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Orchid Care 101: Your Orchid Isn’t Dead; It’s Resting!

September 4, 2012

Like most plants, Phalaenopsis orchids go through a normal cycle of growth, blooming and rest, before the cycle starts again. Typically, Phalaenopsis orchids send up a spike and flower in the fall or winter, although orchid growers now schedule growth cycles to allow the purchase of blooming orchids year-round. 

Resting Up

Flowering can last from one to three months after which the plant goes into a period of rest or dormancy. During this time, it stores energy for the next flowering period. Throughout an orchid’s dormant time, blooms drop from the stem, and the stem may shrivel and turn gray or brown. The orchid’s leaves gradually lose their bright green gloss and upright stance, turning dull and flattening out around the orchid’s base. It is at this point that many new Phalaenopsis orchid owners think their plant has died and regretfully throw it away. 

Don’t Give Up

Had they only hung in there, that seemingly lifeless orchid would have sent up a new spike in a few months and bloomed again in another spectacular display – and it would have continued to do so again and again for years to come! 

Instead of tossing out your Phalaenopsis orchid when it goes into its dormant phase, encourage reblooming by following these five simple orchid care steps: 

  1. Continue weekly watering.
  2. Fertilize your orchid every other week or at least once a month with a balanced houseplant fertilizer at half strength. Omit watering on fertilizing weeks.
  3. Move your orchid to an area with a slightly cooler temperature.
  4. Make sure your orchid receives plenty of indirect sunlight.
  5. Be patient! 


Follow these tips to learn how some simple adjustments can help trigger orchid reblooming.

Just Add Ice Reblooming Guide