for your particular type of orchid to see how to handle the next steps. 🙂

    – Mary Ann

  12. Kathy permalink

    Do you cut off all of the stems that are not blooming? If so, when?

  13. Aline permalink

    I have a lot of orchid cactus plants and during the summer in NJ they are hung in my cherry tree (after it has been sprayed with diluted dormant oil).

    I just got two new orchid plants and wonder if I can put them outside also in the summer months? One is labeled (Blc Delta King x Yellow imp) x Blc Daffodil ‘Green Valley,, the other one is the type that grows on tree bark, but mine is potted. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for all your information.

  14. Mary Ann permalink

    There isn’t a reason to do that unless the stems look like they are dying.

  15. Mary Ann permalink

    Those are both cattleyas, so you can grow them outside in a shaded spot. – Mary Ann

  16. Brenda L. Baker permalink

    Needed this information badly and will be coming back for more!

  17. leroy permalink

    the plant height stays same but leaves triple in length has tendasee 2 lay on top of neighboring leaves have cut off botton leaves in northern Illinois & colder weather approaching HELP

  18. Mary Ann permalink

    Thank you for visiting! 🙂 Glad it was helpful! – Mary Ann

  19. Mary Ann permalink

    What kind of plant is it? That might just be how it grows. It’s difficult to say without knowing the type of plant. 🙂 – Mary Ann

  20. Liz Butler permalink

    I am not sure what kind of Orchid I have and I am trying to find out if I need to cut the stalks back after blocking or not. How do I find this out?

  21. Liz Butler permalink

    Sorry, there was a typo. It should have said “bloomimng” not blocking.
    Thanks so much!

  22. jeanette permalink

    my orchid has bloomed and now 6or 7 stalks are coming out of the plant, do I leave it alone or do I trim some of the stalks?

  23. jeanette permalink

    don’t know what kind of orchid it is- was a gift. leaves are dark green so it needs more light, otherwise it looks very healthy. i give it 2 icecubes a week.

  24. Angela permalink

    Hi! Could you please tell me the proper care for my having accidentally broken off the tip of a soon to be flowering stalk? It was only about 6″ tall when I broke it while trying to tie it to a rod to keep it straight. (I learned that the tip it is very delicate.) 🙁
    I’m guessing I should cut the stalk off above a node?
    Thank you!

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