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Care orchid during the dormant period: With these tips, the next flower will be more beautiful than ever before

Like mammals that hibernate, orchids spend part of their life cycle asleep. However, this process is often misunderstood and people often think the plant is dead. Fortunately, however, in most cases you just have a dormant orchid preparing to bloom in the spring. In this article, you will learn how to care for an orchid during its dormant period.

What does dormancy look like for orchids?

How you should care for an orchid during dormancy

When an orchid goes dormant, its flowers first wilt and then fall off, usually one at a time. During dormancy, you will also notice that the stem and leaves of the plant change. The stems begin to wilt and the leaves become flat and weak, with dull color (but still green).

How long do orchids have dormancy: Orchids have a dormancy period that lasts six to nine months. When this period is over, the orchid magically blooms again on its own.

How to tell if the plant is dead: You can tell if the orchid is dead or dormant by looking at its roots. If they are not green or white, fluffy and firm, but brown and mushy, this is a sure sign that your orchid is affected by root rot and cannot be saved. If the crown that connects the leaves and roots is also brown and mushy, this is also a sign that plant is rotten.

Looking at the leaves of the plant is also a good way to determine if it is still alive. However, you need to look closely to tell the difference between dormancy and death. If your orchid is getting yellow leaves all at once, that is a sign that it is dying.

How should you care for an orchid while it is dormant?

Care orchid during dormancy - The plant needs a lot of indirect sunlight.

Although dormant orchids don’t produce flowers, how you care for your orchid during dormancy is crucial to its eventual reblooming. Here are some pro tips.

Stick to the watering schedule

Watering gives your plant the fuel it needs to bloom again

You may think that sticking to the watering schedule is unimportant because your orchid won’t bloom with vibrant, colorful flowers, but that’s far from the truth. Your plant is alive, healthy and just as thirsty! Continue to water your dormant orchid as usual, three ice cubes per week for a normal sized plant and one for mini orchids. Watering will give your plant the fuel it needs to bloom again.

Care for orchid during dormancy – fertilizer acts as energy.

Dormant orchids need nutrients even when they are dormant. Fertilizing a dormant orchid is important to help it bloom again. Unlike other houseplants, orchids do not get their nutrients from the soil, but absorb them through fertilizer and potting soil. The fertilizer acts as energy that stimulates growth. For optimal post-blooming, fertilize your orchid with a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20 or 10-10-10) in half doses every two weeks or once a month. Do not water your orchid during the weeks you fertilize it.

The plant needs a lot of indirect sunlight

Just like during the flowering period, your orchid needs plenty of indirect light when it is dormant. Give your plant the light it craves while protecting it from sunburn by placing it behind a sheer curtain on a north or east facing window.

Care for orchid during dormancy – Move to a cooler room.

Orchids love high temperatures during the day, between 23 and 29 degrees Celsius. Like us humans, they prefer cooler temperatures at night or when they are resting.

Tip – The optimal temperature for orchids: For maximum growth of dormant orchids, place the plant in a room with a temperature between 18 and 23 degrees Celsius.

Remove the flower spikes & repotting

Once all the petals of your orchid have fallen off, you will need to remove the flower stalk with a sterile knife to avoid infection. Once you have made a clean cut, apply a fungicide directly to it. If you want to try a natural fungicide, sprinkle cinnamon on the cut to prevent fungal growth.

Your orchids will get their nutrients from the potting medium. Repotting your orchid in a larger plastic pot will allow it to continue to grow. You should repot your plant every 1-2 years. If your potting medium takes on a foul odor, you should repot immediately!

Give your dormant orchid some life

During dormancy, not only does the orchid lose its flowers, but its stems can dry out and turn brown. The leaves may also take on a dull, faded appearance. Try incorporating the orchid pot into a larger planting with complementary plants such as mosses.

Even if your orchid looks dead, you can make sure now that its next bloom will be the most beautiful, because you already know how to care for it while it’s dormant.

Your orchid does not bloom? See here what you can do to bring your plant to a spectacular bloom!