It is an art because there is a preferred way to prune your orchids and that way encourages new growth.
The non-preferred way may not harm your orchid, but it may not bloom as often.
You want to maximize the amount of blooms that your particular orchid can yield.
Phalaenopsis orchids, when pruned properly, will respond positively by usually having a second set of blooms.
The time to start pruning orchids is after the blooms have started wilting or drying up.
When they are gone you can prune the flower's stem when it starts to turn yellowish.
The timing for this is usually around the fall months just before the winter.
The tools you need to prune is a good pair of sharp garden shears, bleach, water, and pruning sealer.
Mix about a ½ cup of bleach to a gallon of water.
Sanitize the shears by soaking them in some of the solution for about 15 minutes then let it air dry.
Then when pruning expired blooms, cut the flower stems about ½ to ¼ inch above the main stem and apply some sealer onto the stem.
This is the preferred way to prune the Phalaenopsis orchid.
Leaving that little part of the stem intact will encourage new buds to appear.
Be careful not to cut into the orchid's main stem.
Sterilize the shears with each new plant that you work with.
Otherwise, if you prune an infected plant, then work on a healthy plant, the healthy plant may also become infected from the contaminated shears.
Removing blooms that begin to dry up can encourage new blooms to show through.
In addition to pruning the bloom stems, you may also need to prune the main stem; this is probably the only time you want to touch the main stem.
Phalaenopsis is a single stem plant usually with several flower stems that appear.
After flowering, the tip of the main stem may dry and turn brown.
This is the time to prune the main stem.
Cut the main stem about one inch above the closest flower stem; removing this part will also encourage new growth on the rest of the plant.
Apply pruning sealer to the main stem after cutting.
Pruning is a necessary activity along with watering, feeding and lighting that Phalaenopsis orchids need to stay healthy to flower.
Cleanliness is an important factor in pruning.
If one of your orchids is infected, keeping the work area clean and sterile will help prevent any further spreading of the infection to other plants.
Pruning should occur around the fall just before winter.
Sterilize any cutting tools that you use before each pruning session.
Pruning is not only for removing old blooms, but also the topmost part of the main stem when it's brown and dried.
Proper pruning will allow your orchids to do their best at not only staying healthy, but also to continually have beautiful flowers.