How long do indoor orchids typically live?

Orchids are great because many indoor – and outdoor – species produce blooms that last for one, maybe even two months. Compare that to most other types of flowers and you’ll realize that orchid flowers last a whole lot longer.

As far as the actual orchid – how long will an orchid last?

Possibly for as long as ten years, if it’s provided with the right care. 

Typically, after the flowering period is finished, orchid flowers will wilt and the flower spike (stem) that they are on will begin to change in color – normally to a yellowish-brown.


Keeping an orchid alive
How long do orchids normally last?



Just because the flowers have died, that does not mean your entire orchid plant is toast. Far from it! 

If the leaves are still in good health – a dark green color and turgid (hard) – it means your orchid is perfectly capable of reflowering, over and over again. 

So how to get the orchid to reflower? Or, if you like, how to keep an orchid alive?

First, place the entire pot – the pot with the orchid – into water and let it soak for 20 minutes. Ideally, you’ll want to use rainwater but tap water is just fine. 

To revive a dead flower, simply go down the same flower spike (stem) the old flower is on and cut above a fresh node (one of the bumps on the flower spike). So, basically, you are cutting the dead flower off. 

Move down from the old flower to the first new node and cut just above using pruners – secateurs – call them what you will. Don’t use scissors. Scissors tend to ‘chew’ into the flower spike rather than provide you with a nice clean cut.

How far above the fresh node should you cut?

Around one-quarter of an inch or so is just fine. 

Next, position your orchid in a sunny window and water as an when required. 

And finally, be patient and allow for new flower spike growth and a fresh flower to appear. The fresh flower ‘should’ appear from the node at the top of the flower spike – the one you cut just above. Sometimes, however, you’ll see two nodes on the same spike simultaneously producing fresh flowers. 

2 thoughts on “How to Keep an Orchid Alive”

  1. Dear Joseph,

    It’s September 20,2021, and I hope you are well. My niece’s wedding was in June 2005. The gorgeous, large white “butterflies” on the spike inside the centerpiece on the dining-reception table encouraged me. Now, when I’m a healthy 71, thank Goodness, I am afraid I might lose my beloved white phalaenopsis this year.

    My sister also had given me 2 dendrovian-phalaenopsis plants at the shower in 2005. The more delicate hybrids died by 3 years. My orchids-and-main other plants growing place is inside my apartment office room atop tables facing west. Unfortunately, I and my husband have had to deal with gnats from the 2nd or 3rd year. (Use seaweed-based organic spray atop the growing medium and in the water dishes; it causes the soil and plastic dish of water holding each glazed, holey pot to stink. So I must scrub the water dishes weekly. Also I have used Mosquito Bits for 5-6 years to control the gnat larvae. Absolutely no more orchids or other plants indoors for me. 3 Of my volunteering and paid tutoring students have given me orchids; Those are now around 5 and 4 years old and 9 months old and doing OK.

    One year I found a slightly bigger orchid pot for the one pink polka-dotted big, strong plant. Since 2005, I’ve had to throw out 4 orchids that could not make it beyond 2, 3, and 9 years, respectively. I will not allow any new orchid here to attract gnats.

    Will the Wedding White biggest flowers plant give me big moths again? I have a very sweet and brilliant husband who still works and who shows us a world of movies nightly, no paying students, all my 2 careers’ teaching materials, 5 orchids, 4 other indoor plants, and concern for the aging plus great nieces and nephews. My 2005 moth orchid had 2 leaves only by summer. I begged it to start a baby leaf, and after I scrubbed the pot and gave my White fresh orchid bark, it did; that’s now 3 incheslong, But one of the 2 older leaves now is 2/3 golden, going. Tomorrow, all my orchids get orchid food, and I will soon repot 2 more orchids.

    Joseph, I never saw your website before today. Your photograph of somewhere in the Philippines is wondrous. I wish you a fulfilled life there but envy you none on the weather and insects or crocs. If you’ve any advice about my orchids (pothos and big Ficus Benyamina), I’d love to have it. I’ve enjoyed your bio and your advice/suggestions so far. Thank you.

    Sincerely yours,
    Faye A. Melton, MA, in Los Angeles

    1. Hi Faye, thanks very much for sharing your experiences with a variety of orchids (and other things) from the previous many years! Sounds like a lot of hard work (with respect to the orchids) and I hope it has been well worth it.

      For sure, Faye, the weather and the mosquitoes in the Philippines are, at least at times, particularly overbearing. Sometimes, I long for the cooler climes of Scotland. Though, I’m sure if I was there in Scotland, I’d quickly want to bail out to someplace hotter!

      As for advice on orchids, truth be told, the majority of my experience is with outdoor orchids as opposed to indoor. However, there’s plenty of good info on this website with respect to the culture of indoor orchids:

      Hope that’s of help, Faye, and very best of luck!

      Take good care!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.