A lovely woman contacted me regarding my terrariums.  She had an orchid in her office and wanted to replace it with a terrarium.  I explained that she didn’t have to throw her orchid away, but could encourage it to rebloom.

In addition to being ideal for terrariums (orchids thrive in humid environments), they are also easy to grow as houseplants.

Did you know that you can cut back the stem of many orchids and they will bloom again?

For example, Phalaenopsis orchids (the ubiquitous orchids you see in grocery and D.I.Y. stores) bloom once a year.  The first flower spike remains in bloom for 2 to 3 months.  Then, using the method detailed below, you can coax the spike to rebloom in 3 to 4 months.  This new spike will also remain in bloom for 2 to 3 months.  By doing this, you can enjoy flowers for nearly 6 months from one plant.

•  When the last flower drops, cut the old flower stem just under the lowest bloom.
•  Continue to provide good light, water, and fertilize.  Follow the orchid fertilizer directions (weak solution weekly or a more concentrated solution once a month.)
•  Orchids need day/night temperature variations of 8 to 10 degrees.  Plants will not bloom well without this temperature contrast.
•  Make certain water doesn’t sit in the pot and that the orchid potting mix is a light, airy mix of bark chips, hardwood charcoal, coarse peat moss and perlite.  Good orchid mixes are available at garden and D.I.Y. stores.  A wet pot and mix will cause the roots to rot.
•  A spike will branch out in three to four months with a new flowering branch.
•  Enjoy your rebloom for 2 to 3 months!
•  You should only do this “cut and rebloom” once per flower spike.

•  Cut the stem off completely
•  Continue the same care… good light, water, fertilize (as mentioned above) and you’ll get another bloom the following year.
With a little care, the orchid will grow larger and the flowers will be more profuse with each bloom!

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All images and content copyright Jeffrey Schneider of JAMES Modern Terrariums 2009.