Plant rescuer Sarah Gerrard-Jones shares tips caring for orchids

Orchids produce beautiful blooms, but they require pruning once the flowers fall off. 

Households can easily trim dead stems and roots on their orchid to improve their overall health. 

Gardeners can also prune an orchid to promote flowering. Take good care of the orchid, and it may continue to grow and bloom for many years to come.

Sharing the “best way” to prune these houseplants, orchid experts as Interflora said: “Taking a pair of secateurs or a knife to a beloved plant might be daunting, but it’s really important to encourage new blooms and growth. 

“Just follow our advice and you’re guaranteed to be pruning like a pro, and as long you’re giving your orchid all the other TLC it needs it should produce more gorgeous blooms in its next cycle.”

READ MORE: 16p kitchen scrap that ‘encourages flowerless orchids to bloom’ and ‘for longer’

When to prune orchids 

When an orchid blooms its flowers can last up to an impressive 12 weeks. 

After that the flowers will most likely fade or fall off – that’s the cue that it’s pruning time.

Once all the flowers are spent, the plant is likely dormant (this usually happens in autumn), and can be pruned more dramatically.

How to prune orchids 

Before households start chopping away at their houseplant, they need to check the health of the stem(s).

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Healthy stems are green and firm to the touch, whereas unhealthy stems are brown/yellow in colour and hard to the touch.

The next step is to sterilise the shears/secateurs or a sharp knife. This can be done with sterilising fluid or boiling water. 

The experts claimed: “It’s all to make sure no bugs are getting onto your precious plant.”

Once sterilised, use the secateurs to trim away any dead leaves, tissue or roots being sure to cut diagonally. Trimming off dead roots will help to prevent root rot, which can “kill your orchid”.

Trim the stem, how you do this depends on how healthy it is or whether it’s been pruned before.

If your stem is healthy and this is the first prune. Trim the stem just above the stem notch/node where the first flower had bloomed. This will allow a new shoot to emerge.

However, if the stem is unhealthy or owners have already rebloomed their orchid pruning once, it is best to cut an inch above the base of the stem. This allows the orchid to focus its energy on producing new strong leaves and roots.

Cutting off the stems might seem drastic, but it will allow new, healthy stems to grow.

Remember “pruning an orchid is not like pruning a shrub” – if owners accidentally nick a healthy leaf the rest of the leaf “will probably die”, so go carefully and be really gentle.

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