How to prune an orchid

These elegant plants with such striking flowers need specific care so that they are displayed in all their splendor, taking into account the most suitable substrate and irrigation to pruning, this being one of the most delicate parts of their care.

For this reason, in this article we will teach you how to prune an orchid step by step and, in addition, we will give you a couple of useful tips so that you can take care of them perfectly easily and simply.

When to prune an orchid

Undoubtedly, its more than 25,000 species, all of them with unique and differentiated features, make this plant one of the most used to decorate elegant gardens and to color our homes. One of the best known and which you can access without problems is the phalaenopsis orchid , also known as the butterfly orchid . This, like the rest of orchids, needs an annual pruning to increase its flowering.

Orchids need constant maintenance to remove spoiled leaves and flowers throughout the year. However, you must do a pruning that always coincides with the end of flowering . No matter what time of year, the only important thing is that you do the pruning when the flowers begin to wilt.

Although some wait for the stems to dry, we advise you that, to achieve a greater flowering in the next year, you prune your orchid before the stem is more woody to activate the new shoots.

How to Prune an Orchid - When to Prune an Orchid

How to prune an orchid step by step

Before pruning you should make sure to sterilize your tools to avoid possible diseases, such as fungi.

Also make sure that the hand pruning shears you are going to use are well sharpened to make a clean cut, to prevent serious injury to the plant. Similarly, confirm that your orchid flowers are dead or badly deteriorated, as well as that the upper part of the spike is yellowish. It is also advisable not to prune the orchid if it does not have a minimum height to be considered an adult; in the case of the orchid Phalaenopsis s is about 30 centimeters .

Once you are sure of all of the above, follow these simple steps to prune an orchid correctly :

  1. Remove all the yellowing leaves one by one.
  2. Prune all dried stems from the third node, always counting from the base of the orchid.
  3. Cut off all faded flowers from the third node as well. Remember that it is very important that it continue to maintain the shape and structure of the original stem.
  4. Cut the roots of your orchid removing the dry or darkened parts. You may need to remove the plant from its container to make the task easier. Pull lightly on its stems and hold the base with your hand to gently pull it out.
  5. Finally, add substrate and spray the leaves and the base of your orchid with water.
How to prune an orchid - How to prune an orchid step by step

Orchid maintenance – basic care

To keep its fleshy flowers and large bright green leaves in good condition and for as long as possible, you need to know the basic care of orchids .

  • Orchids need a lot of light . This is essential for optimal growth and flowering for our plant. But be careful, never expose your orchid to direct sunlight as this could cause damage. Make sure it receives the light through a window if you are indoors, or in a flowerbed where other plants act as a parasol for it.
  • Keep it at a temperature that oscillates between 20ºC and 22ºC .
  • Water it once a week and fertilize it every 15 days . Remember that orchids need their stems and roots to stay in contact with moist soil, but they don’t need large amounts of water, so water it carefully to avoid puddles. Use specific fertilizer for orchids to provide it with all the nutrients it needs to improve its growth.
  • Always use specific substrate for orchids . The thick roots of orchids need a very fine substrate made of pine bark for their development.
  • If you just bought an orchid , make sure it has several flowers and that it still has several unopened. In addition, you should change it to a container, preferably glass or transparent plastic so that it can carry out photosynthesis, and add several pebbles to the bottom, which will be the ones that hold the plant. Do not remove them completely from the pot, simply keep the roots in contact with the pebbles, which will be where the water and the substrate accumulate for their future growth.

By doing all these simple cares, the orchid will bloom several times a year and you can enjoy its beautiful flowers and striking leaves for longer. 

How to prune an orchid - Orchid maintenance - basic care

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