What to do when orchid flowers die

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What to do when orchid flowers die
Post-bloom orchid care is important for the plant. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

When an orchid loses its blooms, it is not necessarily a sign that the plant has died. Orchids are not annual plants and will return to bloom again the following season if they receive the proper care following blossom drop at the end of the season. Some types of orchids can be encouraged to bloom twice in one season.

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Clean the Planter

Remove fallen blooms and leaves from the planter after the orchid's growing season is finished. When the orchid goes dormant, remaining leaf and flower litter in the planter becomes a place where mildew and fungi may grow, damaging the roots and making the soil unhealthy for the orchid to grow in the following season. Cleaning the planter prevents diseases from growing over the dormant period of the orchid and keeps its roots healthy.

Pruning

Pruning an orchid depends on the species of orchid. Moth orchids, also known as phalaenopsis orchids, will produce a second set of blooms if the stem is pruned back just below a flower node after the first bloom set drops. Other orchids go dormant, and the stem dies. However, removing the stem early denies the roots food; wait until the stem has turned yellow before pruning it to allow the roots to take in its nutrients.

Repotting the Orchid

Moving the root ball of an orchid to a new or larger planter is best done when the orchid is in its dormant state. This removes stress on the plant that could prevent it from blooming if it is repotted during the growing season and allows the root system to start expanding in its new growing environment early in the spring. Place the orchid's roots in a new, larger planter with fresh potting soil designed to support orchids.

Storing the Orchid

After the orchid goes dormant and its blossoms die, the orchid needs to go into storage until the following growing season. Keep the orchid root system in a planter and keep the planter in a warm location where it receives indirect sunlight to allow the roots to remain warm. Water the planter regularly to keep the soil moist and add a small amount fertiliser according to the directions on the package to keep the dormant roots fed.

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