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333 Comments on “Q&A”

  1. lucienne vranch Says:

    My orchid has stopped flowering and the top of the stem is going brown. I read someone else’s comments on forum with a similar question and it was suggested stem should be cut. Can you please tell me how far to cut the stem down to?

  2. Marc Says:

    Cut the flower stem back as far as you can without damaging nearby leaves or roots.

  3. Karen Says:

    I received a orchid in December 2009, it bloomed and remained beautiful until June 2010, now all the blooms have fallen off and the section of the stem where the blooms where is turning brown. Is it dead? Will it bloom again? Should I cut off the brown section of the stem? Thanks.

  4. Marc Says:

    No, your orchid isn’t dead; it’s just finished blooming. I recommend your cut off the old flower stem with a sharp scissors cleaned with hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution. It will help to ID your orchid so you can learn its specific care needs and help it bloom again.

  5. Jenny Says:

    I received a beautiful phal orchid for Secretary day and was wondering how long the blooms will last. Last week, one flower became limp and this past weekend, 3 more became limp.

  6. Marc Says:

    Phals are known for flowers that can last weeks or even months, but if the blooms were already open when you received yours, there’s no way to know when they’ll drop. Common causes of premature flower loss include too much or too little water, allowing the plant to sit in water, low humidity, and inadequate light.

  7. Steph Says:

    I just got an orchid a few weeks ago for my birthday. Its a Phalaenopsis I’m sure. I heard that when it finishes blooming, I can force it to rebloom. How do I do that? Thank you.

  8. Marc Says:

    Immediately after your Phal finishes blooming, you can cut the flower spike above a node to force it to rebloom. Check the complete instructions here.

  9. Robin Says:

    Hi Marc,
    I have a Phal that is currently with new flowers in the last week and three other blossom’s on the stem..I water once a week…and mist every day as I live in the dry Southwest..I’ve noticed in the last week that the leaves are much softer than normal..not firm like they have been and they are have begun to wrinkle..
    What’s that from? Too much water? Also should I fertilize while in bloom and is it every 4th watering as my sister (who also grows orchids in Florida) recommended to me.
    Thanks for your answers.

  10. Marc Says:

    Hi Robin. Soft, wrinkly leaves can be a sign of either overwatering or underwatering. Check the potting material by sticking your finger in to the first knuckle. If it’s soggy and the roots are mushy, overwatering may be the problem. However, I suspect underwatering. It may be that watering once a week was sufficient in winter or spring, but it’s not enough in the summer. Your sister is correct to fertilize regularly while in bloom. Also pay extra attention to humidity during the hot desert summer.

  11. zoe Says:

    hi i have an orchid which finished blooming and i cut back the flower stem down to the leaves…… the orchid has grown many new leaves but i wondered have i done the wrong thing cutting the stem back? it had gone brown? will i ever have a new flower stem?

  12. Marc Says:

    Your orchid will grow new flower stems when it’s ready to bloom again. Brown stems are dead and will not bloom again.

  13. Nashville Matt Says:

    I have three orcids that I purchased from Lowes on Clearance. Only one was blooming at the time of purchase, but the leaves looked healthy and since they were only $1.00 i couldn’t pass the deal. I have always enjoyed Orchids but never tried growing myself so this is my new project! I water them twice a week, or when the media feels dry. Two are Phalaeonopsis and one is Dendrobium. First question, should I cut off the bloom sticks. Second Question, the Dendrobium has new leaf growth but it appears that new roots are sprouting from the bottom of the new leaves. Should I break it off and start a new pot, or does this variety’s roots just use air? Third question, I currently have them in front of some bright windows that allow the morning sun in. The room is air conditioned and we keep it about 70 degrees F, is that ideal or should i move them on the patio where it will continue to receive morning sun only but it will be in the humidity and rain of Nashville, TN. Thanks for any help you can provide.

  14. Marc Says:

    I recommend you cut off the bloom sticks (usually called flower spikes) with a sharp scissors cleaned with hot water & soap, bleach solution, or rubbing alcohol.

    It sounds like your Dendrobium may have keikis, or baby orchids. This can sometimes indicate a problem, such as too much water over winter dormancy, or insufficient light. You can leave them to grow and mature, but they will drain energy from the mother plant, which probably won’t bloom again as long as the keikis remain.

    It sounds like your patio will be great for your orchids, as long as nighttime temps remain about 60F for the Phals. They’ll really enjoy the morning sun, rain, and humidity. Dendrobiums needs more light than Phals, so place yours in the brightest position.

  15. Amy Says:

    I recently purchased an orchid from Lowes that was on the clearance rack. I have always wanted to try and grow one but was afraid to for fear of killing it. I was able to bring it back and the leaves are now wonderfully green and healthy however the flower stem is turning yellow. Since this is the first time I have tried these flowers I am at a loss as to what to do next. I purchased a small Phal in a 3″ pot and it sits in my kitchen window which receives indirect light most of the day with a small amount of very late afternoon sun. It has been warm and humid the last few days but the weather in Western PA can change on a dime. Please help!

  16. Marc Says:

    Flower stems usually die back after the flowers fade, so it doesn’t sound like anything is wrong. Your light and humidity conditions seem good, but be careful of temps below 60F for Phals.

  17. Nashville Matt Says:

    Marc, Thank You so much for your help! I think I am going to let the Keikis grow a little longer and then cut it off to start a whole new plant!

  18. andrea Says:

    My orchid leaves have stick stuff on the bottom of the leaves that look like water drops. What is this from?

  19. Marc Says:

    Clear, sticky liquid is probably sap, and nothing to worry about. However, aphids can also leave sticky residue, so check for pests.

  20. BJ Says:

    Based on what I’m reading here, we definitely overwatered our orchid. My husband was watering it and so was I – didn’t know he was doing that. Anyway, all the beautiful flowers died and the stem is entirely brown, so I cut it back. There are two green leaves which are a bit mushy now. I checked the roots and they are still moist and some are green. Is there hope that it will come back at some point? If so, how long will it take?

  21. Marc Says:

    As long as there are still some firm leaves and roots, your orchid is still alive. Make sure it dries thoroughly before watering again, and make sure the pot isn’t sitting in water. If the potting material is rotted, you should repot ASAP. Depending how many leaves and roots remain on your orchid, it may take a few months to recover, or several years.

  22. Marg Says:

    When my orchid sent out a new flowering shoot it also began developing new leaves at the top of the old stem (about 8 inches above the rest of the leaves). Should I cut the new leaves off or leave them be? Could I repot the new leaves to gain a second orchid plant?

  23. Marc Says:

    Your orchid is growing a keiki, or baby orchid. You can leave it to grow and mature, but it will drain energy from the mother plant. If you want to keep it, don’t remove it from the mother plant until the roots are at least 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) long.

  24. priya Says:

    firstly i really enjoyed your site and also the lovely pictures. my husband loves flowers especially orchids. so he ended up getting different kinds of orchids and i have no idea what they are. the first one has really long thin stems with green soft leaves sprouting on the top of theses stems, and they also seem to be wrinkling or folding- please help with the variety and problem. secondly i have another orchid which seems to have thick wide dark green leaves, again they look a bit dull. thirdly i have the last orchid which has bright green leaves but unfortunately from the portion where the plant seems to touch the media it is brown and i tried shifting it from a warm to hot but shaded sun. still no use…please help with variety and the problem, i am located in central india

  25. Marc Says:

    Thanks, Priya. I’m glad you enjoy the site. There are tens of thousands of orchid varieties, so there’s no way I can ID your orchids from a written description. When trying to ID yours, remember that you don’t need the exact name to figure out care needs, just the family of orchids where it belongs.

    Wrinkled leaves usually mean insufficient water. Even if you increase watering, the leaves will remain wrinkled, but new growth should be normal.

    Not every brown spot is a problem, but if the brown portion of yours is the base of a stem or pseudobulb, that part of the plant may be dying. It could be caused by over or underwatering, pests, disease, or rotting potting media, but it may also just be old age of that part of the plant.

  26. catherine Says:

    hi i recently got a phal and i am new to this world of plants :-)
    there are 5 flowers that have bloomed, and around on the branches are other flowers waiting to open but 3 of them fell off. one of the leafs has cracked in the centre not sure how this happened i had my nieces up d other day so maybe it was them? and another leaf around the edge of it has turned yellow in colour.
    i water it once a week and it is sitting on my sitting room floor beside the patio doors but not directly in front of them.
    is it ok to move the plant to different parts of the hse or should it stay in one area?
    in the evening can i put it out on my balcony and then take it in the next morning?
    when i am sitting on my balcony can the phal sit wit me?
    i am from Ireland and at the moment the weather is hot night time is 13-17 degrees celsius
    thank u for your answers :-)

  27. Marc Says:

    Start by checking basic care info for Phals. I can’t account for your nieces’ behavior, but dropping flowers buds can be a sign of too much or too little water, allowing the pot to sit in water, low humidity, or sudden temperature changes. Yellow leaves or split leaves may point to watering problems, too. Orchids love trips outdoors as long as temps are right for that variety. For Phals, only leave outdoors when temps are above 65F (18C.) While it’s ok to move the orchid to different parts of the house, its flowers may try to re-orient towards the sun each time, which may cause flowers to drop. Good luck!

  28. Felicia Says:

    My phals flowers wilted and some dried up and fell of others are just shrivled but still there. Now the stem is turning yellowish brown but the leaves still look healthy. What is wrong with my orchid? Is it best to go ahead and cut the flowers when they shrivel?

  29. Marc Says:

    Phal flowers fade eventually, but if you think yours have died prematurely, common problems include over or underwatering, allowing the pot to sit in water, low humidity, or cold temps. Healthy leaves are a good sign. It’s best to cut off the flower stem with a sharp scissors cleaned with hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution.

  30. Joanna Says:

    I work at a company with a specific aesthetic and therefore in many of the executive’s offices and in every reception area there is usually a blooming Phal orchid plant. When it is done blooming the plant is thrown away. Over the last two weeks I have been looking for any tossed plants and have so far collected 5! However, I know nothing about the care of orchids. Each and every one of these orchids comes in a glass vase with moss and bark at the bottom. And they have all just finished blooming recently. So my question is, do I need to repot them? What about the bark at the bottom of the vase? Can that stay? Or do I need new bark? When I do repot them should I repot them in the same glass vase? Or something bigger? Or something with holes in the bottom? Thanks! Joanna

  31. Marc Says:

    Hi Joanna. Orchids are often a disposable commodity. Ironically, many of these are tough modern hybrids, and among the easiest orchid varieties to grow. Start by checking basic care info for Phals. It is possible to keep some orchids in a vase with bark, but I recommend you pot them with new bark into regular flower pots with drainage holes. Good luck!



  33. Marc Says:

    You can place the flower stem in water to keep them as cut flowers. Some kinds of orchids, like Phals and Epidendrums, can bloom again from a broken flower stem, but other orchid varieties may not bloom again until next year.

  34. Dave Says:

    I have a Oncidium orchid (everglades) after it bloomed I cut the stem off half way. I noticed about a month later that the end of one leaf turned brown about 1 1/2 inches. A month after that the leaves which are about 18 inches long started turning brown and black and now are falling off at the point where the pseudo bulb attaches to the leaf. the roots appear to be white and are sticking out of the top of the pot. I water about every 7 days and fertilize with a weak fertilizer when I do. Leaf color is green otherwise.
    Any suggestions what might be wrong?

  35. Marc Says:

    Check this post on Reading Your Orchid’s Leaves. Old leaves may die as part of the plant’s nature life cycle, and are replaced with new growth. On some orchids, old pseudobulbs shed their leaves, but remain green themselves, and this is also normal. Your roots sound healthy, and are happy sticking out of the pot as long as you have good humidity. Depending on your growing conditions, you may need to water more often; check out this post on Summer Watering.

  36. Rick Says:

    Dave. How old is the plant? It may be natural progression of the cycle of the plant. I am assuming nothing about it’s enviroment has changed(Lighting tempature, humidity ect…) If the plant is using the same amount of water as usual and getting fertilized,this is a sign pointing to normal cycling. However, check the roots to see if they are green on the tips. If they are your fine. Also are the roots spongy,Like the’re supposed to be. Or are they mushy? one last check the pot size. it might be time to repot.
    Good luck

  37. Tina Dombrowski Says:

    I have a Phali that bloomed for months. When blooms were done, I left stalks in place. One died. The other is still alive and has now produced a NEW PLANT. The main leaf is about 2 inches long. How do I care for it? Do I cut and plant of leave it? Never have had this happen before. It’s so cool!! THANKS. Tina

  38. Marc Says:

    You have a keiki, or baby orchid. Some Phals may grow keikis even when growing conditions are good, but others may be indicating that there’s a problem with the light, water, or temps. It’s your decision whether or not to keep it, but keep in mind that while the mother orchid is diverting energy to the keiki, the mother probably won’t bloom.

  39. Jackie Says:

    I was given a seedling with a tag that says: BLC Sea Swirl, Large Green, lip red and yellow FRAGRANT…..when I search for a picture, the picture does not look like the description….can you tell me what it is? Cym, Phals, what???? Thanks a million

  40. Marc Says:

    BLC stands for Brassolaeliocattleya, so you have a hybrid in the Cattleya family. Cattleyas like bright light, warm temps, and to dry thoroughly in between waterings.

