Many people who are new to Phalaenopsis orchid growing make the mistake of believing that once their beautiful orchid has stopped flowering, that it is dead or dying. An orchid is not like cut flowers. Despite their long life on the spike, eventually the blooms must fall and the beautiful Phalaenopsis orchid will enter a state of rest. During the time a Phalaenopsis orchid is resting, important nutrients and water are replaced throughout the plant. This is also the time in which the leaves on the Phalaenopsis orchid will store additional water and nutrients that the plant will need for future growth and reblooming efforts.
Orchid Leaves During Resting Phase
The Phalaenopsis orchid expends a great deal of energy to maintain its beautiful flowers for as long as it does. Therefore, don’t be surprised if your Phalaenopsis orchid rests for six to nine months. During this time, the leaves on the orchid should remain green and healthy looking. Leaves that appear to look wilted, yellow, wrinkled or spotted are an indication that the orchid plant is in trouble and in need of special attention.
Stages of New Orchid Growth
After a time of rest, orchid owners who cut the spike back to a node will see a new spike emerging from the node. Owners who cut the spike back to the crown of the plant will see a spike emerging from between the leaves.
Some Phalaenopsis orchids will easily bloom on their own while others will need a bit of help to trigger reblooming. After the orchid stops blooming, use a balanced houseplant fertilizer (10-10-10 or 20-20-20) mixed only at half strength to help encourage reblooming. On the weeks that you fertilize the orchid, do not use ice cubes or water on your Phalaenopsis orchids. Moving the orchid to an area where it is exposed to cooler temperatures will often trigger a new spike to emerge. Once the spike emerges, the orchid can be returned to its normal location.