Trimming Orchid Spikes for Optimal Orchid Plant Care
September 1, 2022
Everything has its season, including orchids. While bloom loss isn’t cause for concern, it does signal your plant is entering the dormant phase. Want to see those beautiful blooms return? Trimming orchid spikes during the cooler temperatures of the fall season is one of the best ways to encourage reblooming in future months.
For a first time orchid owner, trimming your orchid's spikes can be a stressful task, but don't worry. Think of it as giving your plant a haircut so it can grow back thicker and stronger. Just follow these four steps and before you know it, trimming your orchid's spikes will become part of your orchid plant care routine!
Step One: Assess Your Orchid's Spikes
Healthy spikes are green and firm to the touch. Unhealthy spikes are brown or yellow in color. Some orchids have a single-spike and some are double-spiked. Know what kind of spikes you’re dealing with before you begin the trimming process.
Step Two: Gather Your Tools
The tools you use to trim your spikes should be clean and sterile. Wash the blades of your tools thoroughly with hot water and soap. Rinse clean to ensure no soap residue remains. For non-coated tools, you can also sterilize with the flame of an alcohol lamp or gas stove. Just be sure the tool has cooled off before using it on your plant.
Step Three: Trim
The status of your spikes informs how you should go about the trimming process:
For healthy, green spikes: Find a node under the lowest flower bloom. Trim 1 inch above that node, or bump, on the orchid spike.
For unhealthy, brown spikes: Cut all the way back to the base of the plant.
For double-spike orchids: Cut one spike at the base of the plant. Cut the other spike 1 inch above the node under the lowest flower bloom.
Step Four: Maintain
Keeping your spikes neat and tidy helps your orchid conserve energy for reblooming. While it might seem like you’re 'harming' your orchid by trimming it, you’re actually giving it the best chance for regrowth.
Pro tip: To stimulate reblooming, expose your orchid to cooler temperatures. Just be careful to avoid bursts of cold air and keep it away from vents.