Best ‘time’ to prune orchids to avoid ‘damaging’ your plants

Phalaenopsis Orchids: Expert shares how to care for plant

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Orchids can be found in a number of households across the UK. The most popular variety, which can often be bought in local supermarkets, is the phalaenopsis, also known as the moth orchid. The plant is famous for its delicate flowers which almost appear as though they are floating from the plant.

In fact, phalaenopsis translates directly to mean “like a butterfly” – an apt description for such a beautiful plant.

Their beautiful appearance might lead you to imagine that they’d be difficult to care for, but you will be surprised to hear they can be relatively easy to look after.

As well as regular watering, feeding and repotting, orchids “occasionally” need to be pruned in order to stay healthy.

With this in mind, Jo Lambell, founder of Beards & Daisies, a plant delivery service, has shared how to prune orchids to avoid “damaging” the plant.

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Pruning is when we cut away dead or overgrown branches or stems from a plant to encourage new growth.

As orchids grow quite slowly, it can be hard to know when to prune them.

Jo explained: “Despite being low-maintenance, your orchid will benefit from an occasional pruning.

“But don’t worry – it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

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“The time to prune your orchid is as soon as the blooms fall off its stem – otherwise, if you prune too soon, you can actually damage the plant.

“Trim your stems with clean, sterilised pruners, cutting the stem down to approximately an inch away from the main stalk.

“If the stem appears to be dead – you’ll be able to tell if its flowers were brown and dried, then it’s likely that the stem is unable to produce healthy blooms – so trim it down to soil level.”

The cleaner the cut on the orchid, the healthier the plant will be. Removing orchid blooms once they’ve finished blooming isn’t just neater but it will increase the plant’s vitality.

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Most orchids only bloom once a year so it’s likely you will only need to prune your plant as often as your orchid blooms.

However, it’s worth noting some orchids bloom more frequently than this.

When pruning orchids, you can also remove diseased or dead matter from the plant.

Disease or dead parts of the plant can harbour pests or fungi which can spread and stress out the plant.

It’s also worth checking your orchid’s leaves when pruning as diseased or wilting leaves may need a trim.

Gardeners can cut off parts of the leaf that are impacted by disease or wilting.

However, if the majority of the leaf is affected the entire leaf may need to be removed from the base of the plant.

Don’t cut away too many leaves as this can put stress on the orchid.

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