I have a Phalaenopsis orchid that appears to be doing very well. It has been in bloom for at least 4 months, and the flower spikes continue to put on new blooms. Based on the number of buds on the spikes, I suspect it will be in bloom for at least another month. During the time it has been in bloom, it has added a new leaf, and I can see new roots growing, as well.

Would there be any benefit in the long term for this plant to limit its bloom time? For example, if I were to cut the spike back now rather than letting it continue blooming for a month or more, would that mean a stronger, healthier plant in the future, or a plant that was more likely to rebloom?

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Orchids undergo cycles of root growth, new leaves, and flowering. When the spike starts to brown with the flowers falling, it's generally recommended that you cut the spike so that metabolic energy is not wasted on the dying stem. You should cut the stem close to where to arises in young plants, and in older plants with large roots, you may be able to cut below the brown stem, and above a node in the hope of getting more blooms. However, these flowers tend to be smaller.

It therefore seems reasonable that by cutting the stem while in flower, you will shift the orchid into a cycle of new leaves and roots, but I've never heard of anyone doing this since you may have to wait another year for the next bloom.

If I look at old leaves I see that they are much thinner then new leaves, and I presume it's because the stored carbohydrates in the leaf were used to produce the flowers. So larger leaves might well produce larger blooms. You should ensure that new leaves be larger or at least the same size as older leaves.

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