  41. April Says:

    I bought a phal from Walmart. The flowers died so I cut the stem per instructions I read on another website. Now my leaves are splitting. What does this mean? How should I cut them back?

  42. Marc Says:

    Cutting the Phal flower stem to force another set of blooms will only work on a healthy plant, and it sounds like yours is having some trouble. Check basic care info for Phals, and also this post on Reading Your Orchid’s Leaves. Common causes for splitting leaves include over or underwatering, or allowing the pot to sit in water. Low humidity or insufficient light could also be factors. If you need to remove the leaves, use a sharp blade cleaned with hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution.

  43. Kelly Says:

    Do you have to prune the orchid to get it to bloom again the blooms feel off about a month ago and the stem is all still green but i don’t know if i am to prune the stem back or just leave it alone it is all still bright green

  44. Marc Says:

    Even if you saw this post about Forcing Phals to Rebloom, your flower stem (or spike) is too old for the process. It won’t work to prune a Phal spike after the last flower falls. A handful of other orchid varieties can bloom from old flower spikes, but generally the advice is to remove it so the plant can direct energy to new growth. Use a sharp scissors cleaned in hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution.

  45. Tara Says:

    My husband bought me an orchid plant for Mothers Day from our local Kroger. All of the blooms have fallen off and I have continued to water it once a week. The leaves are thick and firm and a nice light to med green color. It has 2 stems about 12-15 inches high. Since the blooms have fallen off, half of the stem has turned brown but the lower half is still green n looks very healthy. What should i do? I would love for it to bloom again I just dont know what care it needs…Also, i keep it on my kitchen table where it recieves a good amount of indirect sunlight during the day. Please help! Thank u.

  46. Marc Says:

    To figure out its care needs, it will help to identify your orchid. You don’t need the exact name; just the family of orchids where it belongs. If you can’t ID it, check these generic orchid care instructions. I recommend you remove the old flower stem so the plant can direct energy to new growth.

  47. Tara Says:

    Im almost positive its a Phal. How do i remove the old flower stem?

  48. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Phals. You can remove the old flower stem with a sharp scissors cleaned in hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution.

  49. Tara Says:

    it didnt exactly tell me where to cut the stem w the clean scissors and i dont want to ruin my plant…

  50. Marc Says:

    Cut the old flower stem as close to the plant’s base as you can without damaging nearby leaves or roots.

  51. Ladan Says:

    I received a Phalaenopsis in May and it still has a bunch of blooms but some of them have started to fall off. About a month after I got the plant I noticed what looks like to me as new buds growing. They haven’t gotten any bigger or smaller since then. But all of the blooms have fallen off one stem and half on another stem and 2 stems still have all of the blooms. Each stem has one bud. I also noticed a few weeks ago that I have a new leaf growing as well. Is there something I should be doing to help the buds bloom? The plant sits on my kitchen table next to my sliding glass door. It gets indirect light pretty much all day up until 6ish when the sun goes down and the sun comes directly in that window. I water when I feel the soil is dry (about once a week maybe week and a half). Am I doing something wrong that the blooms are falling off and the buds aren’t growing? Or do I need to be doing something else?

  52. Marc Says:

    It sounds like your Phal is trying to rebloom, but a problem with your growing conditions is causing the buds to fail. Possible culprits include cool temps, low humidity, or insufficient water. Direct sun in the early evening shouldn’t be a problem as long as watering and humidity are sufficient.

  53. Tara Says:

    Thank u so much!!!!!

  54. Melissa Says:

    I have a phalaenopsis orchid that I received in February. It stopped blooming in March and I cut back the stem. The leaves are droopy and very soft, with lines running through them. One leaf is turning yellow/brown. It is still in the original pot, which is nothing more than a cup. What could be wrong with it? Thank you for your help.

  55. Marc Says:

    Check this post on Reading Your Orchid’s Leaves. Soft, droopy leaves may be caused by over or underwatering, allowing the pot to sit in water, low light, or low humidity. As long as the pot has drainage holes, it’s fine to keep it.

  56. Sharon Buckingham Says:

    I got a phalaenopsis orchid in early May. It’s now mid-August. It sits inside in a window with diffuse sun and is still in the original pot (circumference is 14″ and depth is 5″). It was blooming when I got and just this week began to drop those blooms. What do I do now? Does it need to hibernate? Be cut back? What? Thanks. S.

  57. Marc Says:

    Your Phal may go into “hibernation” or may start growing new leaves and roots right away. In either case, check basic care info for Phals. Diffuse sun is good; remember to increase watering when it’s warm. You can remove the old flower stem with a sharp scissors cleaned in hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution. Cut the old flower stem as close to the plant’s base as you can without damaging nearby leaves or roots.

  58. Chris Says:

    A while back I asked how to get my phal to flower again. You recommended to cut it between the 2nd and 3rd node. It has flowered again and the flowers have went away. Do I need to cut it again to make it flower again, and if so where? You were absolutely right about cutting it the first time. A new flower spike grew out just under where I cut it and covered it with wax. Thank you for your response.

  59. Marc Says:

    You can only force a Phal to rebloom once. The plant has drained its energy to bloom again, and will now need to recover. Some modern hybrids may recover quickly, but many other varieties may take a year or longer before blooming again.

  60. Barbara Says:

    I received a Milt. Rouge Picardie as a gift last July. It has bloomed for a year and the last flower fell off a few weeks ago. I am reading the name of the orchid from the stick in the pot.

    I have two long stems about 18″ long as they got longer when the flowers were blooming. I do not see any new shoots forming from these stems as in the past for several weeks now. Is this the end of the plant? Should I cut back the 18″ stems. I don’t know what to do — it is a beautiful plant and would like to save it if I can. I have never repotted this plant — it looks like its planted in bark pieces and the roots are all wound around the bottom of the plant — I water once a week. Please let me know what I can do to get it to bloom again. Thank you.

  61. Marc Says:

    You have a Miltoniopsis hybrid in the Miltonia family. Since it stayed in bloom for so long, you’re obviously taking care of it well. The plant has stopped blooming, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. It will store up energy and grow new leaves and roots sometime during the next year so it can bloom again.

    Remove old flower stems with a sharp scissors cleaned in hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution. Cut the old flower stems as close to the plant’s base as you can without damaging nearby leaves or roots.

  62. cherylnn Says:

    I bought a small tiny orchid and the name is T. Latifolia ‘Enano’. I am new at orchid growing and can not find this plant. I am sure the T. stands for something but I can not locate it. thank you

  63. Marc Says:

    I believe your plant is a Tillandsia, which is a type of bromeliad, not an orchid. Like orchids, Tillandsias are air plants, and they are often companion plants to orchids in the rainforest. However, bromeliads are a different plant family, so you’ll need to search elsewhere for care info. You may find some info at the Bromeliad Society International.

  64. Theresa Says:

    I have 4 vanda orchids. They are all growing new roots. Some of them are really weird, like 3 roots glued together. I took a picture., but cannot figure out how to insert here. They started out looking like a pea (green) at the end of the root, it then became white roots with the greenish brown tips at the end, but the three are fused together along their length, separating at the very tips. Is this a problem?

  65. Theresa Says:

    I also have a chocolate cimbidium for 1.5 years that has grown new leaf clusters (whatever they are called) but has not rebloomed. It is in the same pot. How do I get it to re-bloom?

  66. Marc Says:

    Your Vanda roots sound fine. Healthy new orchid roots grow with green tips which become silvery-white. It sounds like the root is branching into 3, and that’s a sign of healthy new growth, not a problem.

    Check basic care info for Cymbidiums. Cymbidiums need bright light, regular water and fertilizer, and nighttime temperature drops to re-bloom.

  67. Lysa Says:

    I need help! I have 2 Phals; one has completely lost all of its flowers and it has not bloomed for about 3 months now and the other is losing it’s flowers rather quickly. I was reading the other posts and I am not quite sure and a little nervous about cutting since I am not sure exactly where on the stem or how close to cut it. I need help majorly. I don’t want to lose my plants. Is there a way to revive an orchid if it’s close to its death?

  68. Marc Says:

    All plants lose their flowers eventually, but that doesn’t mean that the plants are dying. If you think your Phals are losing their flowers prematurely, common causes are over or underwatering, allowing the pot to sit in water, cold temps, low humidity, or low light. You can cut off the old flower stem as close to the base of the plant as possible without damaging nearby leaves or roots. Use a sharp scissors cleaned with hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution.

  69. Alysha Says:

    I recently purchased a rather large orchid (about 3-4 feet) which I believe is a type of Dendrobium orchid. It was doing fairly well at first but has had to move to college with me and is now seeming a little sad. 3 or 4 of the flowers have turned brown and I’ve had to cut them off and now the stems are developing a sort of white-tan covering? It comes off easily from some of the stems and there seems to be healthy green underneath. Do I remove this covering or leave it on? Also, does this mean my orchid is dying? :(

    Thank you very much!

  70. Marc Says:

    No flowers last forever, but that doesn’t mean your Dendrobium is dying. The flowers may be dropping because of changes in growing conditions in its new home. If it gets good light, good humidity, regular water and fertilizer, and winter dormancy, it should bloom again next year. The white-tan coverings sound like drying sheaths on the stems, or pseudobulbs. That’s normal, and they don’t need to be removed. They’ll eventually dry completely, and if you don’t like the sight of them, you can carefully peel them off later.

  71. David Says:

    I have 2 Phals, each of which has developed new shoots and leaves on one of their respective branches (i.e. approx. 1.5 feet above the soil line). May I cut them off to pot them? If so, where can I go to learn the proper botanical technique(s) so as to minimize the risk of injuring/killing this beautiful new growth?

    Thanks in advance for your assistance . . . .


  72. Marc Says:

    It sounds like you have keikis, or baby orchids. To remove them, use a sharp scissors cleaned with hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution. The “branches” are flower spikes. Don’t cut the keiki’s roots. Instead cut the spike and leave a segment of the spike attached to the keiki. Pot each keiki in their own small pot.

  73. Ana Podder Says:

    Helloooo…I just start to collect Phals and I would like to know the apropiate soil for this…..tks!

  74. Marc Says:

    Phals are epiphytes, or air plants, and cannot grow in regular potting soil. Most growers use a bark and perlite mixture. Other choices include coconut fiber or moss. Ask local growers, orchid society, or garden center what works best in your climate.

  75. Gisele Says:

    My phalaenopsis is in bloom, and I have noticed 2 more stems growing near the flowering stem base. Do I let these grow and bloom or do I cut them off?

  76. Marc Says:

    If the Phal is capable of putting out more flowers, I would let it. The current flowers may be faded by the time new flowers open.

  77. Charlene Elmore Says:

    Why does my cymbidiums have little black dot like bugs on them?


  78. Marc Says:

    Check this post on Reading Your Orchids Leaves. Not every spot is cause for concern. Old leaves may have spots or drop as part of the plant’s natural growth cycle. However, black dots could indicate problems such as bug damage. Cymbidium leaves are susceptible to fungal infections if there is low humidity or poor air movement.

  79. shawn Says:

    my leaves have white spots and they appear to be dead or dying a new leaf is starting to grow should i cut the dying ones off

  80. Marc Says:

    Check this post on Reading Your Orchids Leaves. White spots may be mealybugs, which can look like small pieces of cotton. If the leaf is dying, it may fall off on its own. If you want to cut it off, use a sharp scissors cleaned with hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution.

  81. Seth Says:

    I have inherited an orchid from work. all blooms are gone and most leaves are gone, essentially dead… however, on the flower stem there are three leaves that have started to develop about 16″ above the soil line? is this a new plant that needs cultivating? Do orchids stem new plants this way (similar to bamboo shoots?) Sadly I don’t know what variety plant it is….any thoughts on how to revitalize? Thanks

  82. Seth Says:

    OK, I’ve read some more, and I think I have a Phal. Sounds like I’ve got keiki’s on it, but no new roots yet… thinking I’ll wait for some roots and then try to separate and pot as directed a few posts up. Thanks for all the insights!

  83. Steve Says:

    My Phal, purchased earlier this year with some flowers and many buds. The flowers all appeared and then, eventually, they withered and died. When the stem turned completely brown, I cut it off close to the main plant. Since then a couple of the leaves have started turning yellow. The Plant is away from the window but gets a lot of light. It is fed weekly with three (2) ice cubes and seemed to be very happy. Any suggestions?

  84. Marc Says:

    Check basic info for Phals, and this post on Reading Your Orchid’s Leaves. Yellow leaves may be from over or under watering, low light, or lack of fertilizer.

  85. Raelene Says:

    My friend has a Phal,that has been great over the last couple of months, it still has a lot of flowers on it, but they are not opening & are drooping. The leaves are also very soft & droopy but still quite green. What’s wrong?

  86. Marc Says:

    Check this post on Reading Your Orchids Leaves. Drooping buds and soft, droopy leaves could mean that the orchid is being overwatered, or the roots are sitting in water. It can also be a sign of low light.

  87. Irene Says:

    Dear friends,

    I made such a terrible mistake. In an attempt to improve my orchid’s situation I cut its two stems, only to realize after removing them that one of them started budding… Can I rescue this stem and plant it to produce roots? Can I plant the buds (like you can do with some lilies)?

    Not having orchids before I must have ignored their growing cycle, as it was probably ready to give flowers in a month or two. How can I rectify the situation?

    H E L P !!!!

