It’s exciting to pick a new orchid in the shop. Choosing which one to buy is understandably based on the type of flowers it has – there are so many different colors and patterns!
Once the new plant is brought home, you naturally want to enjoy its flowers for as long as possible. And that’s why I’d like to answer a few frequently asked questions about orchid flowers.
Why are your orchid’s flowers falling off? If the flowers are falling off prematurely, you’re experiencing bud blast. This is caused by a sudden change in environment. A drastic change in temperature, light or humidity can shock the orchid, making its flowers and buds fall off.
Older orchid flowers fall off naturally once they’re done blooming, starting from closest to the crown towards the tip of the spike. They should fall off one by one. This is not the same than bud blast, but a totally natural occurrence.
The old flowers should never fall off all at once though, and if even your orchid buds are falling off before blooming, you know with 100% certainty you’re experiencing bud blast.
- My orchid hasn’t bloomed in 2 years
- What Is Orchid Bud Blast – What Causes Orchids To Drop Buds
- What is Orchid Bud Blast?
- What Causes Orchids to Drop Buds?
- How to Make Orchids Rebloom
- How to Care for Your Orchid
- Eight Reasons Your Orchid is Not Blooming
- Basic Orchid Care In Six Easy Steps
- Orchid Bloom Loss: What’s Normal and What’s Not
- Bud Blast
- Changes in Watering Amount and Frequency Can Abort Buds
- Orchids are Sensitive to Air Pollution
- Insufficient Light Can Lead to Bud Loss
- Frequent Fluctuations in Temperature Can Damage Orchid Buds
- Environmental Changes Can Cause Trauma to Buds
- How to Prevent Bud Blast:
- Don’t Give Up
My orchid hasn’t bloomed in 2 years
Phalaenopsis orchids should bloom every year, in some cases even a few times a year, but sometimes they simply refuse to grow a new flower spike. There are several factors that can cause this.
- Root problems
- Insufficient light
- Stable temperature
First and foremost, I would advise you to check the roots of your orchid. Their condition reflects the overall health of your plant.
By repotting your orchid you get a chance to inspect the roots properly and trim off all the bad ones. Also the fresh potting medium can help perk up the plant.
Indoor orchid growers’ biggest challenge is to provide enough light for their plants. And this applies especially during seasons with not much natural sunlight.
So investigate your light sources – if you think you need more light, buy a grow light for indoor plants and see if it makes any difference. They don’t cost much and can truly transform your orchids.
A steady drop in night temperature is needed to induce spiking. So if you have a stable temperature in your house, this explains why your orchid isn’t blooming under your care.
You need the night temperature to drop by circa 41°F (5°C) for a steady period of two weeks. You can manipulate this by reducing the heat on your radiators at nighttime.
Once a spike has emerged and it starts to grow, the temperature drop isn’t needed anymore.
A hidden pest problem can also affect blooming. This is because the insects attack the plant, and therefore affect the plant’s overall health.
So make sure there’s nothing lurking in your orchid pot. If you detect any pests or unusual marks or webbing, identify the intruder and take immediate action to exterminate it.
If your orchid has previously gone through a lot of stress, it can skip blooming the following year. Stress can be caused by many things; diseases, pests, environmental factors, root loss etc. Even if your orchid appears stable now, it’s not guaranteed it’s ready to produce a bloom yet.
I have had a few cases like this, mainly with rescue orchids that lacked a proper root system. It took a lot of time and care, and a continued stable environment, before they were ready to bloom again.
With a case like this you simply need patience. Give the plant enough time to recover and become stronger. It will bloom again once it’s ready to do so.
Orchid has buds but won’t bloom
If the buds have dried up and are still attached to the flower spike, this is caused by bud blast we talked about in the beginning of this article.
Once the buds have dried up, there’s unfortunately nothing you can do to revive them. If they haven’t fallen off by themselves, you can remove them of the spike.
However, if the buds still look fresh and plump, you have nothing to worry about. It takes a few months for a flower spike to fully develop, from the moment it starts to grow all the way to the flowering stage.
