Rebloom Your Old Orchids – It’s Easy

This orchid was bought for the holidays and still looks great.

Bloom shoot emerging

All of these orchids are rebloomers of ones purchased in bloom.

Cut old bloom stalk with new bloom shoot starting to emerge.

Orchid bloom shoots off of old stalks

I said it was easy to rebloom an old Phalaenopsis, also called moth orchid,  and here is how. First and foremost the trick to get them to come into bloom is cool temperatures. My mother-in-law and I leave ours out on the shady screen porch from the first of May until the first frost is predicted in fall. That’s our trick. I wanted to be more accurate, so I asked Libby Rich who was the owner of Plant Odyssey and Glen Bryant a member of the Alabama Orchid Society what they advise. Libby does this. She puts the orchid in a shady location outdoors after the last frost in April, making sure it is watered regularly. Do not allow it to sit in a saucer of water. Leave outside until a 40 degree night is predicted in fall and bring it inside to a cool location with bright light. In about six weeks a new bloom shoot will appear, either from the base or on an old shoot that had been cut back. Then she starts fertilizing weekly, when watered, with a weak solution of 20-20-20 (1/4 recommended strength). Buds should form and blooms appear in about 6 weeks.
Glenn is much more precise than Libby or me. He grows his in bright, but never full, sun and fertilizes with 20-20-20 (1/4 recommended strength) weekly when watering. Be sure to pour out any water left in the saucer after watering. He flushes the plants growing medium monthly with water to prevent salt build up from the fertilizing. To trigger blooming, he places it in a location that is 15-20 degrees below their typical location, or in a space that is 50 degrees or slightly lower at night, for at least two weeks. Then he resumes the typical growing location, and you should soon see the flower shoot emerging. So I think what we are all saying is that water and indirect sunlight but a bright location is a must for growing orchids which we want to rebloom, and cool temperatures trigger bloom shoots. And remember, like any potted plant, fertilization is a must to get healthy beautiful blooms. So give it a try and boast about your success.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

2 thoughts on “Rebloom Your Old Orchids – It’s Easy

  1. I rarely move my orchids , they are in my kitchen window getting direct evening sun. I water 1 times a week, they are in constant bloom

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