Once the flowers have died, it’s time to start pruning your orchids. This is the time you want to shape and control the size of your plant and can be done periodically throughout the year, or you may choose to do it during Fall or early Winter. Don’t leave it till late winter as you may accidentally remove new flower buds.
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Determining When You Should Prune
The first indication that it’s time to trim is when the stalk begins to yellow or brown and you know that it will no longer flower. They can also be cut when the stalks are green, providing you don’t mind losing a few flowers.
Using The Right Equipment for This Simple Process
Hand pruners or shears are generally used for cutting stems no thicker than ¾ inch in diameter. There are two different types of trimmers you can use. Scissor-types, as the name suggests, have a scissor like action, with curved blades overlapping when making the cut. This one is the preferred implement, as it produces a close, clean cut.
The Anvil-type ones have a sharpened upper blade which cuts against a flat surface, but they don’t cut as close as the Scissor-types and are more likely to cut the stems when pruning.
Take These Simple Precautions Before Starting This Task
Be sure to wash your hands, or wear gloves before you start pruning and cut it with either a new or sterile cutting blade, cutting it within an inch of where the flower stalk is. Alternatively, you can remove the end of the blossom stalk to shorten it, but leave enough of a stump for it to flower again.
This should not harm your plant, but some may produce bloom shoots from the nodes of the older blossom stalks. Others may produce new plants from these new shoots, so once their roots are established, they can be removed from the mother plant and repotted.
Some of them don’t do either of the above actions, so it doesn’t hurt the plant if you remove the old bloom stalk. All it means is that you may miss out on new blossoms or a new baby plant.
Certain Plants That Will Need Special Instructions
Dendrobium orchids bloom from the leafless cane, so if you cut it back all the way, you will prevent your plant from blooming again in the future. At the end of the blooming season, Dendrobium and Cymbidium orchids will benefit by having their roots trimmed.
Lift the plant from the pot and if the roots are brown, then they are dead and need to be pruned. Healthy roots have a grayish appearance.
Vandas can be trimmed if their roots are black or yellow, but make sure you don’t cut the green, as they are healthy and have proper water absorption. Potting the Vanda plant is not recommended as they need their roots to spread and will quite quickly outgrow the pot. They can be planted in baskets but once established, they will be very hard to remove.
The flower of the Phalaenopsis orchid should be trimmed off as soon as it begins to wilt. Once the flowering season is over, the plant is ready for pruning. Trim right down to the second node, and If you’re really lucky, regrowth should be immediate.