Do I Have to Cut Yellow Orchid Stems?

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Trimming orchids is important for their health.
Trimming orchids is important for their health. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

An orchid still requires care after dropping its blossoms. Whether it is a phalaenopsis orchid that does not enter a dormant stage or a species of orchid that ceases growing for several months, such as the vanda orchid, proper care of the plant and its growing environment encourages longevity and better blooms. A warning sign that an orchid needs attention is a yellow stem.

Yellow Stems During Bloom

If an orchid’s stem turns yellow during the blooming season, there is a health problem requiring immediate attention and care. The problem may be a fungal infection in the soil, pests on the leaves or the growing condition, such as a lack of water or nutrients or excess sunlight. Yellowing stems during bloom leads to problems with the blooms themselves, including early dropping and death of the flowers.

Caring for Yellow Stems

Most orchid species go dormant after producing and losing their blossoms. The stem turns yellow or brown and loses its leaves when this happens. Pruning the stem back to the soil level is important for keeping the orchid healthy, as it produces a new stem each growing season. Yellow stems left in the planter during the dormant season house diseases and pests that damage the orchid the following growing season.

Post-Bloom Yellowing Stem

Most orchid species go dormant after producing and losing their blossoms. The stem turns yellow or brown and loses its leaves when this happens. Pruning the stem back to the soil level is important for keeping the orchid healthy, as it produces a new stem each growing season. Yellow stems left in the planter during the dormant season house diseases and pests that damage the orchid the following growing season.

Post-Bloom Phalaenopsis Orchid Yellowing Stem

The phalaenopsis orchid, also known as the moth or butterfly orchid, produces a second set of blooms on the same stem each year if the stem is pruned at the proper time. After the blossoms drop, trim the stem back to just above a flower node and just below the point where the lowest blossoms were. This allows the moth orchid to produce more flowers before entering a brief dormancy period. After the second set of blooms drop, pruning the yellow stem keeps the orchid healthy.

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