Basic Orchid Care: How to Fix a Broken Orchid Stem

Updated on December 30, 2016
Prevent stem breakage by gently connecting the stem to a stake.
Prevent stem breakage by gently connecting the stem to a stake. | Source

You’ve 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, don’t worry — there is hope for your orchid, so don’t give up altogether.

If the orchid has stem is completely severed the best thing to do is to make a fresh cut with a sterilized pair of scissors or clippers. Use isopropyl alcohol to clean the blades, and then make the cut as close to the damaged area as possible.

Discard the broken top piece, as it is useless; a new orchid plant can’t grow from it. Orchids require the rhizome (or root-like part of the plant) to grow.

Dip the fresh cut in cinnamon powder (the same kind you’d add to your French toast) to seal up the wound and ward of disease or infection. If you prefer, or don’t have cinnamon powder available, you can also dip the cut into some melted candle wax to seal the wound too.

Take care of the plant as you normally do in order to de-stress the plant and get it to bloom as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that depending upon the time of year, and the type of orchid you have it may be a few weeks or an entire year until the plant blooms again. 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.

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 change colors.

Water the plant only when the top 1-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 blasts of hot or cold air, may stress the plant too much.

For more information on orchids, watch the short video clip below.


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      new orchid fan 3 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 image

      Diane Lockridge 5 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

      Sandra 5 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?

    • Diane Lockridge profile image

      Diane Lockridge 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Glad to know that the video was helpful, I hope you found the text hulpful too. Happy growing!

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 6 years ago from Europe

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