With their colorful blooms and elegant allure, it’s no wonder orchids are a popular choice among seasoned and beginner gardeners alike.
From the delicate phalaenopsis to the dramatic dendrobiums, the sheer variety can leave any flower lover spellbound. It’s my favorite houseplant for a reason—it’s not only captivating, with over 20,000 species to choose from, but also super easy to take care of.
Because of their breathtaking beauty, I often find myself asking, “How long do orchid blooms last?” After all, who wouldn’t want to savor these floral masterpieces for as long as possible? I know I do!
The good news is that while nature dictates a lifespan for every bloom, a few helpful tricks can extend the orchid’s dazzling flowers. In this article, I’ll discuss how long orchids typically bloom and share secrets to maximize their vibrant presence in your home.
Let’s get right into it!
People love growing orchids at home because the plant is incredibly easy to grow, and doesn’t require a lot in the way of care either.
If you have an orchid plant in your house, you don’t have to worry too much about it. As long as you provide basic care to your plant, it’s going to grow up all fine and dandy.
But, many people want the orchid blooms to last as long as possible, because after all, who doesn’t like flowers in their house or their garden? However, you need to understand that orchids need proper care if they are going to bloom.
They are exotic flowers and look incredibly beautiful. They have been associated with virility, fertility, and sexuality for many centuries.
You need to understand that how long your orchid lasts depends primarily on how well you care for it. The blossom is definitely the most beautiful part of having orchids, and you will obviously want to make sure that it lasts as long as you can make it.
Unfortunately for most people, that isn’t the case. Their orchids usually bloom for a month or so, before wilting and dying completely. So, let’s get a better understanding of an orchid’s lifespan.
How Long Does an Orchid Live?
First, let’s talk about how long an orchid really lives.
The lifespan of the orchid primarily depends on the type of orchid you have, as well as the quality of care it receives.
Ideally, orchid flowers should last you between two to three months. However, this is just one of their several flowering periods. Once the initial bloom is over, the plant goes into what’s known as a resting period, where its flowers fall off.
First-time orchid buyers often end up discarding the plant during this period because they believe it’s dying. What they don’t realize is that the plant is simply restoring its energy.
Orchids tend to expend a great deal of energy when they bloom, and they need time to recuperate and recover before they can enter their next flowering phase. Upon entering their next flowering phase, they can easily live up to 10 to 20 years if taken care of properly.
Keeping Orchids Healthy
Orchids need a suitable environment to thrive properly, so if you want the blooms to last long, you need to create a positive environment when you bring them home.
Keep the orchids in an area with a considerable amount of bright, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can harm the plant as it may lead to sunburn on the delicate leaves.
You also need to be careful with indoor temperatures.
Orchids generally thrive in indoor temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius) during the day.
At night, they prefer a slightly cooler temperature, around 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 18 degrees Celsius).
Indoors, steer clear of drafts or sudden temperature changes. Orchids are sensitive to cold drafts, so keep them away from doors, windows, and air vents. Also, avoid placing them near heating or cooling sources, as direct exposure can be detrimental to their well-being.
How Do You Make the Blooms Last Longer?
If your orchid’s blooms aren’t lasting as long as they should, there could be quite a few reasons for that.
It could be due to lighting, the spread of the roots, the amount of water your plant receives, or virtually anything else.
Let’s talk about the key factors involved in orchid blooms, and what you can do to ensure that they bloom properly.
Place Your Orchid in the Right Spot
One of the most common reasons orchids fail to bloom, or don’t bloom for a longer period, is due to insufficient light.
Some orchid varieties thrive under filtered light, but others require more direct sunlight. Some are happy to sit on a windowsill, but others won’t do well in that location due to their specific light preferences.
For instance, the Dendrobium, the Oncidium, and the Cattleya are all orchid species that need to be exposed to supplementary growth lights. In some cases, they might even need to be kept outdoors to get enough light. Light is an essential requirement for these orchids to bloom.
Keep in mind that orchid plants are not like tomato plants; they are not able to handle the full sun. Ideally, the best thing that you can do is provide them with some dappled shade, so it’s best to keep them in such positions.
It might seem like keeping the plants in window sills is a good idea, but it’s actually not.
As the orchid is exposed to more and more light, they’re going to turn a lighter shade of green.
When the orchids develop a very light shade of green, it’s a clear indication that the plant is getting too much light.
On the other hand, if the plant turns a darker shade of green, usually forest green, it’s a sign that the plant is not getting enough light. Regulating the balance is very important.
One of the first things that you need to do is figure out how much light your orchids require. If your orchids require large amounts of light, you might want to put them in a vanda basket and hang them from a tree branch.
High levels of humidity, along with regular watering will allow the orchids to grow vigorously and have beautiful blossoms. In fact, there have been cases where Dendrobiums have rebloomed because they got this treatment.
