Basic Orchid Care: How to Fix a Broken Orchid Stem

Updated on May 2, 2019
Diane Lockridge profile image

Lockridge is an avid reader who enjoys learning about beautiful garden plants. Among other things, she has worked with a florist.

You’ve attended to your orchid faithfully, spent the time giving your orchid the right amount of water and light, but the stem broke! It doesn’t matter if the cat knocked the pot off the windowsill, or you simply forgot to stake the stem to help support the heavy blooms. Don’t worry—there is hope for your orchid, so don’t toss it in the trash. The steps you take to salvage the plant will all depend upon the type of damage your orchid has suffered.

Severed Stem

Orchids are an unusual flower because their bloom is disproportionaly large for the spindly stem. Due to the nature of the bloom, orchids are prone to snapping or breaking if not carefully taken care of. If the orchid has stem is completely severed or dangling by a thread, the best thing to do is to start fresh and cut off the damaged portion.

  1. Cut off the damaged area with a pair of sterilized scissors. Use isopropyl alcohol to clean the blades of your clippers, and then make the cut as close to the damaged area or node as possible.
  2. Discard the damage portion, place it in a vessel with water, or place the bloom in your hair (if you are feeling exotic). Orchids require the rhizone, or root-like part of the plant to grow, so the portion of the stem containing the bloom is useless, other than for decoration. Then get focus on tending to the plant to ensure infection doesn't set in.
  3. Dip the fresh cut on your plant in cinnamon powder (yes, the same kind you’d add to your French toast) to seal up the wound and ward of disease or infection. You can also dip the cut into some melted candle wax to seal the wound and keep out germs, instead of using the cinnamon powder.
  4. Care for your plant as you normally do in order limit stress. Depending upon the life cycle of your orchid, and the specific variety you have, it may produce another bloom in just a few weeks or it make take an entire year. Research more on your specific type of orchid (there are more than 25,000 types you know) in order to determine how you should specifically care for the plant, and when you can expect more flowers.

Snapped or Bent Stem

If the stem of your orchid is bent or snapped, but not completely broken off, there may be hope for your orchid in this season yet! The best course of action is to offer the stem additional support, which you could do either horizontally or vertically.

Verticle Support

  1. Insert a stake, such as a bamboo skewer or chopstick into the potting mix. Be sure to avoid sticking the skewer into the roots or rhizome of the orchid.
  2. Secure the stem to the stake with a small clip, or with a strip of fabric or twine. Don't tie the stem to the stake too tightly, you'll need the stem to have room to move and grow. Place the supports as close to the bloom as possible for maximum benefit, using as many supports as you feel comfortable with.

Horizontal Support

  1. Create a brace for the stem (just like you would brace a broken arm). Cut two pieces of bamboo about the same length.
  2. Place the two pieces of bamboo on either side of the stem, with the broken piece about in the center of the bamboo skewers.
  3. Secure the bamboo to the stem with a piece of fabric. Choose a light green or brown color fabric to hide the damage, or choose an contrasting color for an unexpected pop.

You may find that the orchid reblooms below the damaged node. (The nodes are the natual segments on the stem of the orchid, much like what you might notice on bamboo.) Growth from an uninjured node is normal, but it will likely result in a smaller bloom than before.

Gently guide the direction of bloom growth by securing the stem to a stake.
Gently guide the direction of bloom growth by securing the stem to a stake.

Normal Orchid Care Instructions

Set the plant in a south-facing windowsill where it will receive plenty of indirect sunlight. If the plant gets too hot, or receives too much direct light, the leaves will likely change colors. If discoloration occurs, move the plant to a location where it will receive bright light without being exposed to too much heat.

Water the plant only when the top one-inch of potting mix is dry. Limiting watering discourages root rot and is more like what the plant would likely experience growing in the wild. Increase the humidity around the orchid by setting it near other potted plants, or misting the stem and leaves with room temperature water.