So even when the buds have been formed, it takes time for them to develop before they can open up. There’s no way to speed this part up, so just sit back and wait.
What to do after orchid bud blast
It is unfortunate to be hit by bud blast, but this is something every orchid grower will experience at some point.
The buds and flowers are sensitive to environmental changes. Bud blast can even happen while you transport a brand new orchid home!
If the dried up flowers or buds are still attached to the spike, you can remove them manually.
You can then either let the spike be as it is, because there’s a chance new buds will grow out from the tip of the flower spike.
Or, you can trim back the spike above the closest node to where the first flower grew from. Cut from an inch above the node. This can induce a secondary spike – which is like a branch on the spike – giving you more flowers.
The third option is to cut off the whole spike from as close to the base as possible.
Though you can get more flowers from the old spike, they might not be as big or impressive as the first ones were.
This is why some orchid growers opt to cut off the whole spike as soon as the bloom is finished. But ultimately, it’s up to you.
When experiencing bud blast, I would highly recommend you to investigate why it happened.
Make sure it wasn’t caused by something you do on a regular base, like turning up the heat too much or keeping the window open on a cold day – you want to minimize doing things that can potentially cause bud blast.
Orchid flower spikes
In the orchid world the term ‘flower spike’ means the part where the flowers grow. In other plants this part might be referred to as a ‘stem’ or ‘branch’. But with orchids it’s called a ‘spike’, or ‘flower spike’ to be exact.
Flower spikes start to grow out from in-between the orchid leaves. They can grow pretty long, depending on what type of orchid you have.
The longest I know of is over 3 feet long! They take a few months to grow into the blooming stage, and the bloom can last from two months up to half a year, depending on the orchid and the environment it’s in.
Once the bloom is finished, the flower spike will start to die back. In the future your orchid will grow new spikes, sometimes even more than one at the same time.
Orchid care after bloom dies
So your orchid has finished blooming, and maybe you even got some more flowers from a secondary spike. It’s time to cut off the flower spike, because it has no function anymore.
Sterilize your scissors and cut the spike from as close to the base as possible.
Seal the cut mark with powdered cinnamon (the kind you use for baking too). Cinnamon helps close up the wound faster, preventing bacterial infections etc.
If you needed to repot your orchid before it bloomed, now it’s the perfect time to repot it.
Use this chance to inspect the roots properly; check for pests and trim off all the roots that are mushy or dehydrated.
Spray the roots with Hydrogen peroxide 3% and pot the plant in fresh potting medium.
It’s also important to disinfect the pot before use if you’re reusing the old pot.
Water the plant and put it back on its place. Your orchid will now start to focus its energy on growing new roots and leaves.
If you don’t fertilize on a regular base, you can now add some weak fertilizer in the irrigation water.
Remember, you don’t have to repot your plant after it has finished blooming. Do it only if you needed to do it anyway before the orchid spiked.
Whether you needed to repot due to broken down potting medium or overgrown roots, it’s always best to postpone it if a spike emerges – to avoid risk losing the blooms!
I hope this article has answered some of your questions regarding orchid flowers. The blooming stage is exciting and even rewarding. I still get so much joy every time I see a new spike emerge!
In the beginning of my orchid journey the flower spikes truly tested my patience – simply because it takes so long for them to reach the blooming stage! But by doing so, orchids have also taught me patience.
Good things are worth waiting for!
You need to allow the plant to determine the speed of things. Just give them enough time, love, and care, so they can ‘do their thing’ in peace and naturally.
Thank you for reading. And happy blooming, orchid friends!
Sharing is caring!
What Is Orchid Bud Blast – What Causes Orchids To Drop Buds
Despite not having brains or nervous systems to warn them of danger, scientific studies have shown, time and time again, that plants have defense mechanisms. Plants will drop leaves, buds or fruits to divert energy to the root and survival of the plant. Orchids are specifically sensitive plants. If you’ve found yourself wondering “why is my orchid losing buds,” continue reading.
What is Orchid Bud Blast?