Check the Roots Periodically
Healthy roots often result in beautiful, vibrant blooms.
Orchids can be deceptive; while their leaves may appear stunning, the roots may be facing significant issues. Often, root troubles arise from improper repotting or inadequate watering practices.
Like all living things, orchids need oxygen to survive. If they don’t get an adequate amount of oxygen, they’ll suffocate and eventually die.
To make sure your orchids stay healthy, you need to put them in an environment with good airflow. Use a soil that lets air pass through easily, like orchid bark or moss. Don’t pack them too tightly in the pot, and avoid using soil that’s too dense. Give them enough space to “breathe.”
Repot When Necessary
Change the plant’s soil every so often to keep it fresh.
Many people dread the repotting process, believing it’s a hassle or fearing they might harm their plants. However, in reality, repotting orchids isn’t all that difficult. Orchids are resilient, and a well-executed repotting can actually benefit their health.
When selecting an orchid mix for repotting, there’s no reason to compromise.
Remember, quality and freshness play a crucial role in providing the best environment for your orchids to thrive.
The right mix can make a significant difference in their growth and well-being. Once you see its impact, you’ll never go back to conventional store brands with their poor-quality mixes.
You’ll know it’s time to repot when you notice signs that the plant is struggling, such as drooping leaves or failure to grow properly.
Water Consistently, but Not Excessively
Water is an essential requirement for all kinds of plants, and orchids are no exception.
If you want to make orchids bloom and last longer, you have to make sure that you provide them with adequate amounts of water.
In most cases, the orchids need to be watered every other week. When the soil begins to dry, you should know that the plant needs watering.
The best way to water the orchids is to take them out of their container and then place them in a grower’s pot. You can easily find grower’s pots made from plastic.
Once you place the plant in the pot, just keep it under a slow-running tap for around 10 to 15 seconds.
As you begin to water the plant, make sure that you wet all sides of the plant. However, you should prevent the leaves and the crown of the plant from getting wet.
Surprisingly, you can also use ice cubes to water your plants.
Once you’re done with the watering, let it drip dry.
Leave it there for around 10 minutes to dry out. This will ensure that the plant isn’t sitting in the water for too long. Then, you can place it back in.
Check the soil after every few days. When you feel it’s getting dry again, repeat the whole process.
Encourage New Growth
Orchids generally grow in two different patterns: monopodial and sympodial.
As orchids begin to grow, they send out a bloom spike from their stems. Eventually, you’ll see multiple bloom spikes.
When pruning the plants, you need to be careful that you do not end up cutting the bloom spikes.
Bloom spikes usually emanate from the base that lies on the underside of a leaf. You need to make sure that the plant receives an adequate amount of light and also gets enough water to ensure a full and healthy bloom.
Bloom spikes usually last for around seven to eight weeks, and in some cases, a bit more. There is a chance that the soil is going to get dry frequently, so you should check the soil more often.
Take Note of Their Bloom Season
The time of the season also plays an important role in the quality and length of the bloom.
Remember, each type of orchid usually has a specific time in the year in which it blooms. Ideally, you should put labels on the plants so that you can track their bloom cycles.
Orchids usually bloom once a year, but some can bloom two or three times a year.
Once the flowers are in bloom, they’ll typically last for several weeks. In some cases, they can also last just a few days. Don’t be disheartened when that happens, especially if you are following all of the steps given in this article.
Mimic Their Natural Environment
There are a few types of orchids that are sensitive to temperature as well as light.
As fall approaches, temperature-sensitive orchids get triggered by the drop in the temperature. This drop in the temperature is the cue that they need to bloom.
However, when orchids are planted indoors, they don’t experience the same temperature fluctuations as they would in their native environment. This lack of natural temperature variation can sometimes disrupt their usual bloom schedule.
In such cases, you might want to consider planting it outdoors so that they can get natural cues and grow properly.
The best thing to do is check the kind of orchid you’re buying first and do your research about whether the orchid is going to do well inside your house.
What do you do with an orchid after the blooms fall off?
After the blooms fall off, just let the plant be! They’ll eventually bloom again once their blooming season comes back around. While waiting, fertilize it every month. You can also trim the stem above a visible node or close to the base so the plant conserves energy for future growth.
How many times can you get an orchid to rebloom?
Typically, healthy orchids bloom once every eight to 12 months.
But with proper care and attention, some orchids have the potential to rebloom multiple times per year—up to two to three times!
As long as you fertilize, water, and provide suitable light conditions properly, your orchids will bloom longer and more often.
In the wild, orchids bloom between six to ten weeks. However, you can extend their blooms by following the tips above.
Ensure your orchid receives the right amount of indirect light, and maintain a consistent watering routine. Moreover, consider placing your orchid in a slightly cooler environment during the night, preferably outdoors, as this can stimulate blooming.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.