Orchid blooming stages is a matter that can be divided into six phases- inflorescent initiation, bud development, bud swelling, flowering, pollination, and shedding. Each phase takes a specific time to complete, but the combined period is at most three months in most cases.Orchid Blooming Stages

Fortunately, you can prolong the length of blooming by doing simple things, which we have discussed in this article. So, continue reading to know more about them.

What Are Orchid Blooming Stages?

Orchid blooming stages are composed of six stages that start with inflorescent initiation. Then, the orchid enters the bud development phase. With time, the buds get bigger and enter the swelling stage. After this, a blooming stage comes, in which the bud turns into flowers. The last two stages are pollination and shedding.

– Inflorescent Initiation or Pre-blooming Stage

The blooming life cycle begins with inflorescent growth, and before it begins to bloom, you will see the plant get into the inflorescent stage. First, a flower stalk or spike emerges and becomes mature. On it, the buds develop, which will turn into flowers. Your orchid can have one or many flower spikes and you will see this stage taking place just there.

Most Phalaenopsis orchid species produce a single spike, while some can have more. Similarly, Equistres orchids are known for developing more than one spike every season. Whenever these plants grow inflorescent, know that the blooming is about to start.

– Bud Development

The first significant sign of blooming is the formation of buds. Your orchid can have from two to up to 100 buds, depending on the species. In most cases, Phalaenopsis produce up to right buds, while Cattleya has the potential more than that.Orchid Bud Development

Buds are easy to recognize. They are round to oval and usually green when they emerge. You can also see them in red, green, yellow, and many other hues. Most inexperienced gardeners confuse a young bud with an aerial root. Remember that the buds would be darker in their color than the shade of the roots.

– Bud Swelling

When buds emerge, they are tiny structures that continue to grow and typically take a few weeks to develop properly. The orchid typically does not take more than 120 days or 12 weeks to mature a bud. You can confirm the budding maturity by checking its shape, and this is what would start to get swollen.

Furthermore, a bud also changes its color when it swells. It is similar to the hues of flower petals. When the color change happens, it is a sign that a flower is about to come out of it.

– Flowering Stage

An orchid bud opens up after swelling and blooms a colorful flower. It can be angular, wide, broad, small, or large, as each type of species is different, which is why it all depends on the type of orchid you have and how they have grown. Phalaenopsis orchids, the most popular ones, produce moth-shaped flowers in different hues throughout their life.

– Pollination

Pollination is also a part of blooming. It usually happens with the help of insects and wind. But despite producing pollen, these plants are considered safe for those with pollen allergies. Also, different orchid species reproduce asexually by developing keikis which are little plants that would grow on the spike and develop leaves as well.

– Shedding

Flowers typically bloom for about two months, and then they fall off. The whole blooming cycle also lasts for around three months in most cases. However, some orchids, like Phalaenopsis and Psychopsis, produce flowers yearly. Still, many orchids have a limited flowering time, and then they shed all of their blooms.

How To Prolong Orchids Blooming Stages?

You can prolong the orchids’ blooming stages by not touching the buds or flowers. Furthermore, adding bloom booster, maintaining suitable lighting conditions, and providing air circulation keep the flowers on the plant for more time. In addition, keeping the garden clean can also increase the blooming time.

– Don’t Touch the Flowers

Orchid flowers are delicate. Touching them will hurt their petals, causing them to fall off. That is why always gently handle the flower or avoid physical contact.Orchid Flowers

It is best that you avoid touching or pruning the flower-bearing spike too when the plant is blooming. If it moves abruptly, it will create unnecessary pressure on the blooms, and they might drop off too. Furthermore, ensure the orchids are not in the way of strong winds, which can damage the flowers.

– Support the Flower Spike

Sometimes, the spike droops down due to its length or the weight of the flowers. If this happens, you may not see blooms for long. Therefore, immediately use stakes and twist ties to support the stem.

You can also use any wooden stick available. Tie the spike with it and ensure it stays vertically aligned. Also, ensure your clip or cord does not hurt the spike, and having this in mind, you may also try to remove these things when you think your orchid does not need support.

– Use Bloom Boosters

Fertilizer companies now manufacture bloom boosters for orchids to prolong the flowering season. They are usually applied at the end of the blooming phase. You may opt to start adding them when only three to four weeks are left in the flower shedding.

It may hurt the blooming if you add a bloom booster at the start or in the middle of the blooming phase. But if the fertilizer specifically mentions it, then follow the instructions. In most cases, adding a dose with fourth watering is fine.

