When To Trim The Spent Flower Spike?

by Bill Smith

We purchased our first Orchid (Phalaenopsis), this last September whilst it was still blooming.

Flowers have now all fallen from the two stems (near 2ft in height), and was wondering whether to now cut-back the two stems to encourage new growth. I have no idea as to how many times a year to expect new blooms.

Would be most grateful for any assistance.

Bill Smith.

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Jan 21, 2012
Two Choices Of When To Cut A Spent Flower Spike On A Phalaenopsis
by: Melissa

Hi Bill, Thanks so much for your question.

Please let me apologize for the long delay in answering.

Your question was about when to cut a spent flower spike on a Phalaenopsis. Phalaenopsis orchids are a wonderful choice so let me commend you for picking that kind of orchid to start your orchid growing journey.

I love Phalaenopsis. They are are great beginner orchids.

You have essentially two ways to go. If you have not already cut off the stems and if the stems are still alive. You can cut the stem just above the crown by a centimeter. If the conditions are right (light, water, humidity, temperature) then you might expect your orchid to be in a growth mode starting in the early spring. It would be growing a new leaf from the center of the crown.

Typically if the plant is happy and its needs are met it will start initiating a spike in the late fall or early winter but since your plant was in full flower in September I would not expect that to happen now. But in a normal year it will spike at that time and usually begin to open buds in the spring time. Sometimes into the summer depending on growing conditions.

Sometimes if the spent flower stem is still alive (green or brown) not dried brown, then you can cut the stem just above a node (little bump on the stem). Often the plant will push a new flower spike from that node. This is a little harder on the plant but if the plant is healthy then it is a more reliable way to get a blossom.

Both ways are acceptable ways of dealing with the flower spike. If it is still on the plant and green, cut it above the node. If it is dead, cut it near the crown. And please accept my apologies for not answering in a more timely fashion.

If you would like more information on how to grow and re-bloom these lovely orchids please go to my page on Phalaenopsis orchid care at http://www.orchids-plus-more.com/phalaenopsis-orchid-care.html

Good luck and all the best,


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