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Orchid Care 101: Trimming Orchid Spikes

October 21, 2014

If your orchid bloomed through the spring and summer, fall marks that time you’ll likely see your orchid enter a period of rest. The blooms will wilt and fall off, but don’t worry—your orchid is not dead! Rather, it is saving up energy to rebloom next season.  

Even though bloom loss isn’t cause for concern, it does signal it’s time to help your orchid through its months of hibernation. One of the main ways you can assist in the reblooming process is by trimming your orchid spikes. The decreasing temperatures of the fall season make it the ideal time to encourage reblooming in future months. 

For a first time orchid owner, trimming spikes can be a stressful task. However, with the right information, it can easily become part of your orchid care routine. Just follow these four steps!

Step One: Assess Your Spikes

The status of your spikes informs how you should go about the trimming process. 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. 

Step Three: Trim

Remember that how you trim your spikes depends on the condition your spikes are in.

Follow these guidelines: 

  • For healthy, green spikes: Find a node under the lowest flower bloom. Trim 1 inch above that node. 

  • 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. 

To stimulate reblooming, expose your orchid to cooler temperatures—just be careful to avoid bursts of cold air.  

Want more tips for orchid reblooming? Download our helpful guide!

Just Add Ice Reblooming Guide