Forcing Phals to Rebloom

Phals, or Moth Orchids, are the most popular orchid varieties in the world. One of their fascinating traits is that healthy Phal plants can rebloom. While some Epidendrum and Oncidium varieties can bloom again from broken flower spikes (the stems that holds the flowers,) this process is most reliable with Phals. Their flowers last for weeks or even months, and then start to fade. To force the plant to produce more blooms, find the nodes, which are the swollen “bumps” that mark each segment on the spike. Pick a node below where the original flower had attached. Cut off the flower spike just above this node.

Phal flower spikesPhal flowers showing segmented flower spikePhal flower stem

Always use a clean, sharp scissors to prevent spreading plant diseases. Clean the blades with hot water and soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach solution. Cut 1/4 inch (6 mm) above the node. Another spike may emerge beneath the cut. Its flowers will be smaller and shorter-lived than the first set.

Although this method may add a month to your blooming season, it really drains energy from the plant. In the wild, unpollinated orchids drop their flowers, and start to make energy for next year’s blossoms. When forced to rebloom, the plant uses up its energy reserves. If you’d rather keep your orchid long-term and enjoy years of flowers, I would advise you to skip this process. Instead, let your Phal return to its natural growth cycle. Cut the old flower spike as close to the plant’s base as you can without damaging nearby leaves or roots. Healthy plants will grow and produce even more flowers next year.

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10 Comments on “Forcing Phals to Rebloom”

  1. SF2002 Says:

    ITs hard to see th e bumps in the photos but Ican see the segments. Thanks for the post

  2. nancy Says:

    this is the most common question I get from my friends. Everyone want s an orchid with flowers that last forever!

  3. synz Says:

    good info thanx for the post

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Cool post. Thanks for the info.

  5. Del Reed Says:

    thanks forthe reminder that this is really not good for a plant if you want to keep it for a long time. if you are going to throw it away then the flowrs are done, then by all means give this a try. however if you want to keep it, dont try this.

  6. Marion in Savannah Says:

    This answers my question! I’m a rank newbie who recently rescued 3 phalanopsis plants from the “$2 death rack” at Lowe’s. Never had an orchid before, so now I know I should cut off the spent flower spikes. I must be doing something right, however, because I’m getting new root growth on the sickest plant, the one I didn’t think would live. Great site — I’m off to learn more!

  7. ElaineTowns Says:

    I also am a rank newbie. I recieved a Phal, at least i believe thatswhat it is, from my kids on my birthday. And now i know whatto do as the blooms are all off. Thank you for writing that info!

  8. E. L. Ogden Says:

    I have a orchid that its spike has died, noot blooming and was wondering if it will ever bloom again. Any suggestions? The rest of the plant is growing very well. Thanks for any advice.

  9. Marc Says:

    Yes, your orchid can bloom again. If it’s spike has died, it will grow a new one when it’s ready to bloom again. Follow basic care info for Phals.

  10. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Pruning Orchids Says:

    […] It’s also possible to prune a Phal’s fading flower spike, and force it to rebloom. […]