When and How
Knowing when to prune your orchids is critical; it should be done only after your orchids have bloomed and the flowers have fallen to the ground. Before this proper time could cost you precious blooms and it is during this time of rest, that your orchids will want to grow more leaves in order to have beautiful flowers next time around. In order to stimulate the leaf-phase of your plants, and to increase the production of photosynthesis for more vibrant and greener leaves, some orchids will need to be pruned.
Okay – that’s the ‘when’ of it, now let’s talk about the how. The secateurs-type pruning tool is best used for pruning orchid stalks, and I do recommend those. Some folks use gloves when handling their orchids, but I prefer to use bare hands because it gives me better control of the plant and the tools that I’m using. But without gloves we must wash our hands before and after working with each plant with anti-bacterial soap.
Pruning orchids can be cut the same way for most orchid plants, so after the flowers have fallen, cut the orchids about midway up the stalk. This is the best guideline to use if you are new to growing orchids. A bit more experienced grower should cut their orchids a little bit lower, usually above the second node which produces spectacular orchid growth. I never cut lower than this because it could kill the orchid.
Some orchids may produce new growth differently than others, and some will even grow a whole new plant from the old orchid roots. Others grow new leaves using the same stalk. Some will actually form a brand new plant that will flower during the next season. Always remember that various groups of orchids exhibit individual characteristics where growth and flowering are concerned.
Because orchids are extremely susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections, you must thoroughly sterilize the secateurs by wiping with a diluted bleach solution.
While we are pruning our orchid, remember to check the roots. With some orchid varieties, it can also be beneficial to check the state of the roots too; those looking supple and green or with a grayish film are healthy, and should be left alone. But mushy or brown roots, brittle and desiccated, should be carefully removed to allow for new growth.
So nothing to be afraid of; pick up those secateurs, chop away all the dead parts and give your orchid a new lease on life for the season ahead.
Esther Smith, author
Postponing this important task until later on is never a good idea. Orchids will then re-enter its active growth phase meaning that pruning it too late may actually inhibit new growth. For more information on growing and caring for your orchids go to=>