Bloom boosters will force the orchids to rebloom, and you will see more flowers for extra weeks. The two reasons that make them effective are that they are urea-free and contain a high amount of phosphorus- a nutrient critical for flowering. That is the reason that the orchids will produce big and more colorful flowers when you add a bloom booster dose.

– Provide Plenty of Bright and Indirect Light

An orchid blooms when it receives light for at least six hours daily. It should be around 12 hours if you want to see smooth flowering. The plant uses this light to do photosynthesis. Due to this, energy is generated, which is utilized to produce buds and bloom them into flowers.Orchid Under Bright and Indirect Light

That is why the blooming phase can last for less than a month if you don’t provide suitable lighting conditions. Due to low light, the orchids will find it hard to develop buds, which is why the right type is necessary, as most of them will then die without flowering if the lighting is not proper. The remaining ones will blossom into poor-quality flowers, which will be shed in a few days.

We suggest you use a light-measuring instrument to know about the light situation. If you put the orchids near east-facing windows, there won’t be any issues. But if you use LED grow lights, ensuring the right intensity and duration is critical. It may feel like extra work, but it will help the orchids produce healthy blooms for more time.

– Maintain Air Circulation

Orchids grow best when the air or oxygen supply stays optimal. These plants need air to carry out respiration and many other processes smoothly, and note that these things maintain the orchid’s health and help them bloom.

Furthermore, air circulation also keeps the humidity levels in a suitable range. It takes away extra moisture, which ultimately helps the buds to bloom. Moreover, air reduces the heat buildup and ensures the orchids are not stressed.

As a result, you will witness lots of blooms for months. To maintain proper air circulation, you should always try to keep the pots at least one foot away from each other, or you can place a fan nearby.

– Don’t Put Ethylene Emitting Plants Near Orchids

Ethylene gas-emitting plants reduce the flowering span of nearby plants, including orchids. It causes hormonal changes in orchid plants, which disrupt the blooming cycle. Therefore, we suggest gardeners never place ethylene-emitting plants when the orchids bloom, some of which are like planted avocados, tomatoes, bananas, and onions.

– Rotate the Orchids Every Week

Rotating orchids every week can also help them bloom better. It ensures each side of the orchid receives equal and sufficient light. As a result, the chances of light stress will go down.Rotating Orchids Every Week

Furthermore, the exposure to air will also be optimal due to rotation. As discussed above, oxygen circulation is critical for flowering. If one side stays air-stressed, you will not see it blooming.

Moreover, if you don’t change sides, the spikes will continue to stretch toward light and oxygen. As a result, it will droop down, impacting the blooming. The orchid will then rely on stakes and other support to stay in shape and produce healthy flowers. So, this is why you must try to rotate every orchid carefully after seven days.

– Ensure Roots Stay Happy

Maintaining root health also helps an orchid in producing and keeping flowers. To see good growth, try to add water adequately, as overwatering causes root suffocation.

Ensure drainage is smooth, and keep pH slightly acidic, which should be between 5.5 and 6.5, by using pH-altering solutions. When necessary, you must give fertilizers monthly, which is mostly done when the plant is growing, and try to fluff up the upper layer every week.

– Keep Everything Neat and Tidy

Blooming also depends on how neat you keep things around orchids. If your garden stays dirty, it will become home to disease-causing pathogens. They can invade the orchids and make them unfit for proper blooming.

They usually attack the roots and disturb the water uptake. As a result, the orchid will become dehydrated and won’t have the power to produce blooms. Furthermore, gray mold fungus directly infects the flowers, causing them to drop.

In addition, don’t let water stay on the floor or any other surfaces. Also, drain the remaining water from your watering can, bowl, or bucket. Many pathogens love moisture; water-filled things can also invite them to your garden.

Moreover, remove any sick and discolored leaves you see to avoid disease spread. Similarly, eradicate weeds from orchid pots; when they are present, they can harbor pests, which can eat the buds and flowers on the orchids. For instance, thrips are common and love to feast on the orchids’ blooms. When you keep your garden clean, your orchids will repay you by blooming more blooms for a long time.


Bud development, swelling, blooming, and pollination occur in between, so here’s the list of critical points about flowering which you should always keep in mind:

  • All in all, there are six orchid plant blooming stages. They begin with inflorescent initiation and end with flower shedding.
  • Blooming lasts from eight weeks to several months.
  • When the flowers shed, it means the flowering has ended.
  • You should only touch buds or flowers if you want them to stay on the spike for a short time.
  • Use a bloom booster, provide optimal light, and maintain proper care to ensure the blooming continues for months.

Remember that the factor of how long the blooming lasts is a way that you can ensure it would thrive with the right gives, as you try to provide as suitable growing conditions as possible; you will see big and radiant flowers on the orchid longer than usual.

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