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A Guide to Pruning Phalaenopsis Orchids

December 17, 2012

The bloom cycle of Phalaenopsis orchids usually lasts two to four months. If you want your orchid to bloom a second time within a year, you can prune its stem at the end of its blooming cycle. Other kinds of pruning, such as root pruning and leaf pruning, can help you provide better care for your Phals. We’ve put together some instructions below for you to follow as you prune Phalaenopsis orchids:

Stem Pruning

Stem pruning should only be done to mature Phalaenopsis orchids that have a minimum foliage height of 12 inches. You can start pruning an orchid after it has completed its blooming cycle and has no visible buds. Use a clean sharp knife or a pair of garden clippers to prune the top portion of the stem. Cut the stem back to one inch above a "node", a triangular shaped area on the stem. The purpose of this type of pruning is to encourage the orchid to grow a new stem section, which may rebloom in three or four months’ time.

Leaf Pruning

The leaves of an orchid can blacken because of a number of reasons, including fungal and bacterial diseases, over-fertilizing, and hard water. Use a sterile sharp knife or blade to trim parts of the leaves that have blackened.

Root Pruning

Pruning the roots of your Phalaenopsis orchid can help it grow more healthily. When you are repotting your orchid, look for unhealthy roots and prune them with a pair of scissors or clippers. Unhealthy roots are those that are brown and mushy.

The best time to prune your Phalaenopsis orchid is late in the fall season, when the flower spike is becoming yellow and the plant has stopped blooming. Check out our website for more reblooming tips.

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