The end of an orchid’s life cycle is commonly misunderstood. That's why one of the most searched questions about orchid care is, “Is my orchid dead?”
Fortunately the answer is usually “no”—you just have a dormant orchid.
Much like mammals hibernate, orchids spend a period of their life cycle dormant or resting.
Dormant orchids usually lose their flowers and leaves in the winter months to prepare for blooming in the spring and summer. Although dormant orchids don’t produce flowers, taking care of your orchid during its resting stage is important for reblooming in the future.
Here are some pro dormant orchid care tips to encourage regrowth.
Watering Schedule for Dormant Orchids
You may think that because your orchid isn’t flourishing with vibrant, colorful flowers that maintaining your watering schedule is unimportant, but this is far from the truth. Your plant is alive, well and just as thirsty! Continue watering as usual, three ice cubes a week for a regular size plant and one for mini orchids. Watering gives your plant the fuel it needs for reblooming.
Fertilizing Dormant Orchids
Dormant orchids still need nutrients, even in their stage of rest. Fertilizing your resting orchid is crucial for reblooming. Unlike other houseplants, orchids don’t receive their nutrients from their soil; rather, they soak up the nutrients from fertilizers and their potting medium. Fertilizer acts as energy that powers regrowth. For optimum reblooming, fertilize your orchid every two weeks or once a month with a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20 or 10-10-10) mixed at half strength. Do not water your orchid on the weeks you fertilize.
Where To Place Dormant Orchids In Your House
During dormancy, make sure to provide plenty of indirect sunlight for your orchid plants. Your plant craves the warmth and light from the sun, but too much direct sunlight can kill your orchid plants in any stage of their life cycle. Add sheer curtains to your windows to give your plant the perfect amount of sunshine!
Once your orchid petals have all fallen off, you must remove the flower spike with a sterile knife to prevent infection. Once you’ve made a clean cut, apply a fungicide directly onto it. If you want to try a natural fungicide, sprinkle cinnamon onto the pruning cut to prevent fungus growth.
Your orchids receive nutrients from its potting medium, so repotting your orchid in a larger plastic pot will help it continue to grow. You should repot your plant every 1-2 years. If your potting medium begins to give a foul odor, repot immediately!
Waiting for your orchid to rebloom can take months. Not only do blooms fall off during dormancy, the orchid stem may dry and turn brown, and orchid leaves take on a dull and faded appearance and may become limp and flat. During your wait, you can dress your orchid to help maintain its allure by adding a silk stem of Phalaenopsis orchid blooms. Just be careful not to disturb the roots of your orchid. Incorporate the orchid pot into a larger display of greenery.
Resting orchids are commonly mistaken for being dead. Watch for these signs and follow these tips to make your plant’s next bloom the best one yet. For more information about orchid reblooming, download this helpful guide!