Avoid placing the plant near drafty windows or near air conditioner vents. The change in blasts of hot or cold air, may stress the plant too much and result in an unhealthy plant. Just like humans, plants crave predictable temperatures.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • I found my orchid growing an unexpected stem. It was growing slightly horizontal but mainly vertical so I was attempting to place a steak to train it up and the top inch of the tip of the stem snapped off as I attached the stem clips. Will this completely ruin the stem growth? Should I cut it off to start again or let it be? The break happened just by a node point.

    It really depends upon the type of orchid you have, and type of growing cycle it has.

    Follow the instructions listed in the article and good luck! Maybe next time try to train it in stages, using multiple supports.

  • I broke my orchid stern and put it in water to see if would root, but instead, something is growing from the nodes, what do you think it could be?

    It sounds like you broke the top of the orchid stem and the node below was still viable. Congratulations! I suggest cutting the stem off just above the healthy node so that the plant can put the energy in the healthy growth.

  • Help! My orchid stem was growing and hadn't bloomed yet, as I was putting another clamp on it the top broke off. Will that stem still bloom sometime, or should I cut it off and wait for the next blooming season?

    It really depends upon the type of orchid, and the severity of the damage. Treat the orchid with care, and try not to stress it any further. Avoid major fluxes in temperature and keep watering levels consistent to help encourage the orchid to bloom this season.

  • If I cut an orchid stem at the base, will it bloom again?

    It likely will bloom again, however not necessarily in the same year. It really depends upon the type of orchid you have.

  • What do I do when an orchid stem breaks off while the flower is in full bloom?

    Make lemonade! And by that I mean wear the bloom in your hair or creating a floating flower by placing it in a shallow bowl of water.

    If you are asking what if there is a way to reattach the bloom to the stem, the answer is no. Cut the stem with sterilized snippers, and dip the stem in some cinnamon powder to help seal up the cut. Tend to the plant as normal, monitoring water/moisture levels, light and temperature conditions and hope for the best.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Diane Lockridge profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Lockridge 

      3 weeks ago from Atlanta, GA

      If the remaining portion of plant itself is still healthy you have a good shot at bloom regrow this, it likely won’t be this season though, as many orchids produce blooms just once a year. Good luck!

    • Diane Lockridge profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Lockridge 

      3 weeks ago from Atlanta, GA

      Please review the article, and refer to other articles I’ve written on orchid care. Most of your questions are answered there.

    • profile image


      5 weeks ago

      I snapped off my orchid stem with grown orchids and one bud still left to blossom by mistake. How do I help it to rebloom? Should I put

      it in water and wait for roots to come out then put it back in potting soil?

      Or just stick it back to the original soil it came with and hopefully

      there is enough nutrients in the soil to help it regrow?

      There is a node still under the cut and looks like it was growing before I accidentally put it off? Pls help .

    • profile image


      6 weeks ago

      I had a stem that died And broke off at base but the leaves are still green. I’ve been still caring and feeding for it. Will it create another stem? Help❣️

    • Diane Lockridge profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Lockridge 

      23 months ago from Atlanta, GA

      The bottom root portion should be fine with proper care, but unfortunately the top portion won't regrow.

    • profile image

      Maria Vidal 

      23 months ago

      I accidentally cut the orchid planta and now I have a pot with roots only an a plant without any root. Can I save both? Thank You for any


    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Glad to know that the video was helpful, I hope you found the text hulpful too.ery interesting

    • profile image

      new orchid fan 

      5 years ago

      I have had my orchid for about two and a half years. It is growing nicely, but the rhizomes are outgrowing the pot and are reaching out several inches in all directions. How can I re-pot my orchid without killing it?

    • Diane Lockridge profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Lockridge 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I'm a bit confused by your question, but I think your best bet it to focus on the part of the plant with the roots, rather than the stem portion. Keep it in a moderate temperature and water semi-frequently.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Can you please help I have a very large Phalaenopsis

      which I have had for some years. I managed today to break off a set of leaves at the base, with no roots attached, is there anything I can do with this to encourage it to grow new roots and pot it on?

    • kikalina profile image


      8 years ago from Europe

      Very interesting hub and i love the video. will be sharing.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)