How to Rebloom Orchids Indoors (5 Hacks That Actually Work)


How to rebloom an orchid

In the research for this article, I spoke to orchid growers and commercial suppliers to ascertain what are the most important factors for promoting an orchid to bloom again;

I’m sure you have noticed that you can find orchids for sale that are in flower at almost any time of year. I have found out all the secrets to achieve this by manipulating the environmental conditions to prompt the orchid to bloom.

It should be noted that orchids in most climates primarily start to grow their flower spikes in the Fall or Winter and flower in late Winter or early Spring, with the blooms sometimes lasting longer than three months.

Orchids usually only produce one flower spike each year, so the reason your orchid is not reblooming may just be because it is not the right season.

Note that stress factors such as root rot, sunburn, and leaf loss can all reduce the chance of orchids rebloming.

Here are my top five tips for how to get your orchids to rebloom:

1. Cooler Temperatures of Between 55°F (12°C) to 60°F (16°C) Cause Orchids to Rebloom

When I spoke to the professional growers, they all emphasized to me that temperature is by far the most important factor for initiating an orchid to rebloom.

To achieve this, you need to move your orchid to a cooler room of the house with temperatures between the range of 55°F (12°C) to 60°F (16°C) during the night for around four weeks to stimulate the growth of a new flower spike.

In my experience, the best way to do this is to move the orchid to a relatively cool window sill for 4 weeks.

This drop in temperatures for this period of time indicates to the orchid that this is the right time to grow a new flower spike and display more flowers.

This works because the drop in temperature replicates the seasonal cycle of temperature of the orchid in its native environment, which is a signal for the orchid to flower. (Good trick, right?)

If the temperature remains too high on a consistent basis, then the orchid does not grow a new flower spike or display any flowers, as it relies on the seasonal fluctuation of temperature to indicate the correct time of year for flowering.

I have spoken extensively to orchid growers and commercial suppliers at regional garden events. They assure me that this is the most important tip for getting your orchids to rebloom, particularly phalaenopsis orchids indoors.

Orchids are cultivated in a temperature-controlled environment to ensure that they are in flower in time for sale, so this is the reason you can buy orchids at practically any time of year, regardless of seasonality.

For most houseplant growers, generally speaking, orchids develop their flower spikes in Winter flower in the early Spring due to the natural change in temperature in our homes at this time of year, however, this depends on the climate you are in.

What I have found out is that it is typically homeowners in consistently warm climates, or people with heated homes year-round that have most trouble getting an orchid to bloom again due to the lack of a seasonal cycle of cool temperatures.

In this circumstance, I recommend opening a window at night for some relatively cooler air or using a cool mist humidifier, which is available from garden centers or online. A cool mist humidifier can create the humid conditions that orchids prefer whilst maintaining cooler temperatures to help prompt the development of a flower spike and, therefore, blooming.

2. Cutting The Flower Spike- Where to Cut to Get Orchids to Rebloom

Orchids can flower on the tip of the same spike again sometimes, but usually only on a side shoot of the flower spike, which emerges from a different node lower down the spike.

The flowers cannot emerge from the same place. To stimulate the growth of a side shoot that has the potential to display flowers, cut the orchid flower spike soon after the original flowers have dropped just above the node with a sharp pair of pruners.

Cutting an inch above the node of a phalaenopsis orchid can grow a new side shoot from the flower spike to display more blooms.
Cutting an inch above the node of a phalaenopsis orchid (where my finger is) can grow a new side shoot from the flower spike to display more blooms.

It is important to do this quickly after the flowers have dropped off as often the flower spike turns yellow, dries out, and dies back if it is just left.

Once you have cut the stem back, a new side shoot should emerge from which more flowers can be displayed.

However, whilst this tip is effective at prompting more flowering, most orchid growers cut the flower spike back to the base of the plant after the orchid’s flowers have dropped.

Flowering is such an energy-intensive process for the orchid that producing more flowers, even on a side shoot, can take a lot out of the orchid.

Instead, the commercial growers that I spoke to recommend cutting the flower spike back to the base so that the orchid can concentrate on the growth of leaves and roots, which should give the orchid more energy for flowering the following year.

3. Light, Humidity and Temperature Control

To incentivize an orchid to flower, it is essential to replicate some of the conditions of its natural tropical habitat.

Phalaenopsis orchids (which are by far the most common houseplant orchids) grow and flower on tree branches in bright conditions but are crucially protected from any intense sunlight by the canopy overhead. (I think it’s a cool adaptation!)

In their natural habitat, the humidity is high at around 60% (although this can fluctuate due to a number of variables) and inconsistent, warm temperatures.

