When Do Orchids Bloom – Gardening Tips 2021

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when do orchids bloom

There are many different types of orchids, all of which are exciting and enchanting. They come from various parts of the world including South America, India, Australia, and Asia, and there are tens of thousands of different orchid species. But the different species have similar requirements that help amateur orchid growers like you ensure that their orchids will bloom. 

So when do orchids bloom? Even though certain species should bloom at certain times, often they don’t. Some orchids will bloom several times per year, and some will live for decades. But a big bugbear is that many people who buy orchids in bloom find that they can never get them to flower again.  

Factors That Prevent Orchids From Blooming

Traditionally orchids have been considered by many to be rare and exotic, and therefore challenging to grow. But many gorgeous flowering varieties of orchids are sold in garden centers as well as grocery stores and supermarkets. 

The message is that they are super easy to grow. But, while you can buy the most magnificent orchids just about anywhere, it doesn’t mean that they will continue to bloom year after year. 

In reality, many people find that their orchids never bloom again after they take them home. This is simply because you cannot buy an orchid, stick it on your windowsill, and hope it’s going to continue to be beautiful season-in and season-out. 

At the same time, there is no reason why it shouldn’t. But you will need to follow a few basic rules. These include the temperature and lighting of the environment where you expect your orchids to bloom. The pots and soil you expect them to grow in are also important. 

Most orchids bloom once every year. Some bloom more often. 

But if they aren’t happy in their environment, they won’t bloom at all. If you decide to repot the orchid you have bought, it might disappoint you by refusing to bloom for at least a year! 

Here are some of the factors that can help you ensure that your orchids will flower at least once a year. There is a caveat though. Different orchid species prefer slightly different conditions. Ideally, you will match the conditions of their natural habitat. 

Popular phalaenopsis orchids are particularly easy to grow, and they will bloom for months if they are in the right spot. But even they will fail to bloom if conditions aren’t near perfect. 

Here are some factors that commonly prevent orchids from blooming.

Pots and Soil

Most orchids are terrestrial (which means they grow on the earth) or epiphytic (air-growing). Epiphytic orchids cling to stumps and trees in the wild and draw moisture from rain and mist.

Epiphytic orchids should never be planted in potting soil. That’s a sure way to prevent them from flowering. 

Temperature

Orchids are tropical plants and they need high temperatures and humidity to survive, never mind to flower. So, if you live in a cold-climate region, you will need to ensure that your orchids grow in a regulated climate, either in your house or in a greenhouse. 

The fact that you bought it at your local grocery store doesn’t mean it will survive on your kitchen windowsill. Humidity levels, nighttime temperatures, and a whole lot of other growing conditions will determine whether your new orchid will survive. 

Most orchids prefer a temperature of about 70℉ (21℃) during the day. But they won’t bloom if there isn’t a drop of about 10-15℉ at night.

If there is a sudden drop in temperature, this could be a make or break in terms of whether or not your orchid flowers. 

Light

Orchids are incredibly particular about light. In general, orchids prefer light to be filtered, and they don’t like direct sunlight. 

Some orchid-growing guides will tell you that brown leaves will tell you the plant needs less sun and deep green leaves might indicate they need more light. Definitely don’t allow the leaves of your orchids to go brown. Move your orchids before this happens. 

Humidity

The natural environment of all orchids is humid. Maintaining this kind of environment can be particularly challenging. 

Moisture

The amount of water that orchids need is also a huge challenge because they don’t need much of it. Remember, in their natural environment they draw moisture from the surrounding air. 

While many species will thrive if you water your orchid every 4-5 days, drought-tolerant species like cattleyas, dendrobiums, and oncidiums should only be “watered” once a week. 

Fertilizing

This is a tricky one because it really does depend on the species of orchid you have. 

Many growers recommend using a 20-20-20 fertilizer regularly, either weekly or monthly. Others say that this can prevent them from blooming. 

