The Q&A Archives: Orchid help

Question: I have an orchid that is the phalaenopsis breed, and all the blooms have fallen off. Will they return? How shoul I care for the orchid at this point?

Answer: Most growers cut back the flower stalk (called inflorescence) after blooming to allow the plant to rest. The belief is that the next flower spike will be stronger. For phaleaenopsis orchids, some growers induce a secondary flower spike by cutting just above dormant buds that are located below the lowest flower on the stem. Sometimes, a small baby plant (called a keiki) will develop instead. Leave it until roots develop and then it can be removed and potted.

Phalaenopsis Orchids are wonderful houseplants! Here are a few general care rules: Orchids need ample humidity, so put the pot on a pebble-filled tray and keep water in it. Also keep thesoil moist. When watering, use tepid, not cold water. Mist the leaves occasionally. Orchids need 10-15 hours of bright light each day, but keep them out of direct sunlight. They prefer daytime temperatures of about 70F in summer and 60F in winter, with a 10 degree drop at night. Keep them out of cold drafts, feed them during the summer months with a low nitrogen fertilizer, and let them become pot-bound (they flower more freely when their toes are pinched).
I hope this information helps!

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