Here is just an example of Part 2a of the 12 Part mini course on “Insider’s Secrets on Growing and Caring for Orchids Like a Pro”.

Cutting Back Orchids

 “Cutting back” is a technique used to maximize the number of blooms each orchid plant produces. It is not suitable for every species of orchid, and takes some practice to judge the timing and extent of the cutting back to be done – but once mastered it can transform the display of blooms your orchids produce.

 In short, the process is to wait until the last flower on a spike has died down, then cut back the stem it was growing on. Typically, after a short rest period, the orchid will throw out new growth that results ultimately in a new bloom. As well as multiplying the number of blooms each orchid plant produces, there is also a cosmetic aspect to cutting back as most flower spikes will simply wither and dry up after they have flowered.

 Depending on the exact species you are dealing with, there are two main approaches to cutting back orchids – partial and complete.

Partial cut back

 This is the way to cut back some popular orchids such as Phalaenopsis. These orchids will only bloom again from the mature spike, so removing it completely would be very counter-productive.

 For a partial cut back, the cut should be made a little way above a “node” – the lumpy ridges on the stem. Ideally, leave three nodes on the stem before you make the cut – or cut above the topmost node if the stem is short. You should soon see a new side shoot growing out of the node – and with any luck it should produce a new bloom. Many orchid growers will only partially cut back a flower stem once as they find it starts to produce smaller and smaller blooms if you repeat the process.

 If the plant is weak, it is probably better to remove the stem altogether to prevent further blooming, give the orchid a chance to recover and concentrate on building it up for the next season.

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