How Often Do Orchids Bloom?

How Often Do Orchids Bloom?

Most orchid species bloom at least once a year, but there are some that bloom multiple times a year, and still others that bloom year-round. The more often an orchid blooms, the happier it is. When an orchid does bloom, the flower will remain for anywhere between six to ten weeks.

In this article, we will discuss more about how often orchids bloom, and how you can make sure your orchid blooms as often as naturally possible.

How often do orchids bloom?

Most orchids bloom either once or twice a year. In between blooms, the plant will become dormant. During dormancy, the plant does not grow actively, but regains the nutrients and energy used up during its last bloom. An orchid often reblooms six to nine months after the last bloom.

Orchids that bloom multiple times a year do so because they are grown in ideal conditions that encourage flowering. Such conditions include the proper amount of light. Orchids like 12 to 14 hours of bright, indirect light a day. You can help your plant by placing it under grow lights, especially during the winter when sunlight is scarce.

Another factor that can trigger your orchid to bloom is subjecting it to lower temperatures. When placed in an area where the temperature is around ten degrees lower than normal, the plant will be triggered to bloom.

You can also almost guarantee a rebloom if you buy an orchid that is currently in bloom and try to simulate the living conditions it had in the greenhouse. Basically, the happier the orchid, the more likely it is to rebloom.

When do orchids bloom?

An orchid will generally bloom either in the spring or winter, when the weather is calmer. The plant will grow most and fastest at the tail-end of summer.

How long do an orchid’s flowers last?

The time an orchid bloom lasts depends very much on the type of orchid. It can last anywhere from a week up to four months. One of the most common genus of orchids, the Phalaenopsis orchid, blooms for up to four months. The best way to make sure that the blooms last as long as possible is to care for the orchid properly.

Why has my orchid stopped blooming?

1. Too much light

One of the main reasons an orchid stops flowering is if you have placed it in a spot where it gets too much direct light. Not only will the plant stop producing flowers; it will also suffer sun-damaged foliage. Even light from grow lights that are too strong or too much for the orchid can affect its ability to bloom.

Aside from the lowered temperatures, the shortening of the day as winter approaches also triggers blooming. So, if the plant is constantly under a light source, it will miss this cue to bloom.

You can remedy this by placing the orchid in another spot where it gets only bright, indirect light, and by setting the grow lights on a timer so that they are only on for a specific number of hours per day.

2. Not enough light

The most probable reason your orchid has stopped blooming is insufficient light. This halts the plant’s ability to produce flowers. Remember that orchids need bright, indirect light to have enough energy to create new blooms, so when this need is not fulfilled, there will be no blooms. Orchids that are kept in dim rooms will need grow lights to support their daily light requirements.

The easy remedy is to transfer the plant to a spot where it can get enough light every day.

3. No temperature fluctuation

Orchids are tropical plants, and they need to experience a temperature fluctuation to trigger blooming. Expose your orchid to daytime temperatures that are at least ten degrees lower than normal, and do this for two weeks until you see the orchid start to bud.

4. The plant needs to be fertilized

Orchids are not heavy feeders which means they do not need to be fertilized that often. But, if you think you need to boost your orchid’s nutrient intake, you can give it a urea-free fertilizer. This fertilizer provides nitrogen without the microorganisms in most gardening soils.

5. The plant needs repotting or the roots need to be pruned

Another reason your orchid is not blooming may be that it needs to be repotted. An orchid’s roots can become suffocated when the potting medium breaks down over time.

This can be tricky, especially as there are orchids that do not bloom after being repotted. There are also those that will only bloom when they become very rootbound and are strangled by their pots.

You will know if your orchid needs to be repotted by looking at the state of its roots. Potting media  break down over time, and this affects the air circulation around the roots.

If there are roots that have turned brown, black or mushy, or when the potting medium starts to look too much like soil, it is time to repot the plant. Remove the brown or black roots, because those are rotten and could be infected by bacteria or fungi.

Another sign to repot is when there are roots growing over the lip of the pot.

6. Too much water

One of the easiest mistakes orchid owners make is overwatering their plants. Unfortunately, if the plant has already failed to bloom due to overwatering, it may be too late to save it, and it may die.

Even if the orchid has buds, these can still fall off without blooming if you keep overwatering the plant. Orchids need to be able to dry out between waterings to remain healthy. Allowing the plant’s roots to stand in stagnant water can lead to root rot.

The best way to prevent overwatering is by making sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom, and that the potting medium is well-draining.

Do your research so that you know exactly how your species of orchid likes to be watered.

7. Not enough water

If you are too careful about watering your orchid, you may end up giving it less water than it needs. Orchids are tropical plants and they enjoy the occasional rain shower.

Do not let the plant dry out too much between waterings because the leaves will absorb the moisture that should support the new buds. If the buds are dehydrated, they can no longer bloom. You will see the buds turn yellow, shrivel up and drop off one by one. You can keep the plant’s moisture level up by placing a pebble tray filled with water under the pot. When the water in the tray evaporates, it will moisten the soil in the pot and the plant’s foliage.

What do I do after the blooms fall off?

Simply continue watering the plant after the blooms have fallen off, especially if the stem is still green. If the stem looks dry and is about to die, you can cut it off to encourage the growth of new stems.

Depending on the orchid variety, the plant will soon produce new buds and before you know it, the orchid will bloom again. You may need to fertilize the plant so that it has all the nutrients it needs to continue blooming. Make sure you provide as close to ideal conditions as possible for the plant, so that it is kept as healthy and happy as possible.

Conclusion

Most orchids bloom once or twice a year. There are species that bloom multiple times a year, and there are even some that bloom all year round. However, most orchids only do so once a year.

These blooms will last anywhere between a week and four months. In order to help the blooms last as long as possible, you need to make sure you are taking care of the plant properly.

If your orchid has just finished blooming, care for it as best you can to support its next bloom. Expose the plant to daytime temperatures ten degrees lower than usual for two weeks, and this should trigger the plant to produce new buds.

Provided you take proper care of your orchids, they will bloom as often as naturally possible.

Image: istockphoto.com / Besjunior