  88. Marc Says:

    You haven’t ID’d your orchid, which can affect the answer. Under good growing conditions, Phals and Epidendrums can regrow broken flower stems; most other orchid varieties cannot, and will not bloom again until next year. The flower stem won’t grow if you plant it. The good news is that you haven’t hurt the plant itself, and it can still live to bloom another day.

  89. Lucinda Rogers Says:

    Why did the leaves on my phal suddenly turn yellowish/brownish and fall off? It’s been growing ok though no blooms for a year or so. Natural light–water with ice cubes.

  90. Marc Says:

    There are several potential causes for yellow or brown leaves. Check this post on Reading Your Orchid’s Leaves, and also check basic care info for Phals. Lack of blooms for a year or so may indicate insufficient light, insufficient water, or cold temps.

  91. Magali Muria Says:

    My orchid (it looks like a Phal but I am not positive) has been very happy since I got them three years ago. But now the stem is turning yellow.
    Does this mean I am underwatering it?

  92. Marc Says:

    If it’s the flower stem turning yellow, it’s not a problem. The orchid will grow a new one when it’s ready to bloom again. If it’s the stem of the plant where leaves grow from (Phals don’t have these, but other orchids like Dendrobiums do,) then it may be a problem with underwatering, overwatering, or need to repot.

  93. Monique Says:

    The latest flower on my Phalaenopsis Orchid did not fully open, is droopy and the stem of it is becoming like a thread but there is another bud coming, what seems to be the problem please. I am new at taking care of orchids and I find them absolutely gorgeous. I watch every flower open and grow and find it amazing. Please help. Thanks

  94. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Phals. It’s possible that the one bud was damaged, and your plant is readily growing a replacement. Other common causes to investigate are lows temps (blooming Phals should always be above 65°F/18°C,) low light, over or underwatering, or low humidity.

  95. Judy Wenger Says:

    Unfortunately I do not know what type of orchid I have. There is a tag which says, “P1109-S Medium white.” It was given to us almost a year ago. It bloomed for months. I watered it about once a week. Once all the blooms fell off, I set it in a bedroom by a window.

    Now it has two strong stalks with small buds developing. What I am asking about is the roots. They are huge! They stick out from the top of the planter and are pale green/grey. What do I do with these roots? Can they be trimmed back? Should I replant in a large pot so the roots are in the mix? They really detract from the beauty of the plant. Hope you can help me. Thank you.

  96. Marc Says:

    Healthy orchid roots are important for the plant, so do not cut them off. Do not repot while the plant is trying to bloom, or you will probably lose the flowers. As long as you have good humidity, the roots are fine sticking out. Most orchids are air plants, and that is how they naturally grow.

  97. peter Says:

    My orchids are being attacked by something that strips all the green of the leaf but leaves the skeleton of the leaf.
    I suspect slugs but have not seen any yet, can I flush the potting mix out with a heavy solution of salt water quickly washed out by fresh water.
    The salt should kill slugs??
    Peter Williams

  98. Marc Says:

    From your description, it sounds like you have slugs or snails. Salt water would kill them, but may also kill your orchid. I’d suggest slug and snail bait. Metaldehyde baits work, but are very toxic to people and other animals. Iron phosphate baits also work well, are non-toxic, and break down into fertilizer. Diatomaceous earth also work well and is non-toxic. Copper strips or tape around the pot can block future infestations.

  99. Maggie Monahan Says:

    I do not know what kind of Orchid I have, I have two and since I got them they have not bloomed. However the are very healthy looking and continue to grow new leaves..I notice a lot of these air roots growing, some very long others just a couple inches. They grow and grow and then wither up. Some have grown down into the pot.. Just no stems for flowers have ever appeared. From reading the comments I think I have too much light on them so I will cut back on that. What can I do to make it flower? I just can’t wait for some beautiful flowers to grow on it. Maybe I need to fertalize more.. I water once a week, lots of healthy leaves and the other stems grow very often and well. Please help me wth this problem, Thanks

  100. Marc Says:

    Withering roots suggest low humidity or insufficient water. Unless your leaves are sunburned, they do not sound like they need less light. Often a gradual increase in light can help an orchid bloom.

  101. Rumiko Says:

    I have a Phal and it has flowered and fallen off. There are so many stems growing (it looks like Medusa). Am I supposed to cut most of the stems off or do I just leave it as it is?

    Thank you.

  102. Marc Says:

    It sounds like you’re describing new roots. Don’t cut them off. The plant needs new roots to grow and bloom again, and they’re fine in the open air as long as you have good humidity.

  103. Nicola Says:

    I’ve had my orchid for 4 years now and it has almost continuously flowered. It has currently finished flowering with a new stem growing up but one of the old stems that i’ve yet to cut back has grown 2 small leaves at the top and between these leaves another flower has grown. It has mystified us as it hasn’t happened before, people we have talked to about it have never heard of it before either. Was wondering if you could throw any light on the subject?

  104. Marc Says:

    Your orchid has a keiki, or baby orchid. These are not uncommon, and the fact that your keiki is blooming indicates that you have a very happy plant. You can leave it attached, or remove it and pot it separately so you have a 2nd plant.

  105. cheryl Says:

    I had two orchids, and both have the same problem. Both of them had lovely flowers, and then they fell off… and then so did the leaves! What did I do wrong? I watered them as directed and used 2 ice cubes. I even purchased orchid food and have been giving 2 tables spoons a week. Will they grow back? Should I just toss them?

  106. Marc Says:

    It’ll help if you can ID your orchids. Different varieties have very different care needs. Leaves quickly falling off may be caused by too much or too little water, allowing the plant to sit in water, low light, or temperature extremes.

    Some orchid varieties like Dendrobium may lose their leaves in winter dormancy, and this is normal. Most other orchids won’t recover if they’ve lost all their leaves.

  107. Dima Says:

    I have a phalaenopsisi orchid and was recently offered a beautiful self watering pot. It’s catalogue shows orchids but I’m a little uncertain as to how well it would grow there. If it is ok, would you suggest I plant it in bark or mainly granulate?
    I would very much appreciate you feedback on this. Thank you

  108. Marc Says:

    Without seeing the self-watering pot, I can’t know if it’s appropriate for orchids. Orchids need good air flow around their roots. If they sit in water, their roots will rot. You may want to contact the vendor directly and ask them if there are special instructions to use the pot with orchids. Orchids can grow in a variety of potting materials. Bark is standard, but some growers use granulates. However you need to be extra careful supplying appropriate fertilizer since the orchid will not obtain any from the granulates.

  109. maria Says:

    my collection of phal and dendro developoed what look like mealy bugs — have been following your advice and wiping with alcohol but no real progress. what causes this and what additional preventive measures can I take? they are in greenhouse in CT.?

  110. Marc Says:

    The key with any pest control is to be persistent. Multiple weekly treatments are almost always necessary. Ants sometimes “farm” mealybugs, so be on the lookout for them also. Pests may indicate some underlying problem with growing conditions, which is one reason why they infest during winter. Make sure your orchids have proper temps, watering, humidity, and air movement. Most Dendrobiums are dormant and should receive little water during winter.

  111. Margaret Hicks Says:

    I have been collecting “phalaenopsis” plants for years now, and they tend to get “mealybugs”. I have quite a few plants now, and some of them are infected again. Today I will clean them with rubbing alcohol, and rinse them as advised, but what do I do with the potting soil that they’re in? In the past, I have completely re-potted the plants, and it still returns. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!! Kind regards, Margaret

  112. Marc Says:

    Check the answer right above this one. If your mealybug problems are so persistent, there’s probably some underlying problem that’s not being addressed, like low humidity, cold temps, ant infestation, etc. You may need to try a more powerful insecticide to eliminate the pests once you’ve addressed any underlying problems.

  113. Deb Says:

    My boss brought me her phalaeonpsis that has been dead in her office for well over a year. It is completely brown and the potting medium reminds me of a rice cake. Is there any hope of bring this plant back to life?

  114. Marc Says:

    It sounds like the orchid is dead. Once a Phal is completely brown, it’s completely gone.

  115. Deb Says:

    Well, at least it came in a nice pot! :) Thank you.

  116. Linda Says:

    I purchased an Orchid last summer at an estate sale (my first). I believe it is a phalaenopsis. I have it in my kitchen window (south) above the sink. It seems to be thriving there! When I got it, there were what I believe to be roots growing up out of the pot and someone had clipped them to a stick stuck down in the pot. A new leaf began to grow a few weeks ago and I noticed a stem coming out of the plant below the leaves. I am so excited! I am going to have a bloom!….. what now? Also, the “roots” coming up out of the pot, are they roots? or are they old stems? I appreciate your answers.

  117. Marc Says:

    Since it sounds like your Phal is thriving, keep up the good work! It can be tough to distinguish a new flower spike from roots, since orchid roots may grow in any direction, and both new roots and spikes are green. In time, roots take on a silvery-white color. Spikes remain green and grow upwards. Roots will start to bend and curve as they grow longer. You can keep your Phal in a south-facing window through winter, but as the sun strengthens in springtime, you should move the plant into a shadier spot.

  118. Linda Says:

    Thank you for your vote of confidence.

  119. steve Says:

    I have a phal and it is reblooming about 9 buds on one branch one of which just bloomed. Unfortunately the branch got riped off and I am not sure what to do. I tried to re-attached to the plant with tape but don’t think that will work. What is recommended. Should I just put the branch in water and see if the rest will of the buds will bloom ? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  120. Marc Says:

    Tape won’t work, but Phals can sometimes regrow broken flower spikes. Check this post on how to force Phals to rebloom. Even if that doesn’t work, with good basic orchid care, your Phal can grow and bloom again.

  121. Anne Says:

    I was recently given a cymbidiam orchid and the leaves r turning yellow near the dirt. I have it in a west window – I do move it near a humidity source as often as I can. I am afraid I may have watered it too much. hELP. I don’t want to loose it. What kind of food should I use-do I need to buy special soil?
    Thanks for ur help

  122. Marc Says:

    Check basic info for Cymbidiums. Cymbidiums need bright light and regular water. Make sure the pot has good drainage and is not sitting in water. Many Cymbidium varieties like cooler temps, but there are also some warm growing types. All varieties need nightly temperature drops.

  123. Mary Lee Says:

    I recently bought my first orchids (Phalaenopsis). They are in flower and have some buds. It is in the bathroom with bright light. . .but no direct sun.
    The temps in there are pretty cool at night, but warmer in the day. I have them sitting above a tray of moist pebbles, and spritz them twice a day am and pm – to be sure they have the humidity. None of the buds have opened and instead are droping off. What do they want me to change to prevent this?

  124. Marc Says:

    It sounds like you’re providing good humidity and good light, but Phals should be kept above 65°F (18°C.) They are probably too cool at night, and this can cause problems for the flower buds.

  125. Dannybjr Says:

    Ok I’m new to this and can faithfully say, know nothing. I bought my wife an orchid from the super market it is lavender and white in color with yellow in the middle and its petals or kinda tear dropped shaped, looks to have leaves like a Lilly pad and is in a small vase with water. Please if you have any information on what type it may be it would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  126. Marc Says:

    You can try to ID common orchid varieties here. Many varieties come in multitudes of colors, so it makes it hard to identify by color. Instead, look at flower shapes and leaf shapes. Phals are most commonly sold in N. America, so they’re a good place to start.

  127. Tina Miller Says:

    i have a orchid that has quit blooming and i need to know if i cut the old stem back or does new flowers grow on them. it is a onc. sweet sixteen orchid. could you please tell me what to do. and how many times a year does is bloom.
    thank you
    tina miller

  128. Marc Says:

    Check basic info for Oncidium care. Oncidiums don’t rebloom on old stems like Phals can do, so you can cut it back. Your Oncidium is a hybrid, and some vigorous hybrids may bloom more than once a year, but most will bloom just once a year.

  129. Marilyn Jones Says:

    I bought a Phal. at Walmart and the instructions were not very clear. It didn’t
    tell the kind or much anything else except water with several ice cubes once a
    week. I always feel the moss and sometimes it feels dry before the week is up
    and time to water. Some of the blooms are wilting do I cut them off or what do
    I do. The wilted ones are not pretty and take away from the other blooms. My
    plant has one main stem and toward the top it has two off shoots that are in full
    bloom. Also do you cut the one main stem back to just above the leaves or how
    do you do it since it does have those shoots. This is my first orchid and I don’t want to kill it. Any help appreciated.

  130. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Phals. Wilting Phal flowers may be a sign of low water, low humidity, or cold temps, but they just be old flowers finishing their normal life span. If new flowers buds are continuing to open, then the plant is doing ok. You can remove any wilted flowers, but if you cut the main stem you’ll lose the offshoots coming from it.

  131. Brandy Says:

    Hello I received a Plalaenopsis Orchid in October for my birthday. After the first blooms started to die I cut the stem 2 inches bellow the dead flower. The last flower died about 3 weeks ago and I have cut the stem down 2 inches. I was reading my How to Care for Your Orchid card and it instructed to cut the flower stem all the way back in 6-8 weeks if nothing happens. Does all the way back mean to where the leaves and stem meet?
    Also I notice the tiny webs that the spider mites give off where forming under and on top of my plant. I still have dark green leaves but I am wondering how I should proceed.

  132. Marc Says:

    Check basic care for Phals, and this post about how to prune orchids. You can cut back the flower spike as far as possible without injuring nearby leaves or roots. No pruning trick can change the fact that plants only bloom when they’re happy. Spider mites may indicate underlying problems, such as low humidity, inadequate watering, or cool temps. Neem oil or horticultural oil are standard treatment for mites, but be sure to address these underlying problems also.