Ways To Help Your Orchids Bloom

ways to help orchids bloom

All the factors mentioned above will help your orchids bloom. This is provided you follow the correct route and don’t do the things that will prevent them from blooming! 

Light

For example, if your orchids don’t get enough light you might find they develop lovely green leaves but no flowers. If they are exposed to direct sunlight, this can burn the plant and it won’t bloom. 

If you have the luxury of owning more than one orchid, try placing them in different parts of your home. Even moving the pot to a different part of the room can make a huge difference to the bloom cycle. Just be sure to move your orchid carefully. 

A safe rule of thumb is to ensure orchids get between 12 and 14 hours of indirect sunlight in summer and 10 to 12 in winter. If need be, provide additional artificial light in the form of grow lights. 

Temperature

Most orchids prefer a temperature of about 70℉ (21℃) during the day. But they won’t bloom if there isn’t a drop of about 10-15℉ at night.

Fresh Air

They need lots of fresh air, but the temperature is important. They also need sufficient humidity to thrive and bloom. You can open the windows in summer and use a fan in winter, but don’t direct the air movement directly at the orchid plants or they may not flower.

Water

When you water your orchid plants, make sure the pot drains. Never leave the air roots sitting in water because they will suffocate. 

To ensure your orchids bloom, rather underwater than overwater them. 

Pots and Potting Mix

The potting mix most orchids prefer is a coarse medium like medium-grade fir bark, which is often mixed with perlite, peat or sphagnum moss, and sometimes horticultural charcoal. You can mix your own or buy a good quality orchid potting mix from your local garden center. 

Avoid repotting your orchids if you can. Strangely, orchids bloom more frequently and are bigger when they are pot-bound. 

If the plant grows out of its pot or develops a large number of air roots, then you can repot it after it has flowered. Just remember that epiphytic orchids, like phalaenopsis, absorb moisture via their air roots, so you don’t want to cover these when you repot the plant. 

Fertilizer

Be careful not to overfeed the plants and be sure to dilute as specified by the manufacturer. It doesn’t matter what type of orchid it is, always water your orchid before fertilizing. This prevents unnecessary root damage. 

Once all the blooms have dropped off the plants, carry on fertilizing to ensure the continued health of your orchid plants. This will encourage them to bloom again. 

Does An Orchid Rebloom?

Orchids rebloom (or reflower) over and over again – if they are in the right place. In fact, when they are doing well, orchids will produce bigger flowers during each new bloom cycle. 

Some orchids will rebloom more than once every year.

The only time an orchid definitely won’t rebloom is if it’s been dyed for sale. You will recognize these plants because they will have bright neon-colored blooms which are 100% unnatural! 

How Do You Get An Orchid To Bloom Again?

It is more difficult to get some orchid species to rebloom than others. So, the easiest solution for amateur orchid growers is to choose an orchid species that commonly flowers at least once every year. 

But there are also some horticultural tricks that you can try.

Remember how important it is to have a lower temperature in the room at night? If the temperature is too static, move your orchids to another part of the house and see if this helps. 

If the temperature during the day isn’t sufficiently high in the fall, raise the heat during the day by heating the room. With paphiopedilum orchids, dropping the temperature in the fall will usually encourage the flowers to bloom again. 

Once the flower spike (which is a new stem) starts to grow, you can move your orchids back to where they usually grow. Some flower spikes, like Phalaenopsis orchids, will need to be staked.

Often leaving the old flower spike on the plant will encourage orchids to bloom again. It is often recommended for phalaenopsis orchids. 

But if the flower spike is clearly dead, rather snip it off at the base of the plant. This will direct the energy of the plant to the roots, which will help to encourage it to bloom again.  

Conclusion

Flowering orchids are stunning and some species, like Phalaenopsis orchids, are really easy to maintain. Our 2021 gardening tips contain lots of information that will help you ensure that your orchids continue to bloom year after year. 

So, next time you see gorgeous orchids for sale (particularly if they are special), don’t be intimidated. Buy one and give it a try.

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