Orchids need bright, indirect light to have enough energy to flower. Too much sun and the leaves, flower spikes, and even the roots can scorch, which can cause developing flowers and flower buds to drop off, so always protect the orchid from harsh direct sunlight.

However, too much shade also causes poor growth and reduces the likelihood of flowers developing.

It is important to increase the humidity around your orchid to promote flowering. To do this, you can:

  • Locate your orchid in a more humid room, such as a bathroom.
  • Mist the leaves, roots, and flower buds regularly to create a humid microclimate.
  • Use a plant humidifier.

In my experience, all three of these options work well, but I most often favor the option of placing my orchids in a bathroom, as I have a frosted glass window which creates a nice balance of bright light whilst not being too harsh.

The temperature in the bathroom is also optimal for orchids. As I mentioned under the first subheading, a cool temperature for 4 weeks is required for the orchid to develop flower spikes. However, after the four-week period of cool temperatures, it is important to provide consistent warm temperatures.

Realistically, orchids can flower well at room temperature, with a temperature range of 65°F to 80°F (16°C to 26°C), so often, this is not a big issue.

However, it is important to avoid any sudden temperature fluctuations, such as an intolerable cold blast of air from an open window on a cold day or indoor heating suddenly increasing the temperature. This can cause the orchid stress and result in any flowers or flower buds dropping.

I would also recommend keeping your orchid orientated one way once the flower spike has begun to grow. Flower spikes and flowers grow towards the brightest light, so if you keep turning the orchid or moving locations, then the growth can be irregular, which can impact flowering.

(For more information, read my article how to care for phalaenopsis orchids indoors).

4. Use an Orchid Spray Fertilizer to Promote Blooms

Orchids are relatively heavy feeders, and reblooming an orchid requires a lot of resources, such as light, humidity, and nutrients.

Therefore, it is important to fertilize your orchid consistently. While the flower spike may emerge in the winter (depending on your climate), most of the vegetative growth of the leaves and roots happens in spring and summer, with the leaves photosynthesizing and providing the orchid with enough energy to bloom.

I personally recommend a spray fertilizer for orchids as spraying the roots and potting medium mimics the way in which orchids uptake nutrients in their native environment (orchids uptake moisture and nutrients in humid air naturally).

Orchid fertilizer helps to promote flowering.
This is the orchid fertilizer I use to help to promote flowering.

It is always better to use a specific orchid fertilizer product as they have the right nutrients at the optimal concentration to support reblooming. Normal houseplant fertilizer can sometimes burn an orchid’s roots.

With a mist fertilizer, I apply every 2 weeks all year round to provide the orchid with enough energy to display its flowers.

5. Does Day Length Play a Role in Orchids Blooming? (Photo Periodisation)

There is some contrary information on whether day length plays a significant role in getting orchids to rebloom.

Some species of orchid are short day plants, which means that they only flower when there are fewer hours of daylight and more hours of darkness. They rely on this as a signal from the environment that this is the right time of year to start producing flowers.

This may be why orchids tend to start growing flower spikes in the Winter.

Phalaenopsis orchids (the most popular species of houseplant orchid) are technically short-day plants but I have spoken to some commercial orchid growers who suggest that it is not a significant factor in getting the orchids to rebloom.

The reason they say this is because there are people who grow and flower their orchids at times of the year and in locations where the day length is not shorter than the number of hours of darkness.

However, If you are struggling to get your orchid to rebloom, then perhaps restrict the hours of light during Winter by locating the orchid in a room where any indoor lights are not on so that the orchid can experience darkness as I found there is some debate around this subject.

How long Does it Take For Orchids to Bloom Again?

Typically, an orchid grows one flower spike a year, and the blooms last months, so it may be several months before your orchid blooms if you just let your orchid bloom naturally without trying to prompt blooming by adjusting the environmental conditions.

If you need any more help, read my article, why is my orchid not blooming?

Key Takeaways:

  • The best way to get an orchid to rebloom is to locate your orchid in a cool room with a temperature between 55°F (12°C) to 60°F (16°C), which signals to the orchid that this is the right time to produce a flower spike and display flowers.
  • To get an orchid to flower again on the same spike, cut the spike just above the bottom node, which stimulates a side shoot to grow from which flowers can be displayed.
  • Orchids need bright indirect light to flower with high humidity.
  • Use a specialized orchid fertilizer to ensure the orchid has the resources it needs to flower.
  • Phalaenopsis orchids prefer fewer hours of daylight and more hours of darkness to prompt flowering.

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