  133. Theresa Says:

    My vanda orchids hang in my patio. I water their roots daily. Some of the leaves, especially lower ones on some of the plants are yellowing then brown, then fall off. I have one that has never lost leaves. My newest one is losing leaves in the same way intermittently not only from the bottom. They bloom twice a year for me and are beautiful otherwise. HELP! I would submit a picture, but don’t know how to here!

  134. Marc Says:

    Check this post on reading your orchid’s leaves. It sounds like your Vandas are healthy if they bloom regularly. Lower leaves are the oldest ones, and can fall off as part of the natural growth cycle of the plant. If it’s winter where you live, they may be reacting to lower light or temps, and should recover in spring.

  135. FS Thompson Says:

    My Phal flowers seem to be drooping as if they are not getting enough water but watering does not make them sit up again. What else may be wrongÉ

  136. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Phals. If the flowers are dying prematurely, common problems to investigate include overwatering, underwatering, allowing the pot to sit in water, cold temps, or low humidity.

  137. Lee Says:

    My Phal orchid is growing roots over the top of the pot. My Phal is still blooming. Should I wait till the orchid stops blooming before I repot into a slightly larger pot?

  138. Marc Says:

    Yes, wait until your Phal stops blooming before repotting. If you repot during flowering, you’ll probably lose the flowers prematurely.

  139. suzdandeneau Says:

    My phal spike has thick clear sap on the buds and the buds are getting soft and falling off way before blooming… Help! This does not seem to be “happy sap” to me.

  140. Marc Says:

    Clear sap may be a sign of pests like aphids. It may also be a sign of a Phal in distress from cold temps, overwatering, allowing the pot to sit in water, or low humidity.

  141. BETSY Says:


  142. Marc Says:

    It sounds like you’ve just lost your flowers, not your plant. Continue to provide good basic Phal care, and it will bloom again when it is ready. You can prune off the old flower stem.

  143. Penny Says:

    My phal just started blooming again and I moved it ouside about a month ago since the weather has warmed up–I live in Louisiana. In the past I have usually kept it outside on the back patio and moved it inside in a laundry room that has a large window for when the temps drop. I repotted it last fall before I moved it inside for winter. It has a new stalk and seems to be thriving. The new blooms were nice and bright white. I went out of town for a few days and we had a pretty good storm while I was gone–wind, rain and a little drop in temp, but nothing under 48 degrees. When I got back, I instpected my plants and noticed some dirty looking spots on my pretty white blooms and some holes on the petals. It is a covered patio so it shouldn’t have gotten too much of the rain from the storm but several of my plants were knocked over from the wind. I don’t see any other bugs or aphids on the leaves and they are a nice green color. The new sprout with buds on it looks free of pests also. I have never seen these on my blooms before and have had the plant almost three years now. What has happened to my pretty blooms? Help.

  144. Marc Says:

    Torn petals with dirty looking spots suggest wind damage. On top of that, cold temps may have taken their toll. Many tough Phal hybrids can manage below the typical 65 degree minimum for Phals, but 48 degrees (or even colder with wind chill factor) may have been too much. As long as the rest of the plant is intact, it should recover.

  145. Tara Deihm Says:

    My husband and I married on March 26th. Instead of fancy flower arrangements, we chose 1 orchid on each piller, either side of the alter. It was a beautiful and elegent choice. The orchids remain lovely, with big beautiful flowers, and are growing rapidly. Roots are climbing out of the pots, some appear dry and withering, yet the plants show no sign of damage. I don’t know what type of orchids they are, so I am unsure how to repot, what to pot them in, or if I should repot. Is this an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” situation?

  146. Tara Deihm Says:

    Sorry, also the flowers have become quite heavy, and are bending low. Would it be alright to simply extend the support sticks?

  147. Marc Says:

    Their roots are withering because of low humidity, and orchids need good humidity. They probably won’t need repotting for a year or two. It will help to ID them so you have a better idea of their care. The most common kinds are Phals, so start there. Remember that flower shape is more important than color, since orchids have many color variations. It’s fine to extend the stakes to support the flowers, so that the plant doesn’t tip over.

  148. Jessica R Says:

    *This really answered my problem, thank you!

  149. Linda Says:

    I have a phaleonopsis orchid that I got a few years ago. It was blooming when I got it, and bloomed the following year, then nothing for a year. I repotted it last winter and it has grown new leaves and two flower spikes full of buds. The plant is in a well-lit window facing southeast, and I water it every week or two. Last week, however, the buds on both spikes dried up and fell off. Now I have two naked spikes. Should I cut them? What did I do wrong?

  150. Marc Says:

    There’s no set formula for watering frequency, but one watering every 2 weeks is not enough for a Phal. They should be watered thoroughly at least twice week. If you have bright light, high temps, low humidity, or strong air movement, water more often. Older potting material usually holds more water, so your fresher potting material may need more frequent waterings.

  151. sara b. Says:

    I have an orchid not sure what kind it is growing new plant on the stems how do I cut and plant those new plants

  152. Marc Says:

    I think you’re talking about a keiki, or baby orchid. Follow the link the find out how to remove and pot it.

  153. Cindy F Says:

    Hi I’m curious if the orchids can be grown in different country?or its depends of the weather, climate seasons? I just want to learn more..Thanks

  154. Marc Says:

    Orchids can grow all over the world, and there are varieties for every climate. Different types are suited for different light and temp ranges. There are many cool growers. Orchid lovers in desert or dry areas need to work to maintain high humidity. Check orchid care basics too.

  155. Holly Says:


    My parrot pulled a godzilla on my phal orchid. It has been several months later and the roots are still very healthy but there is only 1 leaf left with no signs of new growth. Can my orchid be rehab’d?


  156. Marc Says:

    If that single remaining leaf is still in good shape, and roots are healthy too, your Phal should eventually regrow. However it may take months before it does, and it may be years before it can bloom again. Be patient, and keep the pet parrot entertained with other chew-toys.

  157. Judi Heaton Says:

    I received an orchid as a gift and the card attached said to water it with as much water as one ice cube per week. The plant seems to be doing fine. I keep it about 5 feet from a patio door facing south so it gets indirect sun almost all day and I do turn the pot once a week to keep it growing fairly straight. Once it finished blooming last fall, I cut off the tall stem down to almost the leaves, but it has never started another stem. How long should it take to start a new stem, and where does that stem start from so I can watch for a sprout?

  158. Judi Heaton Says:

    Not sure of type of orchid, instructions said water about as much as an ice cube once a week. Enough water? Seems healthy. cut off flower stalk once done blooming last fall, but no new stem has appeared. How long will that take? Have near south facing patio door so gets nice indirect light.

  159. Marc Says:

    I advise against using ice. Besides being too cold, one ice cube per week is maybe a tablespoon of water. That’s not enough for any orchid. Whatever kind of orchid you have, water thoroughly. If water isn’t draining out of the holes at the bottom of the pot, it’s not enough. Remember to allow the pot to drain thoroughly, and dump out all the extra water from its tray. Never allow the orchid to sit in water.

    Check out more watering tips here.

    It sounds like you’ve got good light conditions, but that also depends on IDing your orchid. If may be good light for a Phal or Paph, but too little for a Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, or Oncidium.

  160. Nathan Says:

    I cannot figure out what type of orchid I have. All I can say is the petals are blue! Also my orchid has a long stem with the blooms at the to and it also has another stem curling up at the bottom with some more blooms. Do I have two plants here with one of them needing to be repotted??

  161. Marc Says:

    To ID your orchid, check these commonly grown varieties. You don’t need to figure out its exact name to know how to care for it, only the family where it belongs. Check the shape of the flowers to ID it. Color isn’t a good indicator because most orchids come in a wide variety, however, there are few true blue orchids. Some Dendrobiums and Vandas are blue, and some Phals are dyed blue. Many other varieties come in purple, so if it’s not a true blue, that could include a wider variety of possibilities. To know if your orchid needs repotting, check here.

  162. Pauline Heath Says:

    Hi – I was told when my flowers were finished to cut the stem above the 3rd notch which I duly did. I am also “orchid sitting” at the moment for a friend. Her orchid has now sprouted on the 3rd notch but it is a bunch of leaves? Everyone says this is odd and wrong. Am I supposed to nip it off or is it normal? Otherwise an extremely happy plant on my kitchen windowsill with new leaf growth at the bottom.

  163. Marc Says:

    Forcing a Phal to rebloom only works when the orchid has good growing conditions. The leaves on the flower stem sounds like a keiki, or baby orchid. Check this post about keikis to learn more. It’s not odd or wrong, but it probably means that there’s a problem with growing conditions, such as too much water or too little light.

  164. Laurie Says:

    I received my first Phal in April. I’ve been watering it weekly and my coworker gave me some liquid food for it. The blooms are just now starting to turn papery and wither. I accidentally broke off some of the blooms on one of the stems today – EEK! I’m guessing it’s about to get to the point where the stems should be cut off, right? When should I do this, when the blooms fall off? What about the broken-off piece? Any advice is greatly appreciated for this orchid newbie! :-)

  165. Marc Says:

    It’s your choice when to cut off the flower stem. You can remove it when the flowers start to fade, or wait until the last flower falls. The broken piece may continue to bloom if you place in a bud vase of water, but it won’t grow any more. Check out basic care info for Phals. Check these orchid watering guidelines too.

  166. Laurie Says:

    Thanks for the advice Marc! :-)

  167. Katie Says:

    Hello – I just received a beautiful phalaenopsis that is currently potted in a clear flexible plastic pot. In addition to the plant, I was also given a vented orchid pot to replant it into. The orchid is currently in bloom – should I wait until the flowers are gone to repot into the new pot? When is the best time in the flowering cycle to do this?

  168. Marc Says:

    The ideal time to repot is when the orchid has finished blooming. That’s when most orchids start growing new leaves and roots. Check out how to know when to repot your orchid here.

  169. Linda Says:

    Hi – I received a phal in May that was in full bloom. The blooms lasted until over a week ago then slowly each one started wilting and dropped off. The stem started turning brown where the blooms were – so I cut it off but as I did this the two green healthy leaves fell off?? Does this mean my plant is dying? The roots appear green and healthy. Is there anything I can do??

  170. Marc Says:

    Flowers fade as a natural part of the plant’s life cycle, but healthy leaves falling off indicates a problem. Possible causes to investigate include cold temps, inadequate light, too much water, too little water, or allowing the pot to sit in water.

  171. Linda Says:

    Thanks Marc – I live in Az and my plant sits on a table near an east side window so it gets the morning sunlight and that area stays bright but not hot during the day…but I do think I may have been watering too much – do you think my plant will be ok – the roots in the pot are still green?

  172. Marc Says:

    If all the leaves are gone on your Phal, then the chance for recovery isn’t good. If there are leaves left, the orchid can recover. Let it dry well before watering again. Since you live in Arizona, pay extra attention to providing good humidity too.

  173. Jenny B Says:

    Hello I have several orchids and usually I a pretty lucky that they flower after I have cut back the flower stem and after a dormant period.

    I have one that I cut back the flower stem not at the bottom but to a bud stem and it has started to grow new leaves on the stem. What shall I do with it can I cut it off and pot it with growing medium. This did happen before and I left them and they just died off.

  174. Marc Says:

    It sounds like you have keikis, or baby orchids. Check this post to learn how to remove them and pot them.

  175. Ana Says:

    Hi, I have many a Phalaenopsis Family orchids and one of the flower stems lost all the flowers and started growing a pair of leaves, what do I do?. This is the first time that something like this has happened. Thank you

  176. Marc Says:

    Like the question above yours, it sounds like you have keikis, or baby orchids. Check this post to learn about them.

  177. PAM norman Says:

    my orchids have mealy bugs, i thought i had managed to get rid of them by removing the adults with small tweezers and very gently getting the eggs from the petals with a cotton bud, as the plants showed no sign of infestation for a week or so, but now they have come back and i have been using a bug spray but it don’t seem to help have you any suggestions pleas

  178. Marc Says:

    To control pests, persistence is important, but it’s also essential to look at any underlying problems. Low humidity, low light, or cool temps can weaken the plants so they remain susceptible to pests after your treatments. Also, ants sometimes “farm” mealybugs, so if they’re around, they may be part of the problem. Mealybugs may also get into potting material, so you should treat their bark or moss as well. For really bad infestations, it may be necessary to repot the orchids.

  179. Pele Says:

    About a year ago I overwatered my first Phal to the point that most of the roots rotted. It had 2 to 3 roots about an inch long each. I repotted in a mix of 25% sphagnum moss/75% pine bark. It survived but hasn’t grown. After doing some internet research, I’ve been keeping it in a ziploc bag with moist sphagnum moss (not touching the moss). I soak the rootlets in a very weak fertilizer solution every other day, then let it dry. I dust the rootlets with rooting powder before returning it to the bag. It did sprout some new roots and leaves and the leaves plumped up. I potted (same potting mix as above) it when I had 2 roots that were about 1 inch long. I have been careful not to overwater, but the new roots and leaves stopped growing and the leaves started becoming limp. How can I get this orchid healthy enough to pot it and then help it thrive once it’s potted? Poor baby!

