What Do I Do With This Orchid?

September 3, 2008 | By | Comments (9)


Q: I am a teacher and was given a beautiful orchid plant at the end of the school year. It’s a month later, the small purple and white blooms have dropped and I’m left with a green stick.

What do I do now?

Fort Mill, SC

A: Well, you could use it to punish students when they misbehave.

Actually, the best course of action would be to leave the “green stick” alone. I’m assuming you were given a moth orchid (Phalaeonopsis sp), which is the most common and easy-to-grow kind. After it finishes a blooming cycle, don’t cut off the bloom stem. New branches and flower buds may form. If new buds don’t appear and the stem dies, then cut it back. Your orchid likes bright light, but not direct sun. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Make sure the soil drains well. To increase humidity around it indoors, place the pot atop a water-filled saucer lined with pebbles. Feed monthly with liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer. Exposing the plant to several weeks of cool temperatures at night (around 60 to 65 degrees) will promote the formation of flower buds.

Good luck,

Q: I just read your comment about the Orchid and not cutting the stem when the flowers die. I just cut it off a couple of days ago.

What can I expect to happen?

Barbara Rocchi

A: A mass extinction of the human race will now ensue.

No, seriously, all you have done is remove the possibility of the old bloom stalk producing additional blooms. The plant can still send up another bloom stalk, only this will take a little longer. Follow the cultural advice given to the other reader and your plant should eventually bloom again.



  1. 6 Gardening Tasks for Hubby at Halftime – The Daily South | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] growing very much. Grumpy waters his peace lilies and Christmas cactus once a week, his moth orchids and kalanchoes once every two weeks, his clivia once a month, and his snake plants […]

    November 4, 2012 at 6:01 am
  2. Moncler Doudoune

    Nice, and thanks for sharing this info with us.Good Luck!

    December 20, 2011 at 11:54 am
  3. Lea Taylor

    This one is a pretty flower. As an orchid lover myself, I do hope it will bloom again and hopefully soon. There is so much happiness you can get from caring an orchid or even just looking at them. It’s very peaceful and refreshing.

    October 24, 2010 at 8:33 am
  4. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    I think you can chalk up the appearance of your hydrangeas to the hot weather. When the plants are stressed, the first place it shows is the flowers. Try your best to keep your plants watered. As for the color, you must have them planted with in very acid soil. If you want blush-pink flowers, sprinkle a couple of cups of lime around each plant and water it in. The color change will take some time and you may have to lime again.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm
  5. Margaret Thomas

    Talk to me about hydrangeas–we have been really hot in KY, but my blooms weren’t very pretty, leaves wilted. My new Blushing Bride was beautiful, but the last blooms were blue.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:03 pm
  6. philippines flower shop

    Thanks for all your lovely photos. I grew up in the mountains, and like to check your blog! It’s a breath of fresh air when i saw those flowers so beautiful. Keep posting! 🙂

    February 23, 2010 at 10:40 pm
  7. roses philippines

    Wow! white flowers really beautiful it has a very refreshing feeling,and the floral on the post so pretty. keep posting.

    February 22, 2010 at 12:14 am
  8. Grumpy Gardener

    One palm I would recommend for your area would be needle palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix), which is the hardiest palm in the world (tolerates below zero temps). You can order one from Woodlanders Nursery (http://www.woodlanders.net/).The only other palm I would take a chance on up there is windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei). It has taken temps as low as 6 degrees for me with no injury. Pampas grass is worth a shot.

    April 29, 2009 at 8:52 am
  9. karen

    I live in Rockville, Md.,about 15 miles from DC, and was wondering if there was a variety of palm tree that would make it through the winter here.If not, how about a pampas grass?

    April 28, 2009 at 8:30 am

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s