Cut orchids properly

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Hobby gardeners keep asking themselves how and when room orchids should be pruned. The opinions of "orchids never cut!" until "cut away everything that does not bloom!" strongly apart. The result is at one extreme bare orchids with countless "Krakenarmen" and in the other plants with very long regenerative rest periods. We clarify and summarize the most important rules of thumb for cutting orchids here.


The Phalaenopsis is the best-selling orchid in Germany with its popular butterfly blossom

Cut flower stems after flowering?

Orchids bloom with good care abundantly and extensively. Over time, the flowers dry and gradually fall off on their own. What remains is a little attractive green stalk. Whether or not you should cut this stem depends primarily on the type of orchid you have in front of you. The so-called single-flowered orchids, such as representatives of the genus Frauenschuh (Paphiopedilum) or Dendrobium, only ever bloom on a new shoot. Since further flowering on a flowered stalk is not to be expected, the shoot can be cut off immediately after the fall of the last flower at the base.

lady's Slipper

Some lady's slipper species sprout out of the old stalk

Floating orchids, which include the popular Phalaenopsis, but also some Oncidium species, are also referred to as "revolver blooms". With them, it is possible that out of a flowered stalk again drive out flowers. Here it has proven useful to separate the stem not at the base, but over the second or third eye and wait. With a bit of luck and patience, the flower stalk from the upper eye drives again. This so-called remounting can succeed two to three times, after which the stalk usually dies off.

Cut off dry orchid stems

Regardless of the orchid type, if a stalk turns brown by itself and dries, it can be safely cut off at the base. Sometimes only one branch dries while the main shoot continues to be in the juice. In this case, only the withered piece is cut off, but the green stems are left standing, or if the main shoot no longer blooms, the whole stalk is trimmed back to the third eye.

When the orchid shades

Some neglected orchids (for example in the office) tend to form a single or two flowers at the end of the same stem. The orchid, however, never seems to get really well in the blood. The sparse pile does not look good and at the same time prevents the plant from rejuvenating. In this case, the affected stalk should be cut back courageously. A new shoot - possibly in conjunction with a little orchid fertilizer - brings back a lush flowering with it.

Remove wilted leaves

Leaves on the orchid are basically not cut at all. In the course of normal plant aging, a leaf turns yellow, grows shriveled and dries. Leave the leaf on the plant until it gives it by itself, should be called, until it peels off by a slight pull on itself. Leaves that are fleshy, green and in the juice should be removed only in the most extreme emergency (for example, in case of diseases) at the base. Never cut off an orchid leaf only partially. The large cutting area then forms an entry port for all kinds of pests.

Pick yellow leaves

Yellow leaves are carefully removed. If the leaf does not dissolve by itself, it should remain on the plant until all nutrients are absorbed

Cutting orchid roots

If an orchid is repotted, the roots should also be plastered. Remove the orchid substrate and examine the roots of your orchid. Then use a pair of sharp scissors to cut dried and rotten roots. Healthy, green orchid roots should not be removed, nor should aerial roots be removed. Although the long tentacles of the sundew plants sometimes have a visually disturbing effect, trimming weakens the plant unnecessarily. Exception: If you have an orchid that is already badly cared for or poorly cared for, a slight root cut can stimulate growth - in this case, you should try it.

Clean roots

Orchid roots should be cleaned regularly

Sharp and clean tool

If you scissor your orchid, make sure it is clean and as sharp as possible. A good knife or a scalpel are usually better for cutting orchids. First disinfect the cutting tool with methylated spirits or boiling water. When cutting, make sure not to injure surrounding roots, leaves, or stems.

Cut flowers with a sharp tool

When cutting back an orchid or removing flowers for decoration, always use a clean, sharp tool

The natural rest

The orchid has been cut back and now it shows no sign of life anymore? Do not worry, that's completely normal. After a long period of flowering, some orchid species and varieties take a break for regeneration, which can take several weeks or months. During this "hibernation" neither new shoots nor leaves form, the plant looks like frozen. Unfortunately, many specimens land unnecessarily on the compost at this time. In its regeneration phase, the orchid needs less water and no fertilizer. It can then be put a little cooler, for example, in the bedroom. Only when a new flower stalk expels, the orchid should be gently fertilized again and poured more.

Video Board: Orchid Care: How to cut off the old Phalaenopsis Orchid bloom spike and care tips for re-bloom it.

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