Trimming refers to pruning but sounds less harsh. More than one method exists for trimming an orchid.
You’ll need to select what method to use depending on your goal. For example, you use a different method to remove dead blossoms than you would trim the stem.
Timing also differs, since some orchids bloom until late spring or summer, while others bloom until fall.
Where to Trim an Orchid?
Orchids require 3 rounds of trimming, varying slightly between varieties and whether you pot it or plant it in the ground. Generally, as the flower blossom, remove the dead buds or blooms. After blooming, trim their stalks with sharp shears for clean cuts before their new leaves bud out. Trim their roots to remove dead or rotted matter and leave only healthy ones.
How to Prune a Phalaenopsis Orchid
The many varieties of orchids require different trimming or pruning methods. You will need extremely sharp pruning shears for use on the Phalaenopsis orchid.
This orchid thrives when properly pruned and that requires clean cuts.
Wear gloves and safety glasses when pruning orchids. This protects you from splinters and debris.
1. Trimming While Blooming
During its blooming season, cut back any fading flowers or dead blossoms. When you remove finished orchid blooms, you improve plant vitality.
While with some plants, you can pinch blooms off, with the orchid, you need to cut. Create an even cut that goes directly back to the central branch of the orchid.
You will need to repeat this process weekly to maintain the plant.
2. Trimming After Blooming
On each stem with blooms, trim it off about one inch from the main stalk using an even, clean cut.
Young orchids always get their stalks trimmed to one inch from the center stem to encourage further growth.
Examine each stalk. Any roots that turned brown or yellow, you need to cut back.
Also, trim them off about one inch from the main stalk. This lets them grow back but healthier.
3. Root Trimming
Although it might sound harrowing, especially if you’re a novice gardener, you need to trim the roots of your orchid. To do this , it’s imperative you unpot the plant.
Carefully remove your orchid from the pot. Examine it for damaged or dead roots. Prune those off.
Using a larger pot than you unpotted it from, replant your lovely orchid.
Each year you should use this process, pruning its roots and providing it a new, larger pot to accommodate its growth.
How to Prune a Dendrobium Orchid
Trimming a Dendrobium orchid bears a closer resemblance to typical plant trimming.
You can pinch off flowers on this type of orchid.
1. Trimming While Blooming
As the flowers of the Dendrobium fade, pinch them off. This type of orchid gets to keep its stems.
The following year, it will flower again on that stalk.
2. Root Trimming
While the Dendrobium does not require a separate post-bloom trim of stems, it does need its roots trimmed just as the Phalaenopsis orchid does.
Unpot your orchid, carefully removing it, so you don’t cause root damage. Examine it for damaged or dead roots. Prune those off.
Repot your Dendrobium in a larger pot.
While the trimming procedures may differ, as the old gardener’s joke goes, orchids grow like weeds, so your little plant needs a larger pot each year regardless of its variety or cultivar.
Frequently Asked Questions About Where To Trim An Orchid
Where will my orchid plant best thrive?
Indoors, place your potted plant near a window. Without enough light, the orchid will not bloom. Outdoors, provide this plant direct sunlight. If temperatures drop below 20F, you need to bring the plants inside or provide protection outdoors by covering them.
How often should you water an orchid?
Once a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter, you should water your plant. Avoid watering the orchids’ leaves. If any water gets on the leaves, dry them with a paper towel. Also, avoid letting excess water sit at the plant’s base. You should provide the orchid a well-draining pot, so it does not develop root rot.
How and when should you shape your orchid tree?
When you plant the orchid, shape it. These trees typically have more than two trunks. You can divide them so that each has only one trunk. Each year when you trim the orchid, you need to repeat the shaping process. If branches cross over each other, you need to prune them to re-shape them. They should grow separately, each in its own direction. Pruning these wayward branches helps them grow into a canopy over the orchid’s trunk. You also need to trim off the water sprouts.
What tools should you use to trim the orchid?
You will need two tools to prune your orchid. You should use anvil pruners for the small branches of an orchid, but use loppers on the larger branches of at least 5/8 inches in diameter.
You can easily trim your orchid to make your plant look better and to help it grow stronger the following year.
You will also need to trim its roots and repot it in a larger pot if you grow a container garden.
Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.