Growing Orchids

Dear Lynn

I bought two Phalaenopsis (Orchid) indoor plants last year. I have cut one of the flowering stems to the soil level. Will this still grow and produce flowers?

The leaves look healthy and I am feeding them  with an appropriate ‘drip feed’. Both the plants are producing new leaves. Is there a limit regarding the number of leaves there should be, if so which do I remove?

They are in 4inch pots with the same compost as  they were supplied in. When should I repot or change the compost?

Your advice would be appreciated please?


Dear Dorcas

I love orchids and have several around the house but there is a knack in getting them to flower again. 

Once the flowers have faded, cut the flowering stalk back to just above the second node (joint) visible beneath the spent flowers. A new flowering side shoot may develop.  If the stalk doesn’t start to grow back and  flower buds are not being formed in a reasonable time, then reduce the temperature by 5°C (8°F) for four weeks, and a flower spike will usually develop.  The fact that you have cut the stalk down to soil level will mean that you may have a long wait for the stalk to grow back again (if at all) but if the plant is healthy this should happen in time.

It sounds like your orchid leaves are healthy and feeding them with the drip feeds is a good idea.  There is no limit to the amount of leaves nor should any leaves be removed unless they are damaged and decaying.

Repotting is only required occasionally  when the plants have outgrown their container or when the potting mix has started to disintegrate. Re-pot between March and June using coarse free draining specialist orchid compost available from garden centres. Do not re-pot into too large a pot and choose a pot just large enough to contain the roots. Do not try to bury the fleshy white aerial roots that extend above the pot, as they are prone to rotting.

Orchids like humidity so a spray once a week with tepid water will be beneficial.

Good luck with getting your orchid to re-flower.

Kind Regards

Lynn Burton
Horticultural Adviser