When orchids drop their buds, it is commonly called bud blast. Likewise, when orchid’s drop their blooms it is called bloom blast. Both conditions are the orchid’s natural defense to something going wrong in their present growing environment. Orchids are very sensitive to environmental changes. In stressful situations, they drop buds to divert energy to the stems, foliage and roots.
Orchid bud drop can also be a sign of overwatering or under watering. Many orchids are sold as “just add ice” orchids, with the idea that by giving these orchid plants three ice cubes each week, they will not suffer from overwatering and root rots from soggy soil. However, orchids also absorb water from humidity in the air, so in dry environments orchid bud drop can be a result of under watering and low humidity.
What Causes Orchids to Drop Buds?
Orchid bud blast causes also include improper lighting, temperature fluctuations, fumes, or pest infestation.
Orchids cannot tolerate bright direct sunlight, but they also cannot tolerate very low light levels. Bud blast can also occur from extreme temperature fluctuations, such as drafts from open windows, air conditioning, heat vents or even the oven. Being indoors all winter, then being set outside in the spring can be stressful enough to an orchid to cause bud blast.
Orchids are very sensitive to pollutants. Chemical cleaners, smoke from cigarettes or cigars, fumes from painting, fireplaces and engine exhaust can lead to orchid bud drop. Even the ethylene gas given off from ripening fruit can affect an orchid.
Fumes or drift from herbicides, pesticides and fungicides can also lead an orchid to drop buds in self-defense. On the other hand, aphids, thrips and mealybugs are common pests of orchid plants. An infestation of pests can lead any plant to drop buds or leaves as well.
How to Make Orchids Rebloom
Orchids are beautiful and exotic flowers that are associated with fertility, virility and sexuality. They look great in home decor adding elegance and grace to an area. However, many people struggle with how to rebloom orchids.
How long your orchid lasts greatly depends on how well you take care of it. The most beautiful part of the orchid is its blossom and unfortunately it can be difficult to maintain. Caring for orchids can be a tedious process that often ends in frustration. The key is to remain patient and attentive to the flower’s needs throughout its entire development.
The steps to rebloom an orchid for the first time can be difficult to implement without first knowing the general care tips for an orchid. So, we have broken up this guide into two sections for you. The first centers on how to care for your orchid. The second discusses how to make orchids rebloom. We have also included a visual guide at the bottom with the six most important care tips. Happy growing!
How to Care for Your Orchid
Orchids are some of the most commonly-grown houseplants, but they require specific growing conditions. It is important to remember that orchids are very different from most plant species and so the amount of time spent caring for them should reflect that.
Like humans, the manner in which orchids mature is dependent on their environment. So, using caution when maintaining your plant’s habitat is essential to its healthy development. Once you master the basics of orchid care, they become very easy to grow. Here are some quick and easy ways to help your orchid bloom to its full potential:
- One of the most difficult parts of growing an orchid is providing it with the correct amount of sunlight. Unlike most plants, orchids need indirect sunlight to bloom.
- The best way to give your orchid the correct amount of light is to put your plant by east and west-facing windows. If you do not have any windows nearby, a fluorescent light will work too.
- If your plant develops black tips on its leaves, then it may be getting sunburned. If this happens, you should put your plant in a space where there is less direct sunlight.
- Orchids grow their best in moderate room temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can handle nighttime temperatures as low as 60 degrees and daytime temperatures as high as 85 degrees. However, this can vary depending on the type of orchid that you are nurturing.
- It is best to avoid extreme temperature changes or drafts, so we recommend keeping your orchid indoors.
- It is also important to keep your orchid away from any ripening fruits; they give off a gas that can be harmful to the plant.
- Most orchids should be watered every week or two. When your orchids soil begins to feel dry, that means it needs to be watered.
- The best way to water your orchid is to take it out of its container and put it in a plastic grower’s pot.
- Next, put your orchid under a slow-running tap for 10 to 15 seconds. As you are watering, wet each side of the plant, but avoid the crown and leaves. You can also water your orchid using ice cubes.
