What do you do with your spent Orchids?

oakleyokJune 21, 2014

Real (and silk) Orchids are a hot commodity these days in decorating. I love them, and I jumped on the Orchid bandwagon too, but I buy real Orchids. They're so easy to grow.

A friend of mine has a flower shop and he told me most people throw away the Orchids when they're finished blooming because they're so cheap to buy. Plus, it won't bloom again for at least 6 months to a year.

I have four Orchids, 1 in full bloom, the other 3 with spent flowers and are near a window (indirect sun only) in matching pots.

The thing is, I want to buy more that are in bloom, but I don't want to end up with a zillion flowerless plants waiting to bloom, if they do.

What do you do with your spent Orchids?

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busybee3

i just clip the stems and wait until next year for the beauty again!! it never would occur to me to throw them away! most of my indoor plants are flowerless most of the time...orchids just aren't the prettiest when not in bloom. my orchids are in bathrooms tho, so the haphazard roots, etc are only seen by us!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:35AM
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Patricia43

There is an orchid man in our area who delivers fresh orchids twice weekly and picks up your spent ones, takes them to his orchid house and lets them bloom again. He keeps you in fresh orchids and you don't have to worry about them. What is the price? I am not sure but my hairdresser has this service at her home and shop. Maybe that is the reason she charges Las Vegas prices for a haircut, paying for the orchids.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:02AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I keep mine, and depending on the conditions, some will bloom more frequently than just 6 months.

They like a little direct sunlight each day. I find mine prefer a west window.

I keep the blooming ones upstairs and put my non blooming ones in my craft room til they bloom again.

I really struggle not to buy more as I love them, but don't have the heart to toss them unless they die, yet don't want to spend hours caring for them either...

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:19AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Mine stay outside all summer then get moved to a spare bedroom for winter. I move them into main areas when they bloom. I only keep phals and they are so easy. After bloom, cut the spike back half way, fertilize, and they will bloom again. Only buy orchids with multiple spikes for maximum bloom.

I have to keep myself from buying more though too! I have about 6 which is all I want to manage.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:24AM
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oakleyok

Bumble, how often to you fertilize them? I read once a week, then once a month.

Annie, I have mine in a west window also. When they are in bloom they go to the LR. I hope mine bloom again soon, they are so pretty.

Patricia, I would LOVE to have an orchid man!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:08AM
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cyn427

Don't you have a greenhouse that your DH built for you? I would rotate the orchids in and out of there as they bloom.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:39AM
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tinam61

Of course!! What Cyn said!

I do pretty much what Bumble said. Mine seem to bloom more often than every six months. The blooming ones are in the main area of the house. However, I have been known to become frustrated with an orchid that is not reblooming and tossed it. Orchids are one of the cheapest ways to have fresh/blooming flowers.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:54AM
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nicole__

Hobby Lobby sells silk orchid sprays. I put one in each spent orchid container and wait till the real thing happens again. :0)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:04PM
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erinsean

I have put silk with real plants before...good idea Nicole_.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 2:10PM
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oakleyok

Oh Nicole, I like the way you think! I may have to do that.

The greenhouse is really hot and I think it's too hot for orchids. I'll be putting them there come winter. The electricity won't be installed for another month or so, and even with good circulation and fans, it's still too hot.

Tina, when you get another bloom, does it come from a new leaf on the plant? I think I read if they put out a new leaf it means a bloom will follow.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 2:20PM
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bpathome

Nicole, you are brilliant.

Oakley, I just clip the stem and wait till it blooms again. It sits in a south window with a couple of houseplants, so it feels right at home when between blooms.

I never fertilize, and it blooms for several months, then green for a couple of months, then one day a bloom catches my eye. Sha-zaam! While it's nice to have them bloom, I love getting that little "surprise" a couple times a year, it's like a letter from a friend :)

My dentist's receptionist tends to all their fabulous orchids, and for watering she just drops an ice cube or two on each pot once a week! I like that plan.

The fake one in the powder room, people think it's real!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 2:29PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I water mine weekly, feed monthly. I do not cut the stems when they finish blooming as often, if the stem is still green, it will sprout a new shoot off that stem and bloom again. I only cut the stems once they are clearly dead.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 2:41PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

This orchid has essentially been blooming nonstop since November.

A close up to show the shoot with blossoms coming off of a spent shoot.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 2:50PM
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pugga

This gives me hope. I've never been able to keep an orchid plant alive long enough for a rebloom.

