Magnificent, but rather capricious, orchids require special care and attention. Although there are several thousand varieties, some are less demanding than others. This is the case of the most common variety: Phalaenopsis which is as easy to grow as a cactus!
Have you ever found your beautiful orchid with the bare stem of all its flowers? In a panic, you probably thought: “That’s it! My orchid is dying”. Well, it’s not! Most orchids only bloom once a year, most often in spring. Luckily, Phalaenopsis can bloom more than once a year, but should we give it the chance? Here are 4 tips to help you take care of your orchid:
1.Take advantage of indirect light
Orchids need sunlight, but prefer indirect light near a window to the east or west. During the winter (November to April), place your orchid near a window for maximum light. During the summer period (May to October), the sun’s rays can be very strong. It is therefore preferable to keep your plants away from your windows or use a light veil to create shade and filter the light.
2.Provide an adequate temperature
Orchids prefer humid environments and do not tolerate intense heat very well. It is therefore necessary to avoid positioning them near heating systems. Be aware that the normal temperature of our interiors is perfectly suitable for orchids, but they prefer a slight drop at night.
Did you know that it is also possible to take your orchids outside during the summer? In fact, once the risk of frost is removed (between June 15 and September 15), some orchids like to enjoy a sunbath outside under an umbrella. Temperatures are adequate and the umbrella protects from direct sunlight. All you have to do is watch the watering.
Excessive watering is the main cause of orchid failure as it often causes root rot. The key is to water without wetting the heart of the foliage about once a week. Be sure to drain the pot well and avoid leaving water in the saucer or your decorative pot. The best for orchids is to prioritize soaking (bathing the roots) with warm water for 15 to 30 minutes to completely moisten the root system.
- Tip: When the roots of your orchid are greyish and dull, it’s time to water. If, on the contrary, the roots are green and bright, then your plant does not need water!
4.Fertilize with a sprayer
Fertilization is highly recommended, from spring to fall, to make your orchid bloom. Opt for a fertilizer to be sprayed once a week to provide nutrients and instant moisture. Spray on the roots, stem or leaves, but never on the flowers, as this may damage them.
It is best to repot your orchids every two or three years to keep them healthy. Plan to repot when the roots are piling up at the base of the pot or if they are trying to get out.
During repotting, if you notice that the roots are brown or very dry, prune them. Be careful not to injure other living parts of the plant near the roots.
To learn more about repotting techniques, watch the video in our article: Repotting your orchids [link to https://www.fafard.ca/how-to-repot-your-orchids/].
How to encourage a second flowering in autumn?
- Cut the stem 1 cm above the third node (bulge on the stem) from the base of the plant when your orchid is completely devoid of flowers. This technique will stimulate the formation of a shorter, secondary stem, which will then produce new flowers.
- Place your plant in a cool room at about 15°C for 3 weeks. This will allow a resting period to your orchid to make it bloom again. Then, reduce the frequency of watering every 2 weeks to increase your chances of success.
- Return the orchid to its initial environment, i.e. install it again near a bright window and wait a few weeks to see it bloom a second time!