  180. Marc Says:

    It sounds like you’ve given it lots of TLC and brought your Phal back from the brink. Assuming you’re keeping it warm and in bright light, you may have potted it too soon. Some orchids may take years to recover from severe root loss. Your Phal is probably a hybrid, so it may not take so long, but still may be a long wait. Even with 1 inch roots, it still wasn’t strong enough to leave its high humidity ziploc. Return it to a high humidity environment, and be patient.

    It’s also possible that the orchid has some other problem, such as pests or disease, which may be complicating the problem. Unfortunately, many diseases can be difficult to diagnose or cure.

  181. Ang Says:

    can you help my white phal is in full bloom and beautiful and was sat on the kitchen window which takes the sun during the morning only, however the 2 leaves it has have gone a yellowy colour, can you advise why this has happened? we’ve had the orchid plant for over 10 years now and has been pretty healthy till now

  182. Marc Says:

    There are many possible causes for yellow leaves. Check this post on reading your orchid leaves. You haven’t described your watering, temps, or humidity, but if your orchid has been healthy for over a decade and suddenly has troubles, my guess is that it’s overdue for repotting.

  183. Lynette H Says:

    What is Rubbing Alcohol?

  184. Marc Says:

    Rubbing alcohol is generally used in medicine, but it’s also helpful as a pesticide and fungicide. It’s also known as isopropyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, or methylated spirit. In the UK, I believe it’s called surgical spirit.

  185. Mary - Anne Says:

    My Phalaenopsis has just flowered for the second time since I was given it. It sits on my kitchen windowsill, not in direct sunlight, and I water it about once a week, with plantfood added to the water. It has long silver “roots” attached to the lower part of it which extend from the pot and are not in the compost. Should these “roots” be inside the pot? Also, I have another orchid which at present has no flowers but seems to have a”baby” plant attached at the top of one of the stems, complete with these silver rootlike growths. Should I break this off and put it in another pot? Just how big should the pot be? I look forward to your reply.

  186. Marc Says:

    It’s normal for Phal roots to grow out of the pot, and this is fine as long as you have good humidity. Your baby plant is a keiki. Check this post to learn more about it. Orchids prefer small pots, since large pots filled with extra potting material can impede necessary air and water flow.

  187. Ash Says:

    Can you help me save my orchid? My mom gave me a miniature pink phalaenopsis about three weeks ago. The information that came with the plant said to water it with only three ice cubes once a week. The plant looked healthy when I got it and I gave it three ice cubes that day. After about five days the flowers started to look wilty. I watered it with three ice cubes on the seventh day and I started misting the plant in the morning. The first flower fell off the plant by the end of the week. I read online that the roots would look mushy if I was overwatering, my roots weren’t mushy, so I decided it was underwatered. I saw a video online that said that you should give the roots a really good drink once a week and then wait until they are dry to give it another soak. I gave the roots a good drink and stopped the misting, and the flowers continued to fall off. Now I only have four flowers left! The tips of the flower stalks are turning brown and shriveling up. I had the plant in a well lit room, but not in front of a window. I noticed that the leaves are a dark green, so I moved them into an east facing window this morning. I took the plant out of its pot to feel medium and it is still moist. The roots in the middle and bottom of the plant are a nice green color, but the roots on top are shriveled and dry. Is there anything I can do to save my orchid?

  188. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Phals. There are several potential problems with ice cubes that may be causing the flowers to drop. Cold water may shock Phals, and 3 ice cubes per week is too little water. When you water your orchid, it should be enough for water to drain from the holes in the bottom of the pot. Soaking the plant will also accomplish this. Orchids always need high humidity, so you should resume misting. Dry air may cause flowers to drop.

  189. Marlyn Pino Jones Says:

    My 90 year old mother has an orchid sitting in a kitchen window. The flowers have dried but still look beautiful and the plant is sprouting roots above the pot (about 8-9 of them). Should she cut the roots? Should she cut the stems? Help!

  190. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Phals. They like to have their roots outside the pot as long as they have good humidity. You can cut the flower stem to try to force another bloom, or cut it back completely to allow the plant to enter a new cycle of root and leaf growth. Use a sterile blade cleaned with hot water & soap, bleach solution, or rubbing alcohol.

  191. Barbara Yates Says:

    14:09:2011 Dear Marc, I have 5 Phals, some I have had 2years, one is a lant that I bought from a garden center which was reduced, and they are growing well. I water them once a week, making sure they are not standing in water after. I have had loads of flowers on them and they have started to produce again. What is cusing me some concern is the size of the leaves. They seem enormous.They are 9inches on average, healthly looking with no brown or yellowing. I am not sure if this is normal or am I feeding them too often?

  192. Marc Says:

    If your Phals are blooming well, it doesn’t sound like you have a problem. Oversized leaves may indicate low light, but orchids receiving insufficient light usually don’t bloom. Overfertilizing causes different problems, like brown tips on leaves or yellowing leaves. Enjoy your flowers and lush growth!

  193. Jill Says:

    I was given a Phalaenopsis in January. It’s in a 15cm clear pot in bark. At the time it had one branch of flowers. Today it has five branches and looks wonderful. However, it’s now very top heavy and has just toppled over. No damage, except to my cream carpet. I’ve propped it up but I need to now if I can repot it without damaging it. If the answer is yes what size pot can I go up to?

  194. Marc Says:

    The flowers may have survived the fall, but there’s no guarantee they’ll survive the repotting process. Unless you feel you have to repot now, I would wait. In the meantime, keeping it propped up should work. You can also try a few rocks to weight it down, or place the pot inside a larger container to stabilize it (remember not to block the drainage holes!) When you do repot, don’t automatically assume you need a larger pot. Phals prefer small pots which can just fit their roots. It may not need a larger pot, just a heavier one. You can repot with a few rocks at the bottom of the pot (once again, not blocking drainage) to help stabilize it.

  195. Benita Says:

    Hallo, my Phalaenopsis has stopped flowering~~it is now autumn in Portugal. The flowerstem is still green but has a liitle hole in it which is going black around it. Should it be cut off? How do I know if the pot (original small 5inch diameter, 4inch deep) is too small? Roots seem very tightly packed at the bottom, some roots climbing out and drying. Has 3 layers of leaves~seems healthy. Is this now the resting (dormant) period and how long does it last?

  196. Marc Says:

    Olá Benita. I recommend you cut off the flower stem with a clean, sterile blade. Check this post about how to know when to repot. Most Phals like cramped pots; you only need to repot when the potting material has broken down. Phals don’t go dormant, but growth will probably slow with the season’s lower light and cooler temps. Some Phal hybrids can bloom more than once a year if they’re happy.

  197. Ruth Says:

    Hello, I am a first-time Bletilla Striata owner in need of advice… When I got the plant in July it had a healthy flower spike, yet it has never bloomed. The spike does not appear to have dried out nor suffered any damage. Should I leave the spike in place or cut it? The plant seems otherwise healthy and is presently in a well-draining resin container on a south facing patio that receives about 3 hours of morning sunlight/dappled shade. I live in New England, zone 6, so am planning to bring Bletilla in to an unheated garage in a few weeks to overwinter with some shelter. Any advice is much appreciated–wasn’t sure if terrestrial orchid questions were OK on this site?

  198. Marc Says:

    Yes, terrestrial orchid questions are OK! If the flower spike hasn’t bloomed yet, it may have been shocked by a change in its growing conditions when you bought it. I’d guess that the spike won’t survive the winter. Bletillas want frequent waterings and regular fertilizer during summer. It sounds like you’re giving it good light, so maybe you’ll have flowers next year. Bletillas must have a winter dormancy with reduced water, when leaves will die back. Water sparingly until new spring leaves are a few inches tall.

  199. don Says:

    I was reading about making your own potting media. I see it says you can use moss. Could you use only oak moss? Are there red bugs in the moss which could hurt the root and plant?

  200. Marc Says:

    In the wild, orchids can grow in many kinds of moss as air plants. However, under cultivation, usually sphagnum moss is used. Bought at plant stores or garden centers, it’s been cleaned of any pests and harmful microorganisms. It’s purpose is to hold water and also allow air movement around roots. It’s possible the oak moss will work for some orchid varieties, but it’s definitely risking pests or disease. If you want to use the oak moss, consider it an experiment that may mean sacrificing the orchid.

  201. ann Says:

    hi, my moth orchid is in a clear plantpot ,would it ok to put this pot inside a decorative pot so the clesr pot would be hidden,? or do the roots need have light?ive no central heating ( gas fires) would my orchid stand a chance of surviving?would it be a good idea to keep it in the cellophane wrapper it came in in the winter &take it off when warmer(has been kept in cellophane wrapper since purchased 3wks ago.thank you.

  202. Marc Says:

    It’s fine to place the clear pot in a decorative pot as long as you remember that orchids need good drainage. If the decorative pot doesn’t have drainage holes, you’ll need to dump out the excess water after you’ve watered. If the pot sits in water for an extended time, it will kill the plant. The same applies to the cellophane wrapper — if it blocks water drainage, you’ll need to remove it, or be extra cautious and drain after each watering. Phals usually want minimum nighttime temps of 65°F (18°C,) but many modern hybrids can tolerate a little chill. If Phals can’t survive your winters, there are cool growing varieties like Cymbidiums, Masdevallias, Odonts, and many more.

  203. Barbara Grant Says:

    I had two Vandas with very long roots. I watered them from the top of the plant down to the bottom of the roots. Both plants died at that base of the plants. Should I water only the roots?

    Also, I have a very healthy Eidendrum – plant is hugh but has never bloomed in 18 mos.

  204. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Vandas and Epidendrums. Most Vandas need warmth, sun, high humidity, regular water and fertilizer. Long roots hanging out of the pot are usually a sign of a healthy plant. Possible causes of plants dying from the base include cool temps, inadequate light, or allowing the pot to sit in water.

    There are many possible causes why your healthy Epidendrum isn’t blooming, but the most common culprit is inadequate light. Increase light levels slowly over 2 weeks. If it’s heading into winter where you live, look into adding artificial light to supplement the weaker sun.

  205. Dominique Says:

    Can you tell me what type of orchid this is? I looked at the identify and buy section and I can’t figure it out.



  206. Marc Says:

    There are far too many varieties for me to figure out an exact ID, but I can tell you it’s a Phal, or Moth Orchid. You can find basic care info for Phals here.

  207. crystal Says:

    i have a orchid not sure of the name it was a gift sent to me at my mothers funeral, the flowers have fallen off and i cut it down as directed by a flower shop about a month ago the stem is now brown and has no sign of any flower growth what should i do ?

    this is my first orchid so im not real sure what im doing, but the leaves are still nice and green its just not growing. i also looked at the roots and noticed that they are brown any suggestions on how to help my plant is appreciated. i would love to keep it alive because of the centimental value it has with my mother

  208. Marc Says:

    It will help to ID your orchid so you can learn its basic care needs. Phals are the most common, so that’s a good place to start. Don’t worry about the old flower stem turning brown. When your orchid is ready to bloom again it will grow a new flower stem.

  209. pepper time Says:

    I just got an orchid a few weeks ago for my birthday. Its a Phalaenopsis I’m sure. I heard that when it finishes blooming, I can force it to rebloom. How do I do that? Thank you.

  210. Marc Says:

    You can find info on forcing a Phal to rebloom here.

  211. linda Says:

    HELP!!! My phali orchid had been doing well, dropped its flowers which I understand is normal. I am very concerned because it has now dropped all its leaves. They turned yellow and fell off. I may have overwatered it. Is it still alive? Can it be saved? What can I do?

  212. Marc Says:

    Sometimes a Phal can survive with no leaves, but usually the plant is lost. If it has any leaves left, allow it to dry well before watering again.

  213. Alison Says:

    I bought an orchid from a woman who spoke little English and could not tell me what kind of orchid it was. I bought it in the fall and it was done blooming, so I do not know what the flowers look like, other than that she described them as looking like a butterfly. The orchid has about three bulbs that are all close together (they even look attached to one another). There is a thick, firm, dark green, leaf growing from each one. The largest bulb is the only one that has a stem (spike?) growing from it. The stem looks a lot like bamboo and is almost three feet long. Just over half way up the stem, it splits in two at one of the nodes. At the very end of each of the two stems, there was one “butterfly” flower. Does anyone have ideas as to what kind of orchid this is? I would like to know how to better care for it. I am wondering if I should split the bulbs or leave them together. The woman said it needed to be repotted, but I am not sure if I did it correctly. The flowers are not going to bloom again for a while and I am wondering where to cut them so new flowers can grow. Right now there is just brown, crusty remnants of the flowers, and I’m too afraid of damaging it to remove them. The woman said the two flowers bloomed about five times over the summer. I appreciate any help I can get.

  214. Marc Says:

    Growing an unidentified orchid is challenging because different orchids have widely varying care needs. However, with careful observation of your plant, you may be able to figure out how to grow it. Many orchid flowers are described as looking like a butterfly, so that won’t help you narrow it down much. However, the bulbs you’re seeing are pseudobulbs, and they rule out the Phal and Paph families, since these don’t have pseudobulbs. The pseudobulbs also tell you that this orchid needs some form of winter dormancy. Don’t split the bulbs now. You can remove the old, dried flowers. Most orchids don’t rebloom on old flower spikes, but if you’re not sure, it’s ok to leave them. The plant will grow new flower spikes when it’s ready. Good luck!

  215. sherilyn Says:

    What could be causing my phals and catts to develop black tips on some leaves? I water with weak fertilizer solution weekly. Lots of indirect sun. Run a humidifier about 1/2 of the time. None have bloomed for more than 1 year. Any suggestions?

