How to Make an Orchid Grow a New Flower Spike

Choose the Right Orchid Variety

Not all orchid varieties are equal when it comes to re-blooming. Some types, like Phalaenopsis and Oncidiums, are prolific bloomers that can flower multiple times per year with proper care. Other varieties, like Cattleyas, only bloom once a year but produce larger, showy blooms. Select an orchid variety that matches your desired bloom frequency.

Provide Bright, Indirect Light

Light is one of the key factors for influencing reblooming. Orchids need adequate bright light to bloom again but direct hot sunlight can scorch their leaves. Place your orchid near an east or west facing window where it receives bright light but no direct midday sun. South facing windows may be too intense unless shaded.

Maintain Steady Temperatures

Orchids prefer consistent, warm temperatures between 65-85°F (18-30°C). Avoid placing them in drafty areas or near heat vents where temperatures fluctuate. Cooler nighttime temperatures can help promote flowering in some orchids.

Water Thoroughly Then Allow Media to Dry

Orchids should dry out slightly between waterings but not to the point of wilting. Water thoroughly until it runs through the drainage holes then allow the growing medium to dry before watering again. Potting media should dry within a week.

Provide High Humidity

Humidity is vital for orchids to thrive. Place your orchid pot on a humidity tray filled with pebbles and water. Run a humidifier nearby or place plants grouped together to raise ambient humidity. Shoot for 40-60% humidity if possible.

Fertilize Regularly

Feed your orchid with a balanced orchid fertilizer or 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to 1⁄4 strength every 2-4 weeks while actively growing. This provides nutrients needed for new growth and flowering. Avoid over-fertilizing which can cause root damage.

Allow the Plant to Reach Maturity

Younger orchid plants may not bloom until they mature, which takes 2-5 years from seedling size. Ensure the plant is mature and healthy before expecting flowers. Older plants may need rejuvenation if they haven’t bloomed in several years.

Prune Flower Spikes Properly

Don’t cut flower spikes after blooming. Leave 3-5 nodes intact on the spike and new blooms may emerge from lateral buds further down the stem. Cutting too low removes potential blooming sites.

Provide a Short Winter Rest Period

Many orchids benefit from a dry rest period of 2-3 months in winter. Reduce watering frequency and hold off fertilizing during this time. A dry spell mimics their natural habitat and stimulates new growth and flowering.

With optimized care tailored to your particular orchid variety, you can enjoy repeat blooms year after year from these exotic beauties. Be patient, make small adjustments, and you’ll have flowering success!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for an orchid to grow a new spike?

It typically takes 8-12 weeks for a new flower spike to develop after optimal reblooming conditions are provided. Some orchids may take longer, from 4 to 6 months to produce a new spike. Factors like plant maturity, health, variety, and time of year affect the timing.

What causes an orchid not to bloom?

Insufficient light, improper watering, low humidity, inadequate fertilizing, incorrect pruning, and lack of maturity or rejuvenation can all inhibit flowering. Stress from pests, diseases, or temperature swings can also prevent blooms.

Should I cut the old flower spike off my orchid?

Only cut spent flower spikes if they turn yellow or brown. Leave 3-5 nodes on green, healthy spikes and new blooms may emerge from lower buds. The plant uses energy if you remove spikes that could potentially rebloom.

How often do orchids bloom indoors?

With proper care, phalaenopsis and oncidium orchids can rebloom every 6-10 weeks indoors. Cattleyas may rebloom annually. Mature plants bloom more frequently than younger ones. Outdoor-growing orchids bloom seasonally.

What makes an orchid rebloom?

Bright, indirect light, steady warm temperatures, adequate water and fertilizer, high humidity, pruning spikes correctly, allowing plants to reach maturity, and providing a winter rest period will induce reblooming for most orchids.

Is it normal for some orchid buds to fall off?

It’s common for some buds to abort and fall off the flower spike before blooming. This conserves the plant’s energy for developing the best blooms. As long as several buds remain, it is nothing to worry about.

How long do orchid blooms last?

Individual orchid blooms can last from 2 weeks up to 3 months depending on the variety. Cattleya blooms tend to last the longest. With proper spike care, blooms continue to develop down the stem for many weeks.


Getting an orchid to produce a new flower spike takes a bit of patience and TLC, but is very rewarding when those gorgeous blooms return year after year. Make sure to meet the plant’s cultural requirements including sufficient light, humidity, nutrients, moisture, and growing conditions tailored to that variety. With time and experience, you’ll have great success growing and flowering these beautiful orchids again and again.