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How to Prune Orchids: Your Ultimate Guide to Perfecting Orchid Care

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Orchids can appear as intimidating thanks to their sensitive nature. However, proper trimming practices will leave you with a thriving plant and rich blooms. If you want to find out how to Prune Orchids, read on!

Pruning Basics for Orchids

Orchids are delicate plants but thrive when given proper care. An essential part of that care is regular grooming.

Pruning involves removing parts of the plant, such as leaves, stems, or roots. It may seem daunting at first, but it has many benefits. It helps maintain optimal health and also lets you shape the delicate plant according to your desired aesthetic and maximize its blooms.

Orchids come in a range of varieties, each with distinct growing habits. Understanding your specific plant variety is the key to success because you need to tailor the pruning practices accordingly.

Tools you need

Having the correct equipment when pruning your orchids makes the job easy and has a high success rate.

  • A small knife or blade. A small cutting tool helps you make precise clean cuts on the sensitive orchid tissue.
  • Pruning shears. Pruning shears are perfect for cutting the stems of the orchid.
  • Disinfectant. Isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol work brilliantly for cleaning your tools. Not sanitizing your equipment can easily lead to issues like infections and diseases. 
  • Gloves. It’s always good to wear comfortable and well-fitting gloves, whether you’re pruning orchids, roses, lilacs, or any other plant.
  • Potting medium. Use a fresh orchid potting medium when repotting the plant. You can opt for your orchid’s original pot or a new, slightly bigger one. This Kalapanta Orchid Transfer Set could come in handy.

Pruning techniques

how to prune an orchid
  1. The first thing you should do when pruning your orchids is deadheading. Deadheading is the practice of removing spent flowers from plants. Identify the node below the lowest dead bloom and cut just above it.
  2. Next, cut off damaged or dying leaves. Wilting or yellowing are both signs of unproductive leaves. Remove them by cutting at the base where the leaf meets the stem.
  3. Trim old flower spikes. Trimming back old flower spikes to the base stimulates new growth and blooms.
  4. Cut back unhealthy roots. Look for roots that aren’t firm, plump, and either light green or silvery – carefully cut them back to your orchid’s stem.

As pruning orchids calls for digging it out of its pot, it’s a brilliant opportunity for you to propagate the plant! You can divide your orchid into separate parts and grow new beautiful orchid plants.

Timing and Frequency

Orchids have different growing calendars depending on the variety. Therefore there is no set time for pruning them. So, how do you know when to prune your plant? Now read carefully, because this is very important: Wait until it’s finished blooming – give it a grooming after that. Orchids can bloom anywhere between early winter and late summer.

They bloom once or twice a year depending on your chosen variety. You want to prune after every bloom.

Optimizing Health & Blooms

Regular pruning is essential for optimizing the health of your orchids and maximizing their blooms. Removing dead or damaged parts of your plant reduces the risks of diseases and pests. It also provides an opportunity to closely inspect the plant for any problems that may go unnoticed.

Shaping encourages a strong plant structure enhancing the overall health of the plant. And getting rid of dead flowers lets your orchid direct its energy toward producing new flowers. Keeping your orchid in its best state leads to vibrant blooms.

Caring for Pruned Orchids

Correct aftercare is as crucial as proper pruning techniques. Many plants – like Rhododendrons or Butterfly Bushes – require some attention after pruning, and Orchids are no exception. Here are some of our top tips for you:

  • Repotting your plant in a fresh potting mix after pruning it is highly encouraged. Always use an orchid-specific potting medium. You may want to put it into a bigger pot if the orchid’s roots are pot-bound. 
  • Fertilize your orchids regularly after you prune them – once or twice a month, depending on your variety. Pick out an orchid-specific fertilizer to nurture your plant. And always follow the instructions for your specific product!
  • You may want to water them right after pruning, but avoid it for the first few days. Let the soil dry off before watering it throughout. Follow the same pattern and adjust it according to your plants’ needs.

Avoid these Mistakes

There are a few things to remember when pruning orchids to avoid damaging those gorgeous plants. Let’s take a look at them!

  • Avoid excessive pruning and only remove damaged parts of the plant, such as stems turning yellow or dead roots. Leave the healthy areas alone!
  • Don’t prune before or during the flowering period. Be patient – trim your orchid and remove spent flower spikes once the plant has finished blooming.
  • Infections and the spread of diseases are easy to avoid by using clean tools. Always sterilize your pruning shears and anything else you’re using for cuts beforehand!

Orchids, like most other plants, come in hundreds of different varieties, each species slightly different than the next. You may be dealing with phalaenopsis orchids or dendrobium orchids. Research your specific variety and tailor the care and grooming practices accordingly.


Orchids are gorgeous plants, especially if cared for and groomed correctly. You can maximize your blooms and be rewarded with vibrant flowers by following these simple guidelines. To sum it up, just

  • Make sure to have the right tools for the job (gloves, pruning shear, small knife)
  • Only prune after the flowering period and always avoid excessive pruning
  • Deadhead your Orchid, then cut off the damaged or dying leaves and cut back the unhealthy roots
  • Water your Orchids after pruning

Frequently Asked Questions

How to prune an orchid after flowering?

Cut off the spent blooms after your orchid finishes flowering. Inspect the plant and remove any other damaged or dead parts of the plant. Finish by potting it into a fresh medium.

How to prune orchid leaves?

Identify damaged or dead leaves. Cut them off near the base but not too close to the orchid crown.

How to prune an orchid stem?

Only trim your orchid stems after all the flowers have died. Cut the selected stem near the base of the main stem, above a node.

When to trim orchid stems?

The optimal pruning time depends on the variety of orchids you have. Wait until the blooming period is over – trim the stems once the flowers have faded.

What happens if you don’t cut an orchid stem?

Not trimming your orchid stems annually usually results in a visually unappealing appearance and lesser blooms. Eventually, it’ll hinder the plant’s growth.

Do orchids rebloom on old stems?

Some orchid varieties such as the Phalaenopsis (the moth orchid) – can rebloom on old stems. It depends on factors such as your orchid variety and the stems’ health.