The Q&A Archives: orchids

Question: I have two orchid plants from home depot and they flowered beautifully. Now the flowers are falling off. What do i do for them to rebloom? and my leaves are a drooping and are not a bright green anymore... what does that mean?

Answer: Orchids need very well-drained medium to grow in, so I'd pot them in orchid soil mixed with bark chips. They also like to be crowded in the container, so don't repot to a larger size. Grow them in bright, filtered light (or under a grow light) for 10-15 hours per day, fertilize lightly during the growing season and keep the root medium moist. Temperatures should be about 70 during the day and 60 at night. Mist the plant daily, or increase humidity by placing the pot on a tray of pebbles to which you add tepid water every few days. Keep the water level in the tray below the base of the pot, or else the soil may become waterlogged, and cause root rot.

With most orchids you should cut off flowering stems near the base once the blooms have faded. With Phalaenopsis the stem should be cut a little below the bottom flower so that it will be able to flower again on the same stalk. So, depending upon what kind of orchid you have, you'll either cut only the spent flower off and leave the stem so it can rebloom, or you will cut the entire flower stem off the plant.

The drooping leaves can indicate either overly wet soils or lack of light (see above).

Enjoy your orchids!

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