- Before putting your orchid back in its original pot, let it drip-dry for five to 10 minutes so that the plant is not sitting in water.
- When your orchid’s soil begins to feel almost dry, it is time to repeat the process.
Once your orchid has stopped blooming, it will enter a stage called dormancy. It may seem like your plant is dead at first, but it is not. This dormancy stage is a resting period where the plant has time to replace nutrients that were dispensed during the blooming process. This dormancy stage usually lasts about six to nine months. After that, your orchid will have the energy to rebloom again.
However, sometimes orchids need help with this process and require even more attention than they did before. With the right amount of tender love and care, you can get your orchid to rebloom.
Here are three easy steps to make your orchid rebloom:
- Once your orchid enters the dormancy phase and stops blooming, begin fertilizing it. Most orchids will need a balanced houseplant fertilizer (20-20-20). This should be done monthly or weekly depending on the type of orchid that you have.
- Move your orchid to a cooler area where the temperatures are between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep your orchid in indirect sunlight at all times. Do this until a new flower spike emerges.
- Once a flower spike has emerged, give it a couple months for the plant to reach about 5’’. Once this happens, it is time to start supporting your spike! You can do this with a loose tie and a stake. If a couple months pass and you do not see a flower start to emerge, try moving your orchid to a different location. It might not be getting the right temperature or indirect sunlight that it needs.
Once your orchid has started to rebloom, your work is not done! Continue to water and care for your orchid like you normally would and its bloom should last between 30-45 days. If you are lucky, your orchid may be able to bloom twice a year!
Eight Reasons Your Orchid is Not Blooming
Sometimes, even when you give your orchid all the time and care that it needs, it still may not bloom. Here is a list of eight reasons your orchid may not be blooming:
1) Not enough light
Orchids should be placed in areas with indirect sunlight. If you plan on putting your orchid somewhere where this is not possible, such as a bedside table or home office, we recommend investing in a grow light.
2) Too much light
Unlike most plants, orchids will die when exposed to too much sun. Direct sunlight will result in the orchid’s leaves becoming sunburned. Make sure your orchid is placed in an area that receives indirect sunlight. If you are planning on using a grow light, set timers to replicate the natural night and daylight process.
Orchids need to be in temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and cannot handle drastic weather changes. For this reason, we recommend keeping your orchid indoors at all times.
If your orchid is in a sterile inorganic potting mix, it may not be getting all the nutrients that it needs. In order to give your orchid the nutrient boost that it requires, we recommend purchasing an urea-free fertilizer.
When orchids outgrow their containers, their roots can suffocate from lack of proper ventilation. In order to tell whether or not your orchid needs to be repotted, pay attention to your orchid’s roots rather than its foliage. If the roots look brown or are creeping out of the container, it is time to repot.
Unlike most garden flowers, orchids bloom their best in the fall. So, you are going to have to pay a lot more attention to your orchid when trying to bloom it in the summer.
7) Too much water
Over-watering your orchid is the number one reason why it may not be blooming. When you notice your orchid’s leaves wilting or its roots turning brown, this means that it is receiving too much water. If this happens, let the plant dry for about a week before watering again.
8) Too little water
In the same way that over-watering your orchid can negatively affect its growth, under-watering it can do the same. If your orchid’s leaves are looking dry, make sure to water the plant and give it the proper attention that it needs.
Basic Orchid Care In Six Easy Steps
Before you become too overwhelmed with the information we have given you, take a deep breath and review the basics. To make things easier we have created a visual guide of the six most important care tips for you to remember. Once you have these down, getting your orchid to bloom and rebloom should come at ease!
www.orchidsmadeeasy.com I www.thespruce.com I www.wikihow.com/Get-Orchids-to-Bloom I
www.justaddiceorchids.com I www.gardeningknowhow.com I www.matsuinursery.com
Orchid Bloom Loss: What’s Normal and What’s Not
New orchid owners are often shocked to find that, despite following care directions to a T, their orchid blooms begin to wilt and fall off. In most cases, this is a normal part of the Phalaenopsis orchid lifecycle. The fallen blooms merely signal that your orchid has reached the end of its blooming cycle and it’s now storing up energy to rebloom.
