You’ve found a lovely orchid in the perfect shade to complement your home decor. But you find yourself wondering how long before you’ll need to swap a new one in its place.
So how long do orchids actually live?
It’s a question many new orchid owners ask, and one that we’re happy to answer.
How Long Do Orchids Live?
The lifespan of orchids depends on the variety of orchid and type of care the plant receives. In the case of phalaenopsis orchids, blooms typically last from two to three months.
This, however, is only one of many flowering periods in an orchid’s life cycle. After the initial bloom, the plant goes into a resting period. The orchid flowers fall, and some new orchid owners throw away the plant thinking it has died. What’s not apparent is that the plant is actually storing energy to prepare for its next flowering period.
So going back to our original question, a phalaenopsis orchid has the potential to live for several years, potentially even decades. Part of what helps to extend the plant’s lifespan is providing the proper care.
Keeping Your Orchids Happy and Healthy
When you first bring your orchid home, be sure to create an environment in which it can thrive. Place the plant in an area where it will get plenty of bright, indirect sunlight like a north- or east-facing window. Be mindful of temperature as well and avoid placing the orchid near any doors or open windows.
As your orchid enters its resting phase, continue to water the plant on a weekly basis. The only exception is on those weeks where you fertilize your orchid — something that you should do once or twice a month. During this dormant period, you’ll also want to move your plant to an environment that has a slightly cooler temperature.
Promoting Orchid Reblooming
During the orchid resting period, you may notice your plant producing new buds at the end of the flower spike. You can cut this spike back to a “node,” or a triangular-shaped area on the stem, to encourage the orchid to generate new side flower spikes. You can also remove the entire spike, allowing the orchid to put more energy into its leaves and roots. Finally, you can promote orchid reblooming by moving it to an area where the nighttime temperatures are slightly lower than their current environment, or around 55-65 degrees. Just make sure it’s receiving enough sunlight.
With this extra bit of TLC, you’ll help your orchid continue to thrive after its first bloom cycle ends.