The Q&A Archives: Moth Orchids

Question: My orchid has just dropped off all its flowers, now I have an empty stem. What do I do with the long stem, do you cut it or just leave it alone and will more flowers come. As you can guess I'm a new orchid grower.

Answer: We all have to start somewhere and Phalaenopsis orchids are excellent plants for a beginning orchid grower. Flowers of the Phalaenopsis Orchid have superb longevity. You can often urge a second flowering from each spike with a timely pruning.

When the last flower of the spike fades, you should examine the spike, looking for small fleshy bumps or nodes. From the base of the spike count out 3 nodes (count only the green fleshy nodes - ignore any that are dried out). Cut the spike one inch above the third node.

If your plant is healthy and the season is not too late, this process will wake up one or two of the nodes and in a few short weeks it may produce a new spray of fresh blooms. By trying this you could enjoy flowers for nearly 6 months of the year on the same plant.

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