However, sometimes bloom loss can be indicative of a bigger problem in the health of your orchid. How can you tell the difference between natural bloom loss and something more concerning? Let’s explore.
- A natural orchid cycle typically sees the growth of leaves in summer and early fall, followed by a bloom spike in late fall or early winter, then blooming in early spring. Some orchids will bloom for several months before the blooms wilt and fall off.
- Since Just Add Ice® Orchids are produced year round, your blooming cycle might not follow this exact pattern. Instead, you can expect your orchid to bloom for up to three months after your purchase before wilting occurs.
- If the blooms on your orchid have a typical lifespan and then slowly wilt and fall off, you have nothing to worry about. Trim back the bloom spikes to an inch above the node past the last bloom and continue your care regimen and you’ll likely see more blooms in just a few months.
What’s Not Normal
- If the buds of your orchid suddenly fall off before sprouting into blooms, your orchid is probably suffering from bud blast. This is likely preceded by the buds becoming either dry and brittle or softening.
- A similar reaction can happen to your orchid after it has already bloomed, called bloom blast. In this case, the blooms will prematurely dry up and fall off, often quite suddenly.
What Can You Do?
Bud or bloom blast is almost always caused by a traumatic change in environment for your orchid. This might be brought on by sudden temperature or humidity change or by improper hydration. Check to make sure your orchid isn’t near a vent when your AC kicks on for the summer and stick to your watering regime.
Another cause of bud blast could be the proximity of your orchid to fruit that emits ethylene gas as it ripens, so avoid placing your orchid near your fruit bowl.
Bud blast does not have to be a death sentence for your orchid. By addressing the cause of the problem and creating a healthier environment for your orchid, you’ll be enjoying new buds and blooms in no time.
For more tips on keeping your orchid healthy, see this helpful guide.
Artificial orchids can look very convincing, like this one from M&S, but real ones are even better.
Plant lovers, I have a confession to make. My first orchid was a fake.
It still is, in fact: it never died, and it sits, in all its lilac artificialness, on my bedroom window in my parents’ house. It’s a realistic fake, though, which I begged my mum to buy for me when I was 13. It’s potted in a clear, square vase with pebbles around it. Very Zen. Besides, it’s lasted 15 years, which is more than I can say for my real orchids.
When I moved into my new flat last year, I picked up a pale purple phalaenopsis orchid for about £5 from Ikea, chose a simple white ceramic pot for it, and placed it on my white glossy sideboard next to a turquoise vase with a cherry blossom trail on it. Again, very Zen.
It did marvellously and reflowered twice. So I bought another one, in a deeper, velvety shade of purple.
But it was disastrous: tall, spindly, and slightly menacing. Every night when I came home from work, I found the floor strewn with decaying flower heads. The stem slowly turned an unhealthy shade of yellow. It was dead within a fortnight.
A month ago, I tried again. This time, I chose a very pretty white phalaenopsis pinned all the way round into an arch. It, too, died. Within a week the fleshy leaves started to whither and, weirdly, turn a bit mushy.
Time to call in the experts. What was I doing wrong?
“It’s very hard to kill an orchid!” said a spokeswoman from the Flowers and Plants Association, making me out to be some sort of orchid murderer.
But I am not alone. “Orchids have a reputation for being a challenge to look after,” says Simon Richards, a product developer for flowers and plants at Marks & Spencer, who sympathises greatly with my orchid ordeal. “They are tropical plants, and it’s hard to replicate those conditions at home.”
Richards says a good orchid, raised in the right conditions (room temperature, not less than 16.5C) should last eight weeks with flowers, after which the blooms will slowly start dropping off (perfectly naturally) from the bottom up. It will eventually re-flower.
