How long do orchids bloom – and how you can make them last longer?
Exotic orchid flowers will bloom for weeks, if you give them the correct care and conditions
A question that's often asked is how long do orchids bloom? Orchids are renowned for their delicate blooms – exquisitely-shaped petals and colors, ranging from purest white through golden yellow and deepest cerise. But their blooms don't last indefinitely. In fact, experts say, expect orchids to bloom for six to 10 weeks.
However, they can fade before six weeks and endure beyond 10. The quality of the attention and orchid care that you give to your plants is what will make the difference between flowers that fade and wither almost as quickly as they appear, and blooms that last for weeks. Everything from how you water orchids, to when you repot orchids, and even knowing how to prune orchids will all play a part in the longevity of the blooms.
We've hunted down the best advice to find out the answer to any orchid-lover's question: how long orchids bloom for. After all, their elegance, form and beauty makes them some of the best indoor plants to grace our homes.
How long do orchids bloom?
Orchids bloom for six to 10 weeks on average. The amount of light your orchid gets, the material in which it is potted, how often it is watered, and whether it's exposed to cold air and drafts, can all make a difference to how long you will have to see it thrive and enjoy its blooms.
But that doesn't mean they are actually that tricky to grow – in fact, orchids are considered one of the best winter houseplants, meaning cold conditions aren't necessarily a deterrent to choosing orchids for decorating with plants.
'Despite their elegant appearance, orchids are actually more robust than you’d imagine. As an orchid blooms, it creates beautiful flowers that will last for months,' confirms Kylie Wall, Marketing Manager at QS Supplies, which recommends orchids to beautify a bathroom.
'There are many types of orchid, but the majority need good levels of light, so it’s worth keeping this in mind if your room is rather shaded.'
If you're wondering 'Why is my orchid stem turning yellow?' this may not be due to environmental factors but rather the plant's natural life cycle after flowering.
We consulted the experts to find out more information how long orchids bloom for, and the best tips to extend their floral display.
How do you keep orchids blooming?
'The single most important variable when growing orchids indoors is light levels. Most orchids prefer bright, indirect light,' says plant expert and garden writer, Isabelle Palmer, author of House Plants.
'Orchids also thrive in a variety of different temperatures, so choose the best position in your house to suit the needs of the particular orchid you are growing.'
When orchids are placed in the optimum position, are misted regularly and watered once a week, and given a specialist feed every three weeks or so, they will reward you with long-lasting flowers.
'The blooms of a healthy and happy orchid should last six to 10 weeks,' says Rachel Crow, garden editor for Homes & Gardens. 'After that time, the plant will go into a recovery stage when it recoups the energy it has expended during flowering, ready to bloom again.'
How long do orchids take to rebloom?
A common mistake when growing orchids is to throw them away once they have flowered, as the stems can remain bare for a considerable time once the blooms have dropped and it may appear as if the plant has died. Nothing could be further from the truth.
'Millions of healthy orchids are thrown out every year once they finish flowering. An orchid isn’t dead once the flowers die – with some simple care they will bloom time and time again,' says Sarah Gerrard-Jones, who is known on Instagram as @theplantrescuer and has written a book, also called The Plant Rescuer.
'An orchid has a natural flowering cycle,' Sarah explains. 'After flowering it will enter a dormant phase for four to six months before flowering again. Remember to keep watering it occasionally and give it a bit of orchid food. It should flower again but be patient!'
Given the growth cycle of orchids, you can expect your plant to flower at least twice a year, and possibly three times – giving you around 12 to 30 weeks of blooms in total.
How can I help an orchid bloom again?
Knowing the best way to prune an orchid can help it bloom again from the same stem.
'If the stem is green, find a bump on the stem below and cut back to just above that point; it may flower again from there,' says @theplantrescuer Sarah Gerrard-Jones. 'If the stem is brown, cut it right down.
'If the roots look silver, soak them in water for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until they turn green. Finally, place the plant on a bright windowsill.'
Andrea has been immersed in the world of homes, interiors and lifestyle since her first job in journalism, on Ideal Home. She went from women's magazine Options to Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor on Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for sister title homesandgardens.com.
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