Prune the orchids


Some houseplants can also be regularly pruned. Pruning, as you know, is a cultivation practice that tends to strengthen and reinvigorate the growth of the plant, both in terms of flowers and fruits. Pruning, at times, can also serve to make the plant more resistant to attacks by parasites and diseases, although this concept is not always valid, especially if incorrect pruning is performed which, on the contrary, can cause serious infections to the plant. To stay on the subject of pruning indoor and flowering plants, we can also include orchids, especially with splendid blooms, which can benefit from periodic pruning in order to improve the aesthetic performance of the flowers.

Orchid pruning: yes or no?

Pruning orchids is the subject of a very controversial debate among gardeners. Some argue that orchids should never be pruned, as they are species that, after the withering of the flowers, renew themselves, others argue that, on the contrary, it would be advisable to prune them, removing, in addition to dried or withered flowers, also the by now old stems, pears renew the plant and favor a more vigorous flowering. Generally, the line to follow for orchid pruning concerns the cultivated variety. In fact, some species always flower on the same stem, others form new stems, letting the previous one wither. This criterion allows pruning to be performed only on orchid varieties that may actually need it. Some varieties, moreover,

What orchids to prune

In common practice, house orchids are pruned regularly. The most suitable varieties to be grown in pots and therefore pruned are the dendrobium and phalaenopsis. The former, originally from New Zealand, have pink flowers with lower margins. These varieties have the ability to independently wilt the unproductive stem by flowering on the new one. In this case, pruning can only be done by removing the dried or withered flowers, but leaving the stem alone. Phalaenopsis orchids have the same flowering characteristics, a species native to the Indies, with smaller flowers colored in fuchsia, red or white, and with the ability to renew the stem naturally. After running out of bloom on the previous stem, these orchids will emit a new stem, from which the new flowers will develop. Also in this case, pruning can be practiced simply by removing the dried and withered flowers. Some orchid varieties may benefit from stem removal instead. In any case, it is a question of species that no longer bloom on the same stem, but the latter, unlike other orchids, remains equally attached to the plant if it is not removed by pruning. Cambria orchids have these characteristics, where the stem with the withered flowers can be safely cut off at the base, as it will no longer be able to bloom again. Other varieties of orchid that require cutting at the base of the flower stem are, for example, the Cymbodium. As for the other species,

How to prune

The methods of pruning orchids were partly suggested in the previous paragraph and essentially consist of two techniques: removal of dried and withered flowers and leaves and cutting of unproductive stems. Many gardening enthusiasts force orchids to bloom by pruning the productive stems as well. These stems should be cut about twenty centimeters from the base, immediately after the node from which new stems should develop. This procedure should avoid the appearance of aesthetically unsightly stems or that tend to bend too much during flowering. Other gardeners prefer to cut the stems from the end instead. This procedure is in any case useful for those orchids that no longer bloom on the same stem, while the partial shortening of the flower stem, twenty centimeters from the base, seems to have the effect of forcing the blooms making them even more spectacular. As you can see, the pruning of orchids has purely aesthetic purposes and it could not be otherwise, given that these plants are grown essentially for ornamental purposes.

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