Monday, November 3, 2008

How to Get Your Phalaenopsis Orchid to Rebloom

One of the many questions we get from clients is how to get the phalaenopsis orchid to rebloom. Under ideal conditions, phalaenopsis orchids will bloom twice a year. In order for an orchid to rebloom, you must have a few things, good growing surroundings, the right conditions for reblooming and feeding during growth periods.
When growing orchids, you will want to create the best conditions for it. I understand the fact that you want the orchid to work on the decorative level in your home and I agree that you do not need to change your style to suit the needs of the plant. I will give you what I consider to be the best conditions. First, make sure the plant stays in a well-lit area, free from any cold or warm drafts with a light misting from a spray bottle for elevated humidity levels. Second, the plant should never sit in water. They like to be well-drainned and watered with room-temperature water thoroughly once a week, no more often than that. Most orchids are now grown in semi-transparent pots which allows light to get to the roots, which helps to simulate actual growning conditions.
To produce and flower "spike", the long branch which hold the blooms, is done again by trying to simulate actual growing conditions. Once your plant has rested after flowering, it needs two months where there is a temperature difference between the days and nights. Ideally, if the plant could be given a daytime temperature of 22C or 72'F and a nighttime temperature of 16C or 62'F for two months, it would help in the encouragement of a flower spike.
Another necessary element is feeding the orchid. Because it grows in an almost soil-less medium, it is necessary to feed weekly during their growing / non-flowering periods. It is best to use a flower fertilizer of 5-5-5, formulated specifically for orchids. Many times when this is not available I suggest using general plant fertilizer 20-20-20 and cut the concentration down to 25% ie: if it says use tablespoon of powder in 1 litre of water, put a quarter tablespoon in 1 litre of water. Please avoid feeding when plant is in bloom.
In future installments, I will discuss other subjects such as poinsettia care, how to get your amaryllis to rebloom(is it worth the trouble?) and houseplant care through the winter.