Flowers & Blooms

How to Cut Dead Flowers from an Orchid

It’s always a great experience to see your Phalaenopsis orchid produce gorgeous blossoms. We all want our orchids to grow beautifully. A Phalaenopsis orchid produce long-lasting flowers and they can last for months. However, they will eventually fade.

Dead flowers are not a beautiful sight. They will not only give your Phalaenopsis orchid an unpleasant appearance but they can also be a source of diseases for the other parts of the plant, or even the nearby plants. This is why it’s always important to remove dead blossoms as soon as they appear (as soon as a flower fades).

How to Remove Dead Flowers

Before you remove any faded flower from your Phalaenopsis orchid, you need to make sure that it’s actually dead. It sounds like a no-brainer but it’s sometimes not easy to tell. Inspect a flower carefully. A dead flower has a spike that’s drooping and is discolored. The edges of the dead flower are always brownish. If you notice these signs it’s a good time to remove the flower.

Keep in mind that many orchids often have more than one bloom on a stem-like spike. Because the blooms usually start opening from the bottom bud, the first sign of fading will be observed on the flowers located at the lower part of the flower spike.

Once you have observed these chances and once you are sure a flower is dead, you may remove it. It’s easiest to remove dead flowers from your Phalaenopsis orchids using a sharp pair of scissors. Before you start, make sure that the scissors are sterilized properly.

Orchid

Gently, place the blades of the scissors around the stem of the dead flower, where it attaches to the flower spike. Make sure to cut it swiftly to produce a clean, sharp cut.

You should throw away a severed bloom in the trash immediately. This should be done to prevent spreading of the diseases to the other plants.

Once you’re done, you may continue removing the rest of the dead flowers. Remember: throw away each dead flower as soon as you cut it, before you move to the next one.

You need to know that it’s also ok to let the dead blooms fall off naturally if you wish to keep them attached as long as possible. However, it’s not a pleasant sight and it might increase the risk of diseases in some cases (even though the dead flower itself is not a threat for the plant, but it might attract pests and disease more easily).

Continue removing each faded flower along the flower spike.

If you want to trigger reblooming, you may cut the spike about half of an inch above a node. New blooms will typically emerge from that node in 2-3 months.

Photo credit: JoséMa Orsini via photopin cc