OrchidsOrnamental PlantsPlant Care Instructions

Giving an Orchid a Haircut

Grooming orchids is lot like grooming kids. It’s not only for appearance sake; they also need it to stay healthy. In fact, a well groomed orchid will be better at producing flowers in the next blooming cycle compared to one that has not been groomed.

Unlike most plants, most orchids do not need regular pruning. In fact, some species do not need pruning at all. Phalaenopsis orchids, for example, only need to be groomed at least once a year. The other species only need pruning when they have broken stems and such.

Cutting them correctly and knowing the best time to do this is essential. If done incorrectly, the plant may lose its blooms entirely and can even die. To help you know the proper time for pruning, here are a few tips:

After Flowering

The best time for an orchid to be pruned is after they flower. When the blooms start to dry and wilt, then you can bring out your tools. Cutting them immediately will stimulate the orchid to grow new leaves. This in turn will aid in the production of food, which will result in vibrant and sturdy flowers next blooming season.

Be sure though that when you do this that your tools are sterilized. Cleaning them with bleach or ordinary rubbing alcohol for a few minutes or so will eliminate the risk for bacterial and fungal infection. Cut the stem just above its node; cutting any lower than this can kill the plant.

Another sign your orchid needs pruning is when the stalk starts to dry and turn yellow. This means that the plant can no longer produce flowers. Immediately cut them to invigorate the plant and prepare it for the next season.

The Roots

Another part of the orchid that needs pruning is the roots. This is especially needed when repotting. Cutting the roots will stimulate new growth and allow better absorption of nutrients from the soil and air, since most orchids feed of through the roots.

When not repotting, you can check the roots by gently lifting the plant from the pot. Then cut away the dead and rotten roots. Healthy roots are gray in color, while dead and rotten ones are yellowish to brown.

If you follow these orchid care tips, you will have a healthy orchid with vibrant and beautiful blooms next blooming season. Remember, never prune them at the wrong time or you may have orchids with no flowers or even worse, dead ones.

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