‘Best’ tip to encourage orchids to ‘rebloom year after year’

Alan Titchmarsh details method for keeping orchids flowering

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The moth orchid variety is one of the simplest houseplants to grow and is favoured for its long blooming period, which can last up to six months. Orchids have gained an unfair reputation for being fussy plants, which often deters people from buying them. But they’re more easygoing than you think, especially moth orchids. These guys love nothing more than some indirect light, humidity, and a good feeding now and then. So with a little TLC, this houseplant will brighten up your home again and again with its vibrant, showy blooms.

Indoor plant experts at The Stem said: “What many people get wrong with orchids is putting them in the wrong area, e.g. too cold, not enough sun, too much sun etc. So now that you know the environment is key, don’t fall for the same mistakes.”

Watering and humidity levels

Just like with any other plant, there’s no strict watering habit to follow when growing orchids, so plant owners will have to judge how much water they need.

The experts said: “The environment greatly impacts how much water the plant will need, so you’ll have to judge for yourself depending on whether the soil is drying out. 

“Unfortunately, overwatering is common and just as harmful as underwatering; but you can prevent this by allowing water to drain from the pot instead of letting the roots get soggy.”

Most homes are quite dry during the winter, but you can increase the humidity by setting the orchid pots on a tray of pebbles or a special humidity grid set in a waterproof tray. Make sure the pots are not sitting in the water; they should be just above it.

Signs that your orchid has been overwatered are limp leaves or brown roots, whereas signs that an orchid needs more water are dry leaves and stunted growth.

Cutting the spike

As well as watering, cutting orchid spikes can encourage this houseplant to rebloom. The plant pros advised: “Once the flowers have done their thing, it’s time to cut the spike down. 

“The orchid spike, also known as the stem, is the part where the buds and flowers grow. 

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“Moth orchids will sometimes rebloom from the old spike, but to give it the best chance at flowering and reblooming year after year, cutting it down will provide new and healthy growth.”

Fertilising 

Like humans, orchids love a good meal now and then.  The experts noted: “The growing season is when it’s most important to use orchid food to give them the best chance at optimal health and beautiful, vibrant blooms. 

“Many people stick to a once-a-month fertilising schedule. However, pros tend to follow the rule of ‘feef weakly, weekly’.”

This reduces the chances of overfeeding because the solution is diluted. 

Feeding can also be handy during the dormancy period when the plant replenishes any lost nutrients.

It is recommended to feed orchids with water-soluble fertiliser that’s formulated for this houseplant. Mix at the rate recommended on the package.

Light and temperature

Orchids thrive in bright indirect light during the growing season and dormancy. 

When a healthy orchid does not flower, it is usually due to not enough light.

The houseplant experts said: “The perfect spot for an orchid would be near a window that receives a good amount of sun through a thin curtain so it’s not too overpowering.”

It is advised placing them near east or west-facing windows. If you can’t provide adequate natural light, orchids will also thrive under full-spectrum lights.

Temperature is also important. The pros said: “The best environment for an orchid is in a room that dips in temperature at night (specifically about 5ºC), as this somewhat mimics what they’re used to in their native habitat.”

Moth orchids are more forgiving in this respect, but a reluctant plant can usually be coaxed into bloom more easily if it’s grown where nights are cool.

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