  216. Marc Says:

    Check basic care for Phals and Catts. It sound likes both need more light. They have different care needs: Catts need much more light and less water than Phals. Gradually move your Catts into full morning sun. You may want to add supplemental light for both in winter. It sounds like you’re fertilizing well. Other possible causes of black leaf tips include low humidity, cold temps, or pests.

  217. diana Says:

    I just got a cymbidium orchid from someone who didn’t take very good care of it, and now it is trying to come back. A lot of the bulbs are dried it seems and the other half looks like it’s getting new shoots, what should I do with all the dried out ones? It is pretty large, should it be re-planted, most of the leaves were all dried out also.

  218. Marc Says:

    New shoots are a good sign that your Cymbidium is trying to recover. Since Cymbidiums don’t like repotting, and don’t mind being in small pots, do not repot now or you may damage its recovery process. You can remove dead leaves and dead pseudobulbs if it doesn’t damage the healthy parts of the plant. Good luck, and be patient: it may take a few years for the plant to bloom again.

  219. Lesley Says:

    I have several Phalaenopsis orchichids the majority bought in June/ July these have been watered weekly and fed by an orchid drip feed (bought from the local garden centre.) and hve bloomed beautifully, continuosly since then. These are located in different rooms around the house all well lit but non in direct sunlight. Over the last month the flowers on each have slowly wihtered and died the stem they were attatched to has then turned a yellow/cream colour,and died, which I have subsequently cut off. The orchid has then produced new shoots covered in buds unfortunately the buds themselves die without opening. Any advice, please.
    Thank you I look forward to your reply.

  220. Susan Herrmann Says:

    Hello. I have a Phalaenopsis which I’ve had for about 3 years now. The plant itself has been growing beautifully, and it even produced 3 new leaves in the past year. The 2 stalks also grow very nice. The problem is that every time the stalks bud, the buds will look nice & healthy but then one by one, they turn brown & fall off. What can I do?


  221. Marc Says:

    To Lesley:
    There are several potential problems to investigate as a cause for Phal flower buds dying. Cool temps, over or underwatering, low humidity, low light, or pests are the most common culprits. If it’s winter where you live, it’s possible that higher light levels over summer allowed the plant to bloom, but lower winter light levels don’t give it enough energy. Consider increasing light levels.

    To Susan:
    Check the list above for potential problems for Phals. Since you’re growing new flower stalks, your light levels are probably ok. Instead, cool temps or low humidity may be causing the problems.

  222. Mimi Says:

    I have 2 orchids and all of the flowers have fallen off the stem does this meann it is done blooming I have had themn for about 3 months now and also what do I do now that it no longer has flowers to ensure they coninue to bloom next time it is ready?

  223. Marc Says:

    Yes, your orchids are done blooming. It will help to identify what kind you have to best learn to how to care for them. If you can’t ID them, follow this basic orchid care info.

  224. Sam Says:

    My Phal has started to rebloom. However the buds turn yellow and drop off. They are in a nice light window. I thought I had kept them watered evenly. I have however neglected to fertilize them routinely. Otherwise they appear happy and healthy. Why are the buds falling off before they bloom?

  225. Marc Says:

    If your Phal has enough energy to try to bloom, it’s probably not a fertilizer problem. Likely culprits include cold temps, pests, or dry air.

  226. Jennifer Says:

    I have two questions for you. First I have a phal that I purchased about 8 months ago while it was in bloom. After the flowers died I cut back the flower spike and I’ve tried to keep its environment as stable as possible. There is a little shriveling on the leaves and I haven’t seen any growth of new leaves or anything yet. I’m afraid it’s slowly dying. The roots seem healthy but it isnt firm in the pot. Maybe i didn’t pack the media tightly enough when i repotted it? Any advice for what I need to do to keep it healthy and hopefully bloom again?

    Second question. I just bought a new cym. It is in bloom right now. From what I have read it needs bright light. Our house doesn’t get very direct light so we got a plant light and I have been turning that on for about an hour every afternoon. The leaves and flowers look firm and healthy but I noticed tonight that the tips of the leaves are turning black. From what I’ve read it sounds like this is from salt buildup? I’ve only had it for three days so I can’t believe my water would be that bad to affect it so quickly. Any suggestions? I’m trying desperately to keep these alive and propering but starting to get worried for both of them.

  227. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Phals and Cymbidiums. Like many orchids, Phals may not appear to be growing for several months at a time. If it’s been less than a year, it may only require some more patience. If you believe the orchid is in declining health, common causes include overwatering, underwatering, or low light.

    Cymbidiums do need bright light, and one hour of good light per day may not be enough. Increase hours of light so that leaves are light green, not dark green. Black leaf tips may also be caused by low humidity or poor air movement.

  228. Judi Says:

    My phal developed a small mushy spot on one leaf. All the others appear healthy. I cut off the soft spot. What caused this and what do I do about it.
    thanks for your help.

  229. Marc Says:

    Removing the soft spot was a good idea in case it was a bacterial or fungal infection. Other possible causes to examine include pests, overwatering, underwatering, cold water on leaves, or allowing water to sit on leaves overnight. As long as it doesn’t continue to happen, the orchid should be fine.

  230. Carolyn Says:

    I do not know the name of my orchid.
    It has just finished blooming.
    How long does an orchid take to bloom again

  231. Marc Says:

    Many orchids can bloom annually if given proper care. It will help to ID your orchid to know its care needs. If you can’t identify it, check this basic orchid care info.

  232. Teresa Says:

    Hi I’ve had my Orchid; I think its a Phalaenopsis but not sure, for about one year, its bloomed and then dormant for about 4/5 months. It has now produced a ‘baby’ with one leaf 5″ & one 3 1/2″, a 1″ root and a flower (which hasn’t quite opened). I want to replant my ‘baby’ but not sure if I should wait until the flower has bloomed and fallen off before I cut it off. Also when I do cut it off of the mother plant where do I cut? Do I cut a certain length of the stem it is attached to or do I cut it from where it is attached to the mother? Don’t want to kill it or harm it. Also do I put the 1″ root into the new orchid mix in the pot? Trying to get a visual :0) Thanks for the info. I love my Orchid!

  233. Marc Says:

    Your orchid has grown a baby orchid, or keiki. It sounds like it’s big enough to pot in its own pot. It may be a sign that your Phal isn’t getting enough light, or is getting too much water.

  234. Jill Says:

    I recently purchased a Cymbidium orchid in bloom. I have it is a good plac
    e but a few of the tips on leaves are turning brown. Other than that it looks
    great. Water?? thanks, jill

  235. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Cymbidiums. Possible causes for brown leaf tips include low humidity or air movement, or insufficient light.

  236. dwija Says:


    I brought two Oncidium Sharry Baby seedlings online in early December 2011. They have not grown since (its been almost 3 months). Not a single new leaf and the existing leaves have not grown either. The plant still looks healthy, green and pseudo-bulb is green and swollen. I re-potted them to a slightly bigger pot with better drainage using moss in early Feb this year. Not a lot of roots, but the few were long & healthy.

    I have been watering once a week (letting the moss dry a little), next to north-facing window with good indirect light. I fertilize them with Orchid fertilizer ever other week.

    How do I make this thing grow!!!

  237. Marc Says:

    Orchid seedlings require patience and perfect growing conditions. You don’t say how old the Oncidium seedlings are, but some kinds grow slowly, and can take years to grow to flowering size. If the plants are still healthy, that’s a good sign that your watering, temps, and humidity are good. Light from a north-facing window may not be enough, especially if it’s winter where you live, and daylight hours are still short. Consider adding supplemental light for winter. Remember to reduce or remove the extra lights in spring.

  238. Lynn shea Says:

    My plant has been dormant for about a year…I wasn’t even sure it was alive but a friend told me that if it has some green & is growing roots outside of the pot, its ok , so I hung on to it but mostly ignored it. I just noticed it has a new stem beginning to flower! It still has the old flowering stem which is green.it seems from the posts I read that I should cut back the old stem but I’m worried about the timing,,,will this negatively impact the flowering stem?

  239. Marc Says:

    For most orchid varieties, old green flower stems use energy from the plant which could instead go to support more flowers. I recommend you cut off the old stem as long as you can do it without damaging other parts of the plant. Use a sharp blade cleaned with hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution.

  240. Roberta Says:

    My Phals are blooming in clear plastic pots so that I can see when they need water. I also saw hundreds of pests called thrips in the bark which probably
    came from the bark. I do not see any damage to my orchids. Should I be
    trying to get rid of them?

  241. Marc Says:

    Thrips can feed on leaves and roots, and can also spread plant diseases in the process. Even if their damage isn’t obvious, you should try to get rid of them.

  242. Rachel Says:

    My phal orchid has been giving me beautiful blooms for two years. It has grown a second flower spike next to the original one, and is about to open the last flower bud. Two days ago my cats knocked it down breaking the pot and two leaves, also one of the water roots that has grown out of the pot. I immediately trimmed off the dead roots that were there and rinsed all of the white healthy roots. I also trimmed off the one leaf that was damaged very badly and put a little ground cinnamon on the open wound, I did use clean washed scissors to make the cut, I left the leaf about one 1/2 in. From the leaves trunk were they all come from..my question is: should I trim off the other damaged leaf it seems to be drying out..and should I trim the end of the water root growing out of the pot where it broke??? Do you think my phal will recover from this fall even though I had to repot during blooming?? I hope so, this orchid has been my pride and joy..thanks for any advice you can give me…

  243. Rachel Says:

    Sorry for the repeat second post there, I also was wondering since I live in Ohio which window in my house is best for lighting?? I currently have my phal in an eastern facing window, and the leaves are very dark green and some newer leaves have grown long and thin, there is much debate over an eastern facing window or a western facing or even southern, I’m confused to which window I should put my phal in bc I am in Ohio..help me please!!

  244. Marc Says:

    To Rachel:

    I wouldn’t trim off anything more right now. Of course, I can’t really assess how bad the damage is, but the leaves and roots will survive if the damage isn’t too bad. It may look unattractive for a little while, but it needs all the leaves and roots it has to generate energy to recover. You’ve given it a good chance at survival by using clean scissors and using cinnamon to discourage fungal problems.

    For your second question about light, I would normally say that in Ohio, it’s fine to slowly move a Phal into direct sun over the winter, and then move it back to shade for the spring. However, a damaged plant doesn’t want the additional stress. If it’s blooming, it’s receiving enough light.

  245. Rachel Says:

    Thank you!! You’ve been very helpful, I’ll be writing again sometime soon to ask for future advice I’m sure lol..I just bought a second orchid yesterday, it’s very large and seems to be completely root-bound in its plastic container (roots are pushing out the cuts in the bottom of the plastic pot) but it is almost completely bloomed, three buds have not yet opened, should I just let it be until the blooms fall off? Or should I repot now, I don’t want to repot if I will damage it bc it is in bloom..thanks for your advice, it’s very helpful..

  246. Marc Says:

    Don’t repot an orchid in bloom or you may damage the flowers. Wait until it is finished. You don’t say what kind of orchid you have, but many varieties like to have their roots cramped in small pots, so repotting may not be needed right now.

  247. Roberta Says:

    Thanks Mark,
    So, whats the best way to kill insect pests while orchids are in bloom?

  248. Marc Says:

    You’re welcome, Roberta. For insect pests, I believe it’s important to be persistent, and also look for any underlying problems which may be weakening the orchids and inviting pests, i.e. dry air or cold temps. Healthy plants may have a few pests, but if a plant is being overwhelmed by bugs, something is amiss with its growing conditions. Personally, I use a spray of pure rubbing alcohol (AKA surgical spirits in the UK.) I’ve never had a problem with it damaging flowers, as long as the plant isn’t in direct sun, and temps aren’t too hot. Do not soak the plant in rubbing alcohol; spray and let it quickly evaporate. If there are bugs in the potting media, pour rubbing alcohol through the pot. Really bad potting media infestations may require repotting when the orchid is done blooming. Repeat spraying every few days. Of course, many other pesticides are also effective, but the basic principles are the same: be persistent and address underlying problems.

  249. Karen Says:

    I have 3 Phalaenopsis orchids. The older two bloomed once and not since. That was a couple of years ago. As well some of the lower leaves are turning yellow. They are however growing new roots on the surface of the potting medium. From what I’ve been reading on this website it would seem to me that they need to be repotted. Please confirm if this is correct and if so where is the best place to buy the potting medium? The newer one is larger and has just begun to bloom again. I have all 3 grouped together about 3 feet in a south facing window. Is this a good location?

  250. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Phals. It’s normal for older, lower leaves on Phals to yellow. As long as they’re being replaced with new growth, it’s not a problem. The ideal time to repot is in the spring when the potting material has started to break down (usually every 2-3 years.) You can buy orchid potting medium at garden centers and plant stores. Do not use regular potting soil – orchids need bark or another medium which allows good air flow. Of course, it’s impossible to evaluate light conditions from a description, but usually south-facing windows provide more than enough light for Phals. They should bloom at least once a year, so for the plants which haven’t bloomed for a couple years, you should check light, temps, and watering.

  251. Gaga Says:

    I have my first orchid! It is a Phal. I have had it about a month. One of the “bulbs” has brown spots on it. Am I watering it too much?

  252. Marc Says:

    Phals don’t have “bulbs” or pseudobulbs, so I’m not sure what part of your plant you’re talking about. Brown spots on leaves or flower buds could be caused by pests, cold water, or bruises from rough handling.

