A fast shift in temperature or humidity causes orchid blooms and flower buds to fall off. Low humidity, unexpected temperature changes, and dry air from air conditioners are the main causes of orchid flowers and buds falling off. Indoor heating in the winter also contributes to this problem.
It should be noted that as part of their natural cycle, orchids naturally lose their blossoms after 6–10 weeks.
Most frequent causes of orchids losing flowers or forming flower buds:
|Orchid flower and flower bud reasons for dropping off||Explanation:|
|6–8 weeks later, flowers wilt:||The majority of orchids have flowers that, under ideal circumstances, last 6–8 weeks before fading.|
|Variable temperatures:||The ideal temperature range for orchids is between 61°F and 66°F (16°C to 19°C) during the day and between 66°F and 86°F (19°C to 30°C) at night. The orchids’ flowers wilt if the temperature varies greatly from their normal range.|
|reduced humidity||Phalaenopsis or “Moth” orchids, which are commonly grown as houseplants, need a humidity level of at least 30% but ideally 40% or more. The orchids dry out and the flowers and flower buds fall off in an environment with insufficient humidity.|
|Drought Pressure||When in bloom or when the flower bud is forming, orchids should receive a thorough soak-watering every seven days. In order to save water, underwatering causes orchids to dry out and lose their blossoms.|
|Overwatering:||The roots of orchids may wither and the flowers may fall off if the potting medium is overwatered or if the medium itself retains moisture for too long.|
|Repotting when it’s not necessary:||Repottering orchids is best done in the spring or summer, when they are not in bloom. Repotting causes the roots to temporarily extract moisture from the potting material less effectively, which causes the blooms and flower buds to fall off.|
Continue reading to find out why orchids lose their blossoms and how you can stop it from happening to your orchids.
Table of Contents
1. Orchid Flowers Fall Off Naturally After 6-10 Weeks
The most common houseplant orchids, Phalaenopsis, commonly called “moth” orchids, typically bloom only once a year (although they can flower more frequently under ideal conditions), and as long as the conditions are right, the blooms typically endure 6 to 10 weeks.
Although moth orchids can bloom at any time of the year, fresh flower spikes usually develop during the colder Winter months, and the blooms are then displayed during the Spring.
In order for orchids to flower in their natural habitat in time to display flowers for spring and summer, orchids need a cold nighttime temperature.
As a result of the orchid’s response to the varying levels of light and temperature with each season, blossoms can fall off after 6 to 10 weeks. This is a typical occurrence for orchids and is not always a symptom of stress.
Due of orchids’ inability to reproduce flowers on the same stem, prune the flower spike back to a height of half an inch above a developing node.
This encourages the orchid to develop a fresh flower spike from which to produce additional flower displays. Watch the excellent YouTube video below for details on how to achieve this:
(Read my post, Why is my orchid not blooming? if your orchid is not in bloom.) for advice on how to encourage more blossoms).
If the stem (also known as a flower spike) becomes yellow and dried after the flowers have fallen off, cut the stalk back to the orchid’s base. Read my article about the yellowing orchid stem.
2. Fluctuation in Temperature- Orchids Flowers and Buds Dropping
A abrupt change in temperature that is outside of the orchid’s typical temperature range is one of the most frequent causes of orchid blooms and flower buds falling. This frequently occurs because wintertime inside heating suddenly raises the temperature, which kills the flowers.
Orchids can survive at temperatures between 66 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for most indoor settings. But orchids usually adapt to the particular environmental circumstances.
Outside of the orchid’s typical temperature range, a quick temperature shift (hot or cold) can stress an orchid to the point where it drops all of its blooms or the flower buds before they have opened.
The following factors are the most frequent causes of sudden temperature changes that harm orchids:
- the climate control.
- sources of heat such heaters, forced air, and fireplaces.
- temperature changes outside that may have an impact on orchids in conservatories or on window sills.
In order to mirror the natural temperature cycle in their natural environment, orchids likewise require a cooler temperature at night than during the day.
In most homes, the temperature rises at night (especially in the winter when interior heating is on), which is not what the orchid prefers.
Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) prefer a nighttime temperature range of 16–19°C (61–66°F). Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a location in the home that’s distant from draughts and direct heat sources.
Place your orchid a little bit away from a cold window sill because the flowers may drop if the leaves or flowers come into contact with the window at night.
The orchid blossoms should remain on the plant for 6–8 weeks at stable conditions before dying.
3. Low Humidity Causes Orchid Flower and Buds to Drop
Although orchids are tropical plants, the common Phalaenopsis (‘Moth’) orchid has been developed such that it can survive slightly lower levels of humidity than its natural environment, which is around 30%. Nevertheless, the orchid still needs more humidity than the air in most homes.
Homes’ relative humidity can vary quite wildly for a variety of causes, including:
- Draughts, forced air, air conditioning air currents, and conventional air currents brought on by heat sources.
- Significantly less humidity is present indoors thanks to central heating or fireplaces.
One of the first indicators of low humidity stress on an orchid is the loss of blooms, but low humidity also dehydrates the orchid’s leaves, aerial roots, and flowers, causing the leaves to droop or become brown. This is a sign of drought stress.
