Pruning and training are essential in maintaining healthy orchids. We must always remove dying or non-productive parts from the plant and ensure that the flower spikes receive plenty of light and support. There are certain things we must remember while pruning and training flower stems, which will result in better growth and frequent blooms.
Timing: Pruning should be done at the right time. If you prune the stem during the orchid’s growth cycle, you may damage the plant as it will go into shock. Always prune spikes during the plant’s resting or dormant cycle, which is usually the months of October and November, although it may differ according to the type of orchid.
Variety: Every type of orchid has a different growth and blooming cycle. While you may have to prune some when the flowers begin to wilt, for others we have to do it when the stem becomes brown.
Tools: Using the right tool is also important for pruning. Use a scissor style pruning shear which has a sharp blade and always remember to sterilize the blade after each pruning so that any bacteria from one orchid does not get transferred to another.
Position: Prune the flower spike at the right position, such as, 1/4th of an inch from stem node. Cut only flowering stems and not the supporting ones.
Stakes and Clips: Training the flower spike is also important because the spike may be weak and need stakes and clips to keep them upright. The spike tends to grow towards the light source. So you need to turn the plant as it grows, in order to get a beautiful shape, either straight up vertically or gently cascading on the side. However, it is better not to turn the plant once the spikes develop buds, as they require light to bloom into healthy flowers.
By following these steps on pruning and training the flower spike, you will reduce stress on the plant, promote growth and see more vibrant leaves and blooms in the next growing season.