The Q&A Archives: Phalaenopsis Flower Stalks

Question: My Phalaenopsis orchid finished blooming about a month ago and I've had conflicting advice on whether or not to cut the bloom stalk. Some say just to cut off the obviously dead part, that the living portion may bloom again; others say cut the stalk down to the crown of the plant. Which is correct?
Also, I've read advice to repot rarely. I've also heard that the bark pieces begin to absorb too much water after about a year-and-a-half, and that, even if you leave the orchid in the same pot, this mixture should be changed. Help, please!

Answer: Phalaenopsis, or Moth Orchid, develops long flower sprays. If you cut a faded spray back to a node, a secondary spray may form. If you cut the stem down to the crown of the plant, no new flowers will form on that stem. I just leave part of an old stem on my plants so another set of flowers can develop from a dormant bud.

Phalaenopsis should be repotted only when growth slows and the plant is obviously potbound. Since orchids prefer moist soil, saturated bark shouldn't affect them. I would repot, using fresh potting mix, only when the plant has definitely outgrown its container.

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