Phalaenopsis is often touted as being able to bloom almost all year round. Indeed, they can be found on the shelves at any time of the year and can arrange an amazing marathon, but they still bloom intermittently. Phalaenopsis do not have a rest period, they vegetate constantly, blooming on average twice a year, and each time for two to four months. It is almost impossible to accurately predict flowering, dozens of micro-factors affect the timing. The correct “pause” between flowering is provided mainly by leaving. For the rest, it is better to trust nature and the plant itself.
Phalaenopsis dormant period – when to expect flowering?
The relentless phalaenopsis orchid
Phalaenopsis has no habitual rest period at all. This unique orchid develops and grows throughout the year, something always happens to it. And the fact that in other orchids is the phase of preparation for future flowering in strict conditions, in phalaenopsis it is only part of the ongoing active development from flowering to the beginning of the growth of the next peduncle.
During the growing season, not only one, less often two leaves and new roots grow, but also buds are laid in invisible buds, which can start growing in a couple of weeks and after a few months. Since it is impossible to notice the very moment of flower bud formation, it is worth considering that the waiting period for the next flowering in phalaenopsis starts as soon as the last flower withers.
Read also our article 5 top questions and answers for orchid care.
Is it possible to influence the flowering of phalaenopsis?
The specificity of development determines the main feature of growing phalaenopsis: they actually do not require significant changes in the conditions of detention, and even more so certain regimes that are so characteristic of their relatives.
Paradoxically, the absence of any visible landmarks and strict guidelines makes the cultivation of phalaenopsis more difficult: dozens of questions and uncertainties arise. Do I need to do something for the orchid to bloom again? How to predict when to bloom? What if the buds don’t bloom for too long?
And the answer to these and dozens of other questions is always the same: you need to rely on the orchid itself and do nothing. Phalaenopsis will bloom when they are ready for it, in the right conditions and with good care. Providing them with the care they need is the whole task. And if you solve it correctly, you won’t have to wait long for adult plants to bloom.
The flowering time of phalaenopsis depends on a dozen factors both in the period between flowering and during the previous flowering:
- the state of the orchid itself (age, “habits” in terms of timing, quality of roots, number of leaves, absence of problems with diseases and pests, etc.);
- the amount of light and the duration of daylight hours;
- content temperatures;
- the quality of care (watering, feeding, their compliance with the needs of the plant);
- purity of leaves;
- stability of conditions and the presence of additional stress factors.
The interdependence of all the parameters affecting the timing of flowering is not always traced and not so obvious. From the slightest changes in the moisture content of the substrate, air, temperature fluctuations, the length of daylight hours, the frequency of watering and fertilizing, this orchid can both bloom faster and make it wait for months longer.
What can we do to make the buds appear faster?
But still, this does not mean that nothing needs to be done (or that it is impossible to provide the plant with such care that will have a beneficial effect on flowering and its timing). It is almost impossible to control the flowering of phalaenopsis in the classical sense. If the rest of the orchids can be “programmed” with strict regimes and alternating periods, then Phalaenopsis is not one of such predictable species. Fortunately, for the establishment of flower buds and the development of flower stalks, they do not need any wisdom – you just need to trust natural processes.
The safest tactic is to try to provide the Phalaenopsis with as close to ideal conditions and care as possible. After all, the very period of the laying and growth of the peduncle is important, and everything that happened before that. And if there are doubts or a desire to prevent possible mistakes, you can always intensively control the three main points that determine the flowering of phalaenopsis:
- The schedule of watering and feeding, which should correspond to the development of the plant.
- Temperature regime.
- Lighting quality.
For hybrid phalaenopsis, massively filling the counters and so popular, it is precisely watering and a moisture regime that is the key to success or failure. Even without adjusting the lighting or temperature, the correct “watering” stimulates the growth of the peduncle.
Read also our article Why does an orchid shed flowers and buds?
Slight “hints” for the dry season
It seems like watering and feeding orchids is a piece of cake. It is worth immersing the container in water with a portion of “orchid” fertilizers after the substrate dries up, it is enough to “nourish” it – and the job is done. But phalaenopsis need adaptive irrigation, frequent these procedures during growth should be alternated with more restrained ones to “start” flower buds and during flowering. And fertilizers are not used all year round.
Too abundant watering is the main enemy of the flowering of phalaenopsis. They lead to the development of vegetative buds to the detriment of the development of peduncles, so you should not treat watering too casually after the previous flowering. For Phalaenopsis to begin another flowering cycle, the plant must feel the signs of an approaching dry period – an imitation of the reduction in precipitation in nature.
For phalaenopsis, it is enough to reduce watering for the transition from the period of active growth of greenery to the beginning of the development of peduncles. Reduce watering in the last quarter or third of active growth, focusing on the size of the leaf. It is enough to wait 2-3 weeks between watering, “hinting” the orchid on the need to release the peduncle and stop feeding before the flower shoot starts to grow.
Care is again made abundant – with the usual watering and dressing – as soon as the young shoots begin to grow and until they reach a height of about 30-35 cm. A repeated increase in the pause between waterings will stimulate flowering. But feeding is stopped only with the beginning of the opening of the first bud and is resumed only after flowering, during a new growing season.
Lighting and temperature
Phalaenopsis love bright diffused lighting, with a lack of it, they do not bloom and you should not experiment with shading. But they don’t need additional lighting either. The budding of flower buds is only relatively facilitated by the increase in daylight hours, the “waking up” of the buds and the growth of peduncles – its reduction, but without proper watering they will not “work”.
But the flowering itself can definitely be influenced by increasing the length of daylight hours. The longer the day and the brighter the lighting, the longer the buds open and the flowering lasts, the worse the light, the faster the orchid also fades.
An important nuance of preparing for the flowering of phalaenopsis is the stability of the light regime. As soon as the peduncle begins to grow, it is worth bothering the plant less. From budding to flowering, turning, changing location in relation to the light source, rearrangement are some of the main reasons for dropping buds and shortening the duration of the flowering period.
The temperature regime for phalaenopsis is even less obvious. Temperature control is good for prolonging flowering (the cooler the better) or speeding up the opening of the buds (the night temperature should be above 18 degrees). During the waiting period for flowering, it is enough just to take care of a decrease in night temperatures, a more contrasting regime of maintenance with a difference of 4-7 degrees, in which the buds will move more easily into growth, and the peduncles will develop normally.
The most reliable guideline for determining the need to adjust care and somehow help the phalaenopsis in preparation for flowering is observing an orchid. When it grows and develops, you need to “push” and with care. And when it “freezes”, wait and not overdo it. The only thing that should not change for this orchid is keeping the leaves perfectly clean, which ensures the normal process of photosynthesis, regardless of the stage of development.