  253. Brian Says:

    One of my orchids of the phalaenopsis varieties, has been blooming for more than 2 months, (it was blooming when I bought it), and had 5 leaves that were a bright green. Recently the last of the flowers died and fell of, So I trimmed teh stem just below the splits where the various small branches were that had flowers on them. After the last flowers died, the leaves began turning yellow and falling off, until now, there is just a small nub with roots. I have only watered it ¼ to a 1/3 of a cup water once a week. What happened to my orchid, why did the leaves suddenly turn yellow and fall off?? I did not move it or do anything different with this one to the others that were right next to it, and they are really going, even though they have all lost their flowers as well. Help please.

  254. Brian Says:

    Sorry, forgot to ad that I live in Houston Texas and the plant I am refering to was in the lounge in a secluded low light area.

  255. Marc Says:

    From your description, it sounds like you have 2 potential causes of your problems. The first is that 1/3 cup of water per week is not nearly enough for a Phal. When you water, use enough water so that it drains from the holes in the bottom of the pot. If the potting material has really dried out, submerge the entire pot for 15-30 minutes and give it a good soaking so it can rehydrate. Houston’s warm, dry climate may also demand more than one watering per week. Check these helpful orchid watering tips.

    The second issue is that the Phal is in a “low light area.” Even low light orchids like Phals still need bright light. Keep Phals out of direct sun, but don’t keep them in a dark corner.

    I’m not sure why one Phal is doing poorly if your others are doing well, but different potting materials can hold water more efficiently. For instance, if the other plants are in moss, then your minimal waterings are enough for them. Other potting materials like bark can dry faster.

  256. Brown Thumb Says:

    I accidentally left a candle burning too close to the leaves of my orchid. Two of the six leaves have brown marks – one burn covers most of the leaf while the other is only slightly larger than a 50cent piece. The burn marks are a wilted brown; more than they are charred. Should I remove the leaves or leave it alone? Some of the flowers had opened but I noticed that the one that was about to open has dried up. Could this be from the shock of having the burnt leaves? I appreciate any advice you may have to help my orchid.

  257. Marc Says:

    Burnt parts of the leaves are dead. Remove them using a sterile blade cleaned with hot water & soap, bleach solution, or rubbing alcohol. Since you have good leaves left, the plant should be ok. It’s possible the drying flower bud is a result of the lost leaves, but also possible that it was also damaged by the heat or very dry air from the candle flame.

  258. Brian Says:

    Thanks Marc for the response.
    Several of these that I mentioned, including the one that looks like it died, are in a rough chipped type bark in the pot. When I do water them, the water does go straight through, but the saucer under the pot holds the water so it can soak up.
    I have since repotted nearly all of the plants into the bought bag of orchid potting material and will see how they do on that. After repotting, I lightly watered all the plants, many who have stopped flowering and the stalks drying up, which I trimmed off. I will see how they go and maybe water about ½ cup every 4 days or so, as it is getting hot here again.

    Thanks again Marc.

  259. Brian Says:

    One other thing, the water here is very hard and has a lot of like nitrates, chlorine, etc in, so I have been using bottled water. Is it better to use bottled water or maybe distilled water, or water taht has been through filters? I do not even give my pets the water out the faucet. Comments?

  260. Marc Says:

    Chemicals in tap water may bother orchids, but many modern hybrids don’t mind it. Assuming you have hybrids, they may tolerate your water. Other orchids cannot even tolerate regular chemicals in decent quality tap water, and only want distilled water or rainwater. You may need to do some experimenting to see if yours can handle it.

  261. Melissa Neece Says:

    I NEED help. I have a phalaeonopsis orchid and it looks like it has developed a second plant inside the pot and all of its roots are in the air outside of the pot. Do I replant it or what do I do with it? It seems to be growing good and blooms are coming out all over the place. However the roots are taking away from the plant. I have grown several orchids before and they have never done this. Before I disturb it I wish to know what I should do from someone who really really knows their plants.

  262. Marc Says:

    It sounds like you’re describing a keiki, or baby orchid. Read how to take care of it here. It’s normal for many orchids, including Phals, to grow roots outside the pot, and it’s no cause for worry as long as you have good humidity. Do not repot while an orchid is in bloom or you may lose the flowers.

  263. lisa Says:

    my orchid lost all of its leaves what should i do now? i went by the tag that came with my plant which said always wait till bark or moss is almost completely dry before watering keep out of sun light. i read some where to never water with cold water and i didnt know that. what can i do now.

  264. Marc Says:

    Assuming your orchid isn’t one of the varieties, like some Dendrobiums, which drops its leaves in dormancy, it’s probably gone. It sounds like insufficient water could be the cause. Check these tips on watering. Cold water may also have contributed if it was a warm grower like a Phal.

  265. Rachel Says:

    Hello again my orchid friend! I was wondering if you could give me any suggestions for how many and what kind of artificial lights I should use for my two phal orchids, I plan to buy one warm and one cool fluorescent 4ft tubes, will that be sufficient? Also what would you recommend is a good distance to keep them from the plants?? Thanks so much, also, I repotted my newest largest Phal and it still has its bloom spike, do you think I should cut the spike and flowers off? I have had two leaves go limp on the lowest part of the plant

  266. Marc Says:

    Fluorescent lights should be fine for Phals. They don’t heat up much and don’t use a lot of electricity. I can’t determine lighting setups online, but generally lights should be close to the plant, less than a foot (30 cm.) You’ll need to keep an eye on leaves at the beginning to make sure they don’t burn. One helpful hint is the feel the leaves when the lights have been on and warmed up, and the leaves should still be cool to your touch. I recommend you remove old flower spikes with a sterile blade. It will grow a new spike when it’s ready to bloom again.

  267. glenda Says:

    when should i prune my orchid it is a phalaenopsis

  268. Marc Says:

    Orchids only need pruning to remove dead or damaged parts of the plant. Check this blog post about how to prune orchids.

  269. Jo Cohen-Adler Says:


    I have an outdoor orchid, I don’t know what variety it is but it seems happy and blooms each year. My question is: there is always new growth inside the rim of the container but there are also many large brown bulbs in the center of the container and I’m afraid they might be crowding the new growth. What should I do (or not do) with these bulbs?


  270. Marc Says:

    Your orchid needs to be repotted. During the repotting process, you’ll remove any old, dead parts of the plant. Those old, dead pseudobulbs probably have old, dead roots attached that need to be removed also. Check this recent blog post ‘Why You Need to Repot Your Orchid’ for more info.

  271. charlie Says:

    we have a variety of epidendrums that have grown very gangly and weak. Stems are over 5 ft. tall and fall over and break easily. should I trim them back or try to find poles to prop them up?

  272. Marc Says:

    It’s fine to stake them. Gangly growth usually indicates insufficient light. Over the course of 2 weeks, ease them into brighter light. Their new growth should be sturdier and more compact. Most Epidendrum varieties enjoy morning sun.

  273. Rachel Says:

    Hi Marc, do recently I repotted my phal orchid to a chunky bark medium it was previously in that crappy miracle grow orchid potting junk and it strangled the roots, I have reapdapted to the new potting medium and have new roots growing and a leave, i was wondering if I should trim off my badly dehydrated leaves, they are very sad limp and wrinkled leaves..I have read that it is good to trim off old leaves that have been dehydrated? Thanks…

  274. Marc Says:

    It’s a good idea to remove any dead leaves so they don’t attract pests or spread problems to the rest of the plant. You may be able to just pull them off. If you use a blade or scissors, clean them first with hot water & soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution.

  275. Annie Says:

    I am a new orchid ower. I have a cattleya and if I grow it properly it will be yellow with fushia tips. I’ll admit I do not know much about orchids and I think I bought the wrong soil. I bought Merical Grow’s Orchid mix, but it’s more dirt than bark and charcol. I’ve had it in its new pot for nearly two weeks. If I were to change the mix it is in now, to the bark, moss, charcol mix would that hurt my orchid? Everything I’ve read suggests they do not like to be repotted very much. What should I do? Thank you for the help!

  276. Marc Says:

    Cattleya roots need to dry thoroughly between waterings, and from your description, it sounds like that orchid mix is better suited for something like a Paph, which likes to be wetter. As long as your careful not to damage the roots, you should be able to repot it into a chunkier mix with no soil. If you live in a warm climate and you’re careful not to overwater it, you can try to keep it in the current mix.

  277. Beverly Gordon Says:

    I have two conch shells that I would like to use as planters for orchids. Do you have any advice as to whether or not this is a good idea?

  278. Marc Says:

    I’ve never tried it, but I think it could work with some important caveats. Wash the shells thoroughly to remove all salt and debris. All orchids need good drainage (i.e. no standing water) so the shells will need holes, or maybe be angled upside-down so they completely drain. Some orchids may be sensitive to calcium or other compounds in the shell, but most should be ok.

  279. Ivy Says:

    pril or May. the dark green leaves have gotten very big but there are no buds on the stems. should I repot it and if so, how should I do it? Another one I had died after I repotted it. Also should I fertilize it/ I have never had to before. It looks very vibrant and healthy.

  280. Marc Says:

    It looks like your question got cut off, so please resubmit it for a more complete answer. In the meantime, I’ll refer you to the repotting and fertilizer pages for the basics.

  281. Simone Says:


    I’ve attached a two pictures of my phal (purchased from whole foods in bloom, in April 2010. I haven’t been able to get it to bloom again, but it has been growing like gang busters!. After all the flowers died in May 2010, I cut the stem back hoping it would re-bloom on the same stem. By August, nothing was happening, so I cut it all the way down to the base. I did notice whilst cutting it, that it appeared very green, and maybe I was being hasty. But, I assumed that the next time, the flowers would be larger. The plant proceeded to grow two new leaves. In Sept. 2011, I repotted it. The roots were in great shape, and I put it back in the same type of medium it came out of ( moss). Since that time, it has grown three more new leaves, 2 older leaves ( at the bottom of the plant) died off. It has also thrown out several new roots. In fact there are fire more new roots poking through right now. The plant is in an east facing office window (shown). In the winter, the temperature dips at night because they turn the heat off. In the summer, it is cooler during the day, and warmer at night. is there anything you’d suggest to encourage blooming. Thanks in advance,

    Sorry, I was unable to attach the photos. I’m not sure why.


  282. Marc Says:

    Hi Simone. We don’t have the capability to attach pictures here, so that’s why you couldn’t attach them. You’ve helped with a detailed description though. With new leaves and roots, it sounds like you have a healthy plant. However, many Phals are unable to bloom in cool temps. Most types need nighttime minimums of 65°F (18°C) or above, so I suspect that’s your problem. Your inverted summer temps (cooler during day, warmer during night) could also be confusing your plant.

  283. Greg Says:

    My Phal is growing leaves (not blooms) on one of the spikes. I really would like to save the growth. What do I do?

  284. Marc Says:

    It sounds like your Phal has a keiki, or baby orchid. Check this post to learn about them.

  285. Greg Says:

    Many thanks. Love my little one! I’m a little more alert to potential problems now. Thanks for the link. I don’t have any roots on it yet but it does have 3 leaves. I’ll wait for the roots before I try and repot. The article didn’t say so, but do I remove just the leaves and roots or a portion of the spike? I’ll bet the Orchid will let me know, right?!

  286. Marc Says:

    Your welcome, Greg. When it’s time, cut off a short segment of the spike and leave it attached to the roots of the keiki. You can pot it like that. That way you don’t risk damaging the keiki’s new roots, and it will also help to stabilize the baby plant in the new potting mix. Good luck!

  287. Austin Says:

    I live in San Francisco. Can you give me a few good places to buy pots, moss, plants? Thanks!

  288. Marc Says:

    We’re fortunate in SF to have lots of good choices of where to find plants and supplies. I wouldn’t want to send you running across town when there may be a great garden center, plant store, or hardware store in your own neighborhood that I don’t even know about. Any reputable vendor should be able to help you find the best orchid for your environment and answer basic questions. Please let me know what you find!

    Check these orchid buying tips for more info.

  289. Rita Says:

    My Phaleanopsis has blossomed twice since I received it. The blossom petals seem to be curling and the leaves are not quite as glossy as they were . Am I doing something wrong?

  290. Marc Says:

    If your Phal is continuing to bloom, there may not be any problem. New Phal leaves may have a gloss to them, but that often fades with time. Also, the store or vendor where you bought it may have used a botanical oil or leaf shine product to make the plant extra appealing.

    Curling petals mean that the flowers are fading. When they’re happy, individual Phal blooms can last for weeks. If yours had shorter lives, potential problems include dry air, cool temps, or pests.

  291. Nilsa Says:

    I had been given an plant that was originally in soil about three years ago. Recently this plant gave new plant that bloomed from the top I took them off and repotted them, I now have a total of 5 plants, however I did it in soil. I had no idea that they are air plant ( just learned through this site today). One of them has given a shoot with flower buds on it another is dormant, and yet another seems to be dieing. The leaves are turning whitetish. What do I do beside put them itno bark? I am afraid of distrumbing the one with the growing bus on it?

  292. Marc Says:

    Since it’s been living in soil for 3 years, I doubt you have an air plant. While most commonly cultivated orchids are air plants, many other types are terrestrials which can grow in soil, i.e. Cymbidiums, Lady Slippers, Bamboo Orchids, Bletillas, and many more. Terrestrials need to be repotted into new soil every few years, but I wouldn’t do it until it’s finished blooming.

