Prune orchids

Prune orchids

Prune orchids

Pruning is an intervention that affects many plant species: from fruit trees to flowering ones and ornamental varieties. Pruning plants essentially means resorting to two techniques: cutting the unproductive parts and eliminating the dry and withered parts. These techniques can have productive and aesthetic purposes. Pruning in flowering plants and in apartment species has, in general, always aesthetic purposes, purposes related to thickening the plants and stimulating their flowering. Among the ornamental plants that seem to receive some benefits from pruning, we also remember orchids. These are plants now widespread all over the world and belonging to the orchidaceae family. In nature there are about twenty-five thousand species of orchids, classified in more than six hundred genera. Whatever species or genus they belong to, orchids are able to give beautiful blooms. Pruning them often serves to force and stimulate the floral development of these magnificent plants.


As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the pruning of orchids has exclusively decorative and aesthetic purposes. Given the extreme variability of specimens, it should be remembered that not all varieties of orchid are suitable for pruning. Indeed, this technique is the subject of a heated debate in the world of gardening, where two opposing sides of opinion were born: one in favor of pruning and one against. In reality, the decision to prune orchids depends on the behavior of the individual plants and the species they belong to. In nature there are orchids that bloom on the same stem and others that do so on a new stem. In nature there are also orchids that independently lose the old stem and others that instead keep it attached to the base even if it is dead and withered for a long time. Proponents of pruning wonder what types of orchids need to be pruned, while opponents completely deny this possibility. In life, however, it is necessary to use common sense and wisdom and the rule for pruning orchids suggests only to eliminate the dry and withered parts and, therefore, unproductive flowers and stems. In some species it may be necessary to prune (cut) even the productive stems, because this seems to stimulate the emission of new flower shoots.

How to proceed

The pruning of orchids, as you will have understood by reading the previous paragraphs, requires different cutting interventions based on the cultivated species and its vegetative behavior. Orchids that renew the stems should be pruned by removing only the old stem and the withered flowers, while those that bloom on the same stem can be left alone or at most treated by removing only the dried flowers. There are orchids that bloom on new stems and independently shed old ones. Also in this case it will be necessary to intervene only on the damaged floral parts. Orchids that bloom on new stems can be pruned at the base to force flowering and get more lush and intensely colored flowers. However, this practice is not recommended for inexperienced growers. The pruning cuts in the productive stems must, in fact, be carried out with particular care and attention, to avoid fraying and wounds in the plant tissue. The cutting of the stems, both productive and unproductive, always starts from the base. The unproductive ones can be removed completely, while the productive ones, only starting from a certain height from the ground (twenty centimeters) and just below the node from which the new stems will develop. To carry out the pruning, scissors with well sharpened blades and gloves must be used. Tools must be carefully cleaned and disinfected, both before and after use. During the interventions it is necessary to make clean and precise cuts, avoiding deep wounds and fraying that cause the entry of viruses and plant bacteria. After pruning, the wounds of orchids must be healed with mastic specific for these plants. The product can be purchased safely in garden stores.

Prune orchids: when to prune

There is no specific time to prune orchids. These plants can bloom at any time of the year and generally cover the entire period from spring to summer. The extreme variability of flowering depends on the high number of orchids present in nature. In order not to make mistakes, pruning should only be done after these plants have completed the development of flowers. Only after flowering can orchids be cleaned of dried flowers and unproductive stems. If the orchids, after flowering, will be able to autonomously renew the stems and flowers, it will be completely useless to prune them. The varieties of orchids that lend themselves to the simple removal of withered flowers are those used in apartments, including Dendrobium and Phalaenopsis. The varieties that can also benefit from cutting the stem are, however, those that bloom again on new stems leaving the old one attached to the base, namely Cambria orchids and Cymbodiums.

Video: Does cutting old Dendrobium canes promote more flowers?