Moth Orchid Aftercare


Marketers have made a fortune selling orchids with the trademark “Just Add Ice.” And over the years, the number of ice cubes needed to sustain the watering of their orchids has increased from 1 to 3.

Maybe it’s just because I live in a cold climate, but the idea of ice anywhere on a plant doesn’t make me happy. I know that cold can dramatically slow down tomatoes growing outside–so you don’t find me adding ice anywhere to anything except perhaps a drink.

So how do I care for my orchids? It is pretty simple. The photo above shows an orchid that needs water. It’s roots are white. I pour room temperature water through the plant until it is generously running out the bottom. I let it all drain out, and then I put this clear pot back in a decorative container.


This orchid doesn’t need water yet. Its roots have a greenish tinge. That’s how I tell. Green roots mean the orchid is still moist enough.

As for rebloom, when the orginal stalk is finished, cut it off at the point where the flowers were, or to where it has browned back. Sometimes it will die all the way back to the leaves, and that’s how far you should remove it.


Other times, this might happen. Here, a new blooming scape is forming from the old one.


On this same plant, a second blooming stalk is also forming. Notice that it differs from the new roots. It’s pale green and the new root growth is bright white.

Incidentally, I don’t feed my orchids at all. (I have often referred to my plants getting tough love at my house. This is just another example. But who’s feeding them in the wild?) The bark feeds them. It’s better to repot than to feed them with something–at least in my opinion.

Once again, orchids are meant to be long lasting house plants. They are incredibly easy care if you just follow some simple tips and don’t rot their roots.

And they will pretty reliably rebloom. That’s why they became the best selling plant in the world.

2 thoughts on “Moth Orchid Aftercare

  1. tonytomeo February 29, 2020 / 8:47 pm

    It is saddening to see how many moth orchids are sold at the farmers’ market on Sunday. I know that almost all of them are enjoyed only as long as they are in bloom, and then discarded and replaced.

  2. gardendaze March 1, 2020 / 5:30 am

    Wow, at the Farmer’s Market? But what do you think happens to the ones from the box stores and the grocery stores? At least the Farmer’s market ones probably had a better start in life.

    Here, because we all garden under trees, it’s so easy to get orchids to rebloom. Like most of the rest of my plants, my orchids go outside under a big dogwood.

    You’ll notice that’s not in the post. When I talk about it in my lectures, all I get asked about is bringing in bugs. People are so squeamish.


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