    It will help to ID your orchids to better learn how to care for them. Different varieties have different care needs. You don’t need to find exact names, just the families where they belong.

  293. Peggy Says:

    I have a Phal my plant is in full bloom,but the leaves are starting to turn yellow. I bought moss and a new pot thinking it should be put in a bigger pot.I water it once a week with 3 ice cubes ( as instructed when bought it)
    Should I transplant or wait. Why are the leaves turning yellow? Thank You for your time

  294. Marc Says:

    Check basic care info for Phals. I believe ice cubes are too cold for orchids, and 3 ice cubes a week isn’t nearly enough water. Whenever you water, use enough room-temperature water so that it runs out the holes in bottom of the pot.

    There can be may potential causes of yellow leaves, including underwatering. Check this post on reading your orchid’s leaves.

  295. Allison Says:

    I have quite a few phal plants and wondered if it is OK to repot multiple plants into one pot.

    I have had great success with getting plants to reflower multiple times and don’t want to damage them

    Thank you for your input

  296. Marc Says:

    I’ve never tried that, and there may be some drawbacks, but it could work. Phals crowding each other may impede growth, and if a single plant has a virus, infections, or pests, it’s more likely to affect all the plants. Be sure to use a shallow pot with chunky bark and great drainage. If it works, plan to repot yearly. Phal roots are thick enough that it’s possible to untangle them for their next repotting. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out!

  297. Pat Runles Says:

    I don’t know the name of my orchid,but it said only water it with 3 ice cubes a week.How do i fertilize it?

  298. Marc Says:

    Do not water orchids with ice cubes. Ice is too cold, doesn’t provide enough water, and offers no way to add fertilizer. Instead, water with room temperature water until water runs out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. Then you can add water soluble fertilizer as needed. Many orchid growers prefer to fertilize weakly, weekly.

    It will help to ID your orchid so you can learn its other needs. Phals are the most common types.

  299. JD Says:

    Hello… I am plant lover who met her match…. my boyfriend got me a orchid and really do not know what to do. the roots are turning green. please help. I’m not sure what kind it is… Phals…thanks for your time…

  300. Marc Says:

    Don’t worry — orchids aren’t as fussy as their reputations. Check basic care info for Phals. Keep the plant in bright light, good humidity, water thoroughly, and never let the pot sit in water for any extended period. New Phal roots are green and later turn to white, so your plant has entered a growth stage. Fertilize weakly, weekly.

  301. Veronica C. Says:

    Please help! I don’t know what type of orchid I have. It was blooming when I got it and hash;t ever since (maybe 2 years). It seems very healthy, as I water it only once in a while and keep it in a spot it seems to like. Today, I broke the major stem below all of the shoots that were probably going to bloom in the near future. I put the broken part in a glass water, in the hopes that it will grow roots and then I can replant it. Is this right? Will something else work? PLEASE HELP!!!

  302. Marc Says:

    Try to identify your orchid to learn its specific care needs. Phals are the most common, and a good place to start, but answers to some of your questions depend on what kind you have.

    Broken orchid flower stems will not turn into new plants. If the buds were close to mature when it broke, flowers may open in a glass of water. The good news is that any orchid can survive a broken flower stem. Some orchids, like Phals and Epidendrums, may regrow a broken flower stem, but others won’t bloom for another year.

    If it’s summer where you live, it’s likely that your orchid needs water more than once in a while. Phals, for instance, may need water 2 or 3 times a week, and more if it’s warmer. Check this blog post about how to know when to water your orchid.

  303. Cielo Says:

    Hi, I have phalaenopsis orchids placed by the window in our family room. It has buds but why are the buds turning yellow, do not bloom, and just fall off? I water the orchids every 3-4 days, it gets sunlight in the morning and house temp is 22-23C.
    I have several phals and I often see mealy bugs – white cottony appearance with brown thing inside, on some leaves and buds. I use insecticidal soap but they keep on coming back. How do I treat it and totally have it disappear?

  304. Marc Says:

    Your daytime temps are good, so that leaves me to wonder what else isn’t right. The problem with mealybugs indicates there’s an underlying problem with your growing conditions, and they could be contributing to the bud drop. My first suspicion is inadequate humidity, which could cause the bud failures and infestations. Also check that your nighttime temps don’t go below 18C (65F.) Once you’ve figured out the underlying problem, keep after the mealybugs and they should go away.

  305. Laurie Saenz Says:

    I have a phalaenopsis that after it dropped off all the flowers, leaves started to grow on the stem. Should I still cut it off at the base? I noticed the stem is still continuing to grow instead of dying off.

  306. Marc Says:

    Your Phal has baby orchids, or keikis. Check this blog post for more info about keikis and what to do with them. Keikis can indicate a problem with growing conditions, like low light, too much water, or hot temps, so check care info for Phals.

  307. Amber Says:

    My step son chopped off all the flowers of the stem on my Phal. He hit it with the Wii controller and it snapped right off. will it ever grow back or will another one grow?

  308. Marc Says:

    If growing conditions are right, Phals will often grow a new flower stem, or spike, from a broken one. If not, the Phal will grow a new spike when it’s ready to bloom again, which may be in a few months, or take as long as a year. If the broken spike turns brown, it won’t bloom from that spike again.

  309. Ruth Says:

    I have a phalaenopsis orchid which bloomed from April till just last week, when the last of the blooms fell off. The leaves are dark green and helalthy. How far should I cut the flower stem back, at which time I will re-pot since it’s in the original plastic container and looks crowded? I never fertilized the plant, but read on your website that I should do that regularly.

  310. Marc Says:

    Cut back the flower stem with a sterile blade. You can cut it down as far as possible without damaging nearby leaves or roots.

    Phals don’t mind being crowded in a pot, and can usually grow in the same potting material for 2 – 3 years. Your orchid will grow and bloom better with regular doses of a weak fertilizer solution.

  311. nancy Says:

    Received my first orchid for my b/day june 3rd and the flowers lasted for 3 months – as i needed advice from an avid orchid grower – I was advised to let the plant drink from the bottom – just a little water – and check every few days- with no flowers left – I was happy to see a new flower coming but it has not opened for 4 weks -is that normal? Is it so slow to open up ??- or am I killing the plant by letting it sit in water??

  312. Marc Says:

    Different varieties have different care needs, so try to identify your orchid to better learn what it wants. You don’t need to find the exact name, just the family where it belongs. Most orchids sold today are Phals, so start there. Depending on what kind it is, you’ll probably need to start watering thoroughly from the top.

    For the vast majority of orchids, watering from the bottom tray would choke the roots and be fatal. However, there are rare exceptions, like the Stream Orchid. Some orchids can take many weeks for buds to mature and open, so it may be that nothing is wrong. As long as your plant continues to grow and bloom, you can continue to care for it the same way while you research. Good luck!

  313. doug Says:

    My wife Suzanne and I have a Phaleanopsis plant. the flowers started falling off one by one over the course of a month. starting in early september. We live in Austin Tx. The plant lives in our large bathroom, out of direct sunlight where it can get some mist from the shower. The flowers had been doing fine and buds had opened and made new flowers even for the prior 3-4 mos. The plant looks fine as far as the eaves go but it is now just a long green twig. Any ideas? As I understand it, Phals are not supposed to go dormant in the winter.

  314. Marc Says:

    Phals don’t go dormant in winter, but no plant stays in bloom forever. It sounds like your Phal is fine, and just taking a break before it grows a new flower spike to bloom again. Continue the care you’ve been giving it, and it should reward you with new blooms when it’s ready. It may take as long as a year, but many kinds can bloom sooner.

  315. Kelly Says:

    Hi. I bought a phalaenopsis in bloom last year in summer. Currently, it’s in the process of a rebloom but the moss and bark(below the moss) is beginning to smell. Should I change the moss now or is it too risky? I’m afraid I may lose the buds- it’s taken ages to get to this! I can see a hint of 2 green roots as the pot is clear but its not abundant… Would appreciate opinions. Ta

  316. Marc Says:

    If the potting material is smelly, it’s time to repot. You do risk damaging the buds, but for the long term health of the plant, it’s important. Since you’ve described separate layers of moss and bark, you can try to just replace the moss for now. Once this bloom cycle is finished, however, completely replace both the bark and moss with new material.

  317. Traci Says:

    My orchid has many roots (8-10) which have emerged from the plant above the soil line and are growing wildly outside of the pot. Some roots are a 10-12 inches long! Do I leave them alone, cut them off, or re-pot? Leaves are healthy and the plant re-blooms about every 3 months, so no other issues — it just looks weird.

  318. Marc Says:

    As air plants, it’s normal for orchids to grow roots outside the pot, and it’s no cause for worry. Do not cut them off or it will harm the plant. As long as you have good humidity, the roots will be happy growing in the air. Most orchids need to be repotted every 2-3 years into fresh, new material when the old has broken down. Check this post to see if your orchid needs repotting.

  319. Trina Ellis Says:

    Do orchids need to be pot bound? All the ones in stores always seem to be in very small pots with the roots coming out the top. I have my first orchid. It is a Phalaenopsis. Thanks.

  320. Marc Says:

    Most orchids, including Phals, prefer to be pot bound, and also enjoy having some roots in the air. When placed in large pots, excess potting material can hold too much water, which blocks air flow and causes rot.

  321. Nadia Says:

    I received an orchid as a present the other day and when I unwrapped it from it’s packaging all the green leaves fell off, the plant had a lot of soil on top of it and around it to keep it in the wooden basket it came in.

    I have taken it out of this soil and placed orchid bark on it and watered it. The orchid is a Phal and it has alot of open blossom and lots of unopened blooms.

    I have 5 other phal which I have looked after and they are all blossoming lovely and have nice leaves. I tend to water once a week dependent on how dry they feel.

    Oh I live in England it is a little cold here at the moment, I presently keep my orchids on a ledge which gives them indirect light.

    But I am a little concerned with this one. Can anyone help.. it was quite dry when I got it.

  322. Marc Says:

    If your Phal were too dry, it would drop its blooms and buds. It may be the cold affecting it; Phals don’t want to go below 18C (65F.) In England over the winter, your Phals will be happy with additional light. They can take all the sun you can give them.

  323. crystal grey Says:

    I have all kinds of roots hanging over the edge of the pots. what do I do with them.? how long should they get. When I watered the other day on my new one the roots are growing out the drain holes. Does it need a bigger pot.?

  324. Marc Says:

    It’s normal for orchid roots to grow in the air. As long as they have good humidity, they’ll be happy growing that way. Check this post on healthy orchid roots for more info. Most orchids need repotting every 2 – 3 years. Check this post to see if your orchid needs repotting.

  325. Maria Cordova Says:

    I live in Puerto Rico and I am planning to move in January to Virgina, USA. I wonder if I can take a few of my orchids with me, specially the Catleyas. Will they survive?

  326. Marc Says:

    First, you need to get your orchids out of Puerto Rico. As a tropical region, Puerto Rico is subject to agricultural export rules to prevent transporting diseases and pests to the mainland. I’m no expert on this, and you’ll need to do some local research. I suggest you also check with Virginia, which may have its own import rules. Start at the USDA website to learn more. Good luck.

    With that said, there’s no reason why Cattleyas and other tropicals can’t survive in Virginia. Their care will be different, especially to account for winter. Home and office heating dries the air, so extra steps are needed for good humidity. As high light plants which need some full sun, Cattleyas will need some supplemental light over winter in Virginia. Check with local orchid societies and other growers to learn what works best in the region.

  327. April Says:

    I have 3 phals that have just spiked. I live in South Florida and the plants get plenty of sunlight. Now that they have spiked do should I back off on the light? What about temps? Should I bring them in during a cold spell?

  328. Marc Says:

    It’s a good idea to move blooming orchids out of full sun so the flowers will last longer. While many hybrids have better cold tolerance, most Phals still want to remain above 65°F (18°C) at all times, so bring them inside for cold spells.

  329. Amanda Says:

    Okay i need help. i have two Orchids i think they are both phalaenopsis but not a 100% sure. one is a mini and has great looking leaves and the stem is completle dead i know i should cut it but don’t know what a node looks like to cut at. my biggest poblem is with my full grow orchid it had two stems i a pot and i got it in june as a get well present, a few months later the leaves turned yellow and fell off, now both stems look very dead and i dont know if the is a way to tell if its a lost plant or not. please help.

    thx Amanda

  330. Marc Says:

    If you want to keep your Phals long term, don’t try to force them to rebloom by cutting the flower stem above a node. Instead, let them go through their natural cycle of leaf and root growth, and they’ll rebloom on their own schedule.

    If the full-grown orchid which has dropped its leaves is also a Phalaneopsis, then it’s dead. However, some Dendrobiums drop their leaves when they’re dormant over winter. Unless you’re sure what kind it is, keep it in good humidity for the winter and check for new growth in the spring.

  331. Amanda Says:

    k. i need to go Orchid shopping then i double checked and the big plant is a Phals. Thanks for the help.

  332. Ann O'Donnell Says:

    I have a phalaenopsis orchid that is putting out bloom spikes. I have counted seven 7 spikes about 1/2 inch in length. Do I need to remove some of them or just leave alone. The plant is very healthy.

  333. Marc Says:

    Congratulations Ann! It sounds like you have a very happy Phal. I wouldn’t remove any of the spikes. The plant will grow as many as it can support.