Until now (I think). I just got a new leaf sprouting so maybe a shoot will follow.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 3:04PM
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dakota01

Nicole I've been doing that with mine too! I usually clip off the long stem, then use the clips that came with the orchid to attach it to the stick the real orchid stem held on to. It has fooled a few people over the years. Lol

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:47AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Some are more prolific bloomers than others. I have one that has huge blooms but will only send up one spike each year.

Many of mine bloom most often in winter and I can't keep them from bud blast, it's disheartening to see tons of buds that all fall off because of changes in temperatures. In February, the house can go from 75 with the fireplace going, to 60 at night and they don't like that.
But then the spikes get trimmed and in May they are moved outside and bloom all summer.

I have no regular fertilizer plan, just whenever, after bloom though. For ten years i have always been on the verge of throwing them out then this happens.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 8:50AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I've never put mine outdoors, but maybe I should try, esp with the kittens afoot this year....I was always afraid they'd pick up bugs....the orchids, not the kittens. :)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 9:15AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

They do get some bugs underneath the leaves, just hose them off.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 9:51AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I too get bud blast esp on one dendrobium...disheartening isn't quite the word for it. I've tried moving it, not moving it...to no avail. If I'm lucky, I get one bud that stays...and it is all the more appreciated!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 10:19AM
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oakleyok

Bumble and Annie, what type of light do those orchids get?

Here is the last one in bloom, it's not a good picture though, but happy to say all the buds opened.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 10:41AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Yes I have cried to see 40 buds all fall off and not one open!

We have a large house and they have been moved around to find the most optimal winter spot and there is none.

I one time I though about getting a huge terrarium until I realized how stupid that was.

Oakly, bright shade. Very pretty!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:11AM
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maire_cate

Another orchid lover here. I think I have about 30 of them now. I've been tending to them for about 10 years which explains the large three level plant stand in my kitchen bay window. The ones in bloom go on the top shelf and in some strategic areas in the house where they can be seen.

The orchids that are resting go on the lower two levels of the plant stand.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:30AM
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tinam61

I don't think I've ever had a bud not open. Mine are all in indirect light. Most are fully in line with a window, but not up close to the window.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:36PM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

Does anyone know for sure when to repot them ? I've had two in the same pots for 2 years now. The roots are just starting to grow out the top. Maybe one more year ? I I love orchids too and am so surprised how easy they are!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

The ones I have that are doing the most blooming are also the most pot bound. I keep waiting for them to stop blooming so I can transplant, but they keep throwing new shoots. So as long as I feed them, they're doing fine.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 5:26PM
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publickman

Some orchids need more light than others - I keep pretty much all of my orchid plants outdoors, but most of them (except the Cymbidiums) need to be protected from too much sun, especially in the summer, and most of the shady area of my back yard is filled with bromeliads. I built some small shelves on two sides of the house for orchids that need shade, and I put covers over them and also a mosquito net over one set of shelves to filter the light. I keep the Phalaenopsis in the house on a shelf in the art studio, which as a skylight, and so they get a fair amount of light there, although they do better when I leave them outside most of the time. The average low temp in January where I live is 50 degrees, but it usually gets down to 45 most winters. This is okay for most of the orchids I have, but the Phalaenopsis do not like for it get below 50. All orchids do prefer some seasonal change instead of the same temperature all year, however.

I have epidendrums growing all over my yard, and even some had planted themselves in my front yard, but the flowers are not appropriate for indoors, as they are very stemy. However, they bloom pretty much all year, and so they are nice for the yards.

Cymbidiums are very easy to grow, as they can take quite a bit of light and can handle temps down to 40 degrees without any damage. Some of the hybrids do especially well also, and I have a couple of those blooming right now. I've had good luck growiong dendrobiums, miltonia, and odontoglossum outdoors beside the house with light protection.

I feed my orchids about twice a month (if I remember), and I use different fertilizer for different types.

Lars

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 5:42PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Oh Lars, that is stupendous! They must be beautiful in bloom!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:22PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Nice! I have one that hasn't bloomed in years...definitely going to put it outside and see if that makes a difference. Of course they can't stay out all year here...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 7:55PM
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oakleyok

I'm loving how this topic has taken off!

Maire, I wish I had a window like that, it couldn't get any more perfect for an Orchid!

Lars, I'm quite impressed. Glad you popped in. It can get to a 100 here, is that too hot for the plants?

Tell me, how do you all water your Orchids? I do the soak in water for 15 min. method, about once a week. Little ones more often.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 6:15AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I just run lots of water into the pot once a week and let it sit and drain. I find they best in a clay pot which is then suspended inside a ceramic one so the pot stays humid but not wet....or some of the purchased ones come in a plastic pot full of slots which is then suspended in a ceramic pot.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 7:10AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Has anyone grown Phaius Nun's Hood orchids? I understand they are supposed to be easy, but I don't see them for sale around here...I guess I would have to order them on line....