Like most pretty things, they are a little high-maintenance and a bit picky: they like light, but only north-facing; they hate draughts; and they only like soft water. Never, ever cut the aerial roots off (the slightly greying roots curling around the top – apparently some people don’t like the look of them), and never, ever remove them from the original plastic pots they’ve been rooted in.
“If you live in a hard water area, use cooled boiled water from the kettle,” says Richards. “Either water them once a week with an eggcup-sized amount of soft water, or stand your orchid in a bucket and drench completely with soft water to replicate a tropical rain shower – let it soak for a minute in enough water to cover the compost. But don’t let any water sit in the area where the leaves cross over .”
While the flowers are in bloom, keep the stems pinned to the sticks they are supplied with for support.
Every node (the little triangular etch) on the stem is a potential new bloom. Once all the flowers fall off, trim the stem all the way down, just above the very lowest node, and cut diagonally. “This will help to stimulate new growth, hopefully a new flower stem,” says Richards.
It’s ideal to put cut-down orchids in a conservatory or greenhouse to encourage reflowering; failing that, a north-facing windowsill will do. Keep watering weekly, and you should see a new stem coming through. And that, says Richards, is that.
“Some people just have a knack for reflowering,” he says, although I’m not sure I really believe him. My Ikea iris is in the process of reflowering yet again, and I’m sure it isn’t down to my “knack” at all. Still, maybe there’s hope for this former faker yet.
Here’s the deal: the buds are the most fragile part of the plant and most susceptible to damage. I’ve purchased orchids and by the time I’ve come home, my buds have been blasted. Granted it was a 3-hour drive home and the orchids did not appreciate it.
Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. to learn more.
Changes in Watering Amount and Frequency Can Abort Buds
Over and under-watering can cause bud blast. To prevent the orchid buds from withering, this is especially true for Phalaenopsis orchids, try to prevent the orchid from sitting in water as well as from getting too dry. Additionally, keeping to a regular watering schedule will help the buds to develop normally.
Orchids are Sensitive to Air Pollution
When bringing home an orchid, do what you can to protect it from exhaust fumes. Don’t let your orchid ride in the trunk. To avoid exhaust fumes turn your car’s air system to recirculate. Once at home a heating source that emits air pollution will cause bud blast.
Insufficient Light Can Lead to Bud Loss
Lack of sufficient light can cause the buds to drop. Try moving your orchid closer to the window. By the same token, avoid setting an orchid too near a lamp or other bulb that puts off a lot of heat.
Frequent Fluctuations in Temperature Can Damage Orchid Buds
Check to see if your orchid is in a place where there may be extreme changes in temperature. Being too near heating and cooling systems is not a good idea. Check for drafts near your orchid. Proximity to exterior doors could pose a threat if you live in an area of extreme hot or cold temperatures.
Environmental Changes Can Cause Trauma to Buds
A change in the environment may trigger bud blast. If your orchid was accustomed to a paradisaical greenhouse and must now acclimate to your windowsill, it may take some time, but it should adjust. When I brought home some Cattleyas I lost just about every bud. Now though, they are doing fine and in the bud.
TIP: Even moving orchids from room to room may trigger bud blast. Before moving your orchid to enjoy the flowers, make sure that the bud have opened.
How to Prevent Bud Blast:
Remember the basics:
- Changes in watering frequency and amount can abort buds
- Orchids are sensitive to pollutants
- Lack of light can lead to bud blast
- Frequent fluctuations in temperature can damage orchid buds
- Environmental changes can cause trauma to buds
Sometimes you’ll never know why an orchid suddenly loses its buds. Just do the best you can to can for your orchid. Learn what the best care practices are for your particular orchid, then do what you can to provide the best care possible.
Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids, are prone to bud blast, though other orchid varieties certainly may loose their buds. If your Phalaneopsis has lost its buds, simply cut it back to a fresh node, or notch along the stem and a new flower spike may begin to grow. Once an orchid is in full flower and no buds remain, you can place this orchid in a less than ideal location.
Don’t Give Up
Whatever you do, keep trying. Orchids are resilient and can bounce back from environmental disruption. Next time, those buds will follow through with flowers!