Brightening Up Faded Orchid Blooms

By Cindi Sullivan

(LOUISVILLE, June 21st, 2004, 4 p.m.) -- If you have orchids with faded blooms, WAVE 3 Garden Talk expert Cindi Sullivan has some tips on bringing them back to life.

Phalenopsis orchids make beautiful houseplants when they are in bloom. Actually, even when they are not in bloom, they are still pretty interesting looking. If your orchid blooms have faded out, you can take the opportunity now to repot them.

When the flowers fade from the bloom stalks, you can encourage additional blooms by cutting back the flower. Cut from the bottom of the stalk, up three nodes and clip the bloomstalk off, just above that third node.

If you want to move your orchids to a different container, keep these simple tips in mind. Orchids like loose, very well drained potting mix, so you might want to pick up a bag of special orchid mix for your project.

There are also special orchid pots that have side holes to further improve the air exchange for the roots.

You can remove all the old potting mix if you like and check to see if there are any dead roots that need to be clipped off. Water the plant well in its new container to settle in the potting mix around the roots.

Keep your orchid in indirect sunlight for 3 or 4 weeks after repotting. Use a water soluble fertilizer every third or fourth watering, and you should see side shoots developing on the bloomstalks as well as new leaves.

If you have a gardening question for Cindi, just email her at