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 7:15AM
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maire_cate

Oakley - that's the window over my kitchen sink and I love to place an orchid there when in bloom. There are times when nothing is blooming and I have to resort to a silk one.

This one is a pansy orchid ( Miltoniopsis) and the location is better since it gets indirect light there.

I stopped putting my orchids outside due to the bug problems - I discovered ants were living in the planting medium and I had to re-pot several taking care to wash all the ants off the roots.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 8:14AM
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maire_cate

This is a mama flanked by her babies. I can't remember how many years it took for them to get this large.

My DD is the real expert in the family and sad to say now that she's moved out some of my orchids have declined.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 8:22AM
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jane__ny

I've been growing orchids for a long time. I grew them in NY in windows and now we live in Florida so they live outside.

You should all visit the Orchid Forum for help with your plants. Its on Gardenweb under 'Orchids.' Lots of nice people who can answer your questions and help you be successful.

Most Phals bloom once a year from new spikes. If you leave the old spikes they are not as pretty as a new spike as the flowers get smaller and smaller and the old spike crooked. Much better to cut the old spikes off and let the plant grow new leaves over the summer months.

Phals will initiate new spikes with temperature drop. In the late summer/fall as the night temps drop it triggers the plant to flower. So, if you grow in the house, you must provide a temp drop of at least 10/15 degrees. Easiest to do if your plant spends the summer outdoors in a sheltered spot.

The bud blast is caused by the sudden change of temps or direct sunlight on the buds. Best to start bringing your plants in after they begin spiking and let them develop their buds in a window. This way the plant can adjust to the dry air in the house. They are very easy to grow, you just need to understand that a sudden change in temps and humidity can affect the buds.

I always brought my Phals back indoors before the heat was on in the house, usually mid September (in NY).

If your Phals are to remain in the house, just provide the night time temperature drop in the Fall. A cooler room where you can crack the window at night would work. Remember, they need that temperature drop to flower.

In nature, Phals grow attached to tree trunks, high above the ground. They do not grow in dirt. Their roots have evolved to catch rain water or humidity. Growing in pots is something we do, not the way they grow. Keeping them in pots works if you let their roots have air. They are air-roots, they will rot if kept too wet.

Forget ice cubes. These plants grow in tropical rain forests. No ice cubes there. Just water when they are almost dry. Do not keep them wet or they will die. Us your finger to feel the potting mix before watering. Do not water if it feels damp...wait!

Best to repot yearly. Use an orchid mix and make sure the pot has drain holes. Remember, these plants do not grow in dirt. They grow attached to tree trunks exposed to the air and rain. Do not overwater and do not let the potting mix stay too wet.

You should only fertilize in spring and summer when you see new growth beginning. Phals make their leaves in summer and flower in fall. Feed the leaves for the best flowering. You can give a weak fertilizer in the winter, but only a very weak amount. Feed Spring and summer.

Sorry to write so much. These plants are so easy to grow if you remember where they originate. They grow on trees out in the air, not in pots. They can grow well in pots if you remember their roots need air.

Truly easy to grow and will flower for 6 months. What plant does that? Each year they grow bigger and bigger and you get more and more flowers.
This was a small Phal sitting in a dentist office. I took it back to my house that summer until it bloomed and brought it back to the dentist office. This plant was small and this is only its second year.

Don't toss them. Just forget what you've learned about 'dirt plants.' These are 'air plants.' If you give their roots air you can't go wrong. You'll be rewarded.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: American Orchid Society

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 1:03AM
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oakleyok

Maire, I'm so envious I can't stand it! Wow! I think the white has to be my favorite. Unfortunately I don't have any white one's, but I do have three baby plants I ordered online recently so they may be white, if they ever bloom.

Jane, I'm going to save your reply. Very informative! I have a question for you. Do you prefer the Orchids to be planted in wood bark or Orchid potting soil?

I have one in soil, the others in bark. When I got some in the mail, one of them (only 2 leaves) was planted in a tiny crate with one piece of bark in it, but with a lot of root wrapped about the bark and in and out of the crate. I was totally confused on how to repot it! lol

Another question. I only have Phal's, but is it okay to fertilize them now even though they don't have blooms or new leaves? I'm waiting and waiting for new leaves to appear.

Don't they only bloom from new leaves or did I read that wrong?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 6:26AM
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