Orchid plants need to be pruned carefully to avoid damage and shock. Wash your hands thoroughly or wear gloves. Use sharp, sterile scissor-type pruning shears or a razor blade, as anvil-type shears are too blunt and may damage the stems.Continue Reading
Allow leaves to remain on the stalk to transfer nutrients to the plant until they have become yellowed, withered and limp. When they are completely dead, you can usually remove them cleanly with a slight tug.
Prune an orchid flower when it loses its brilliant natural color and becomes shriveled, brown and dry. Cut the stem right where it emerges from the leaves to promote further flower growth. Whenever a stalk turns yellow or brown it should be pruned, as it can no longer flower. Cut the stalk diagonally halfway between nodes, or slight swellings of the stalk, or alternatively, cut 1/4 inch above a fresh node.
Sometimes the roots of orchid plants become flat, shriveled and brown. Trim these off carefully with sterilized scissor shears or a sharp razor blade. Cut the roots little by little, and stop as soon as you see live tissue. After pruning the roots, water the plant well to minimize shock.