How to Fix It
By generating a humid microclimate that reduces drought stress and fosters favorable conditions for orchid flowers to endure longer, it is necessary to recreate the orchid’s preferred higher levels of humidity from its natural environment in the home in order to prevent orchid flowers from dropping.
Because these conditions go against nature, keep the orchid away from drafts, air currents, and heat sources.
In your home, you can produce a humid microclimate in three ways:
- Every day, mist the orchid’s roots and flowering leaves.
- Put the orchid in a tray of water that has been filled with pebbles. This will keep the bottom of the orchid’s pot above the waterline, allowing moisture to drain after watering to prevent root rot.
- Use a humidifier for indoor plants that allows you to precisely adjust the humidity level to the orchid’s optimum range.
I suggest misting the leaves or setting the orchid in a tray of water with stones for the majority of homes (the water evaporates around the orchid which increases the humidity).
However, a plant humidifier (available at garden shops and on Amazon) is the best choice if you live in an especially arid region because it is extremely effective at recreating the ideal circumstances for orchids.
The orchid can hold its blossoms for a longer period of time if it is in a more ideally humid environment, and any budding flower buds can emerge without running a higher chance of dropping off.
4. Drought Stress Causes Flowers and Flower Buds to Drop
Low humidity and insufficient watering can cause orchids to endure drought stress, which causes them to lose their flowers and flower buds. Low humidity dehydrates the leaves, roots, and flowers, and if the potting soil entirely dries out, the flowers and flower buds fall off.
When in bloom or while the flower buds are growing, orchids need at least 40% humidity and should be watered at least once a week.
When an orchid experiences drought stress, its leaves become yellow and look to be wilting.
After a time of drought stress, the flowers disappear fairly rapidly because the orchid cannot support them and drops the flowers to conserve its resources and maximize its chances of immediate survival.
Always give orchids a good soak to ensure that all of the potting material is evenly saturated and that any surplus water drains through the drainage holes in the base.
As an alternative technique of watering, you can submerge the orchid’s pot in a basin of water for a short while. This will effectively ensure that the potting material is evenly moist.
The top inch or two of the potting material only becomes moist when the orchid is watered too little, and the water does not effectively reach the roots where it is needed.
This is presuming that the orchid is positioned in a pine bark-based potting media designed especially for orchids, as this mimics the growing conditions of the plant’s natural habitat and has an areaeted stricture.
5. Watering Too Often- Orchid Dropping Flowers
Overwatering can damage orchid roots because it prevents oxygen from getting to the potting soil, which might hinder the orchid’s capacity to absorb moisture and nutrients. As a result, the blooms and flower buds fall off and the roots begin to die.
In order to conserve resources and protect vital plant tissue, such as the remaining roots, leaves, and pseudo-bulbs, which frequently turn yellow in response to overwatering, orchids will lose their blooms and flower buds if their roots are dying.
During the spring and summer, orchids normally need watering once every seven days, and once every ten days during the winter (read my article, how to water orchids to learn how often to water orchids at different times of the year).
Between watering sessions, the top inch or so of the orchids’ potting media should somewhat droop.
Overwatering is the likely reason of the orchid losing its blossoms if you water it more frequently than once per week.
In addition to watering, choosing the proper potting medium is crucial to ensuring that your orchid has the ideal moisture balance.
The finest potting soils for orchids are those based on pine because they mimic the well-draining, aerated conditions that orchids naturally thrive in.
Orchids are epiphytic plants, meaning they grow in trees rather than the ground. If they are put in potting soil, which prevents oxygen from reaching the roots and holds too much water, the orchid will quickly die and the flowers will fall off.
(View my article on how to save a dead orchid.)
Every two to three years, repot your orchid because when the moss or pine bark decomposes, it will retain too much moisture and less oxygen.
6. Transplant Shock- Orchids Flowers Falling off
Orchids should be replanted every two to three years since the potting medium decomposes with time, retaining too much moisture and reducing the amount of oxygen surrounding the roots of the plant. However, replanting shouldn’t be done when the plant is in bloom or while the flower buds are forming.
As flowers and flower buds need a lot of energy and resources from the plant, if the orchid is under any form of stress when it is producing its flower or the flower buds, it prioritizes survival and drops any flower buds.
When plants are repotted, their roots are frequently disrupted from their familiar potting mix and are unable to adequately absorb water, which causes stress.
Repotting orchids in pine bark-based potting mediums is also recommended since they have the ideal structure to provide the right amount of moisture for orchid growth.
When an orchid is replanted into a moss-based potting media, the well-draining pine bark and the relatively greater moisture retention moss frequently cause the flowers to fall off and the roots to shrivel up.
The optimal time to repot orchids is in the spring or fall after they have flowered, while it is possible to do it at any time of the year.
(Read my article on the finest orchid pots.)
- Usually, too high of a temperature or too low of a humidity level causes orchid blossoms to wilt. Tropical plants called orchids demand high humidity and temperatures between 61 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too hot or the air is too dry from interior heating or air conditioning, orchids lose their blossoms.
- If there is a sudden shift in temperature and humidity, or if the orchid is underwatered or overwatered, the flower buds will fall off. When the potting material fully dries out in between waterings, orchids become stressed and lose their flower buds.
- In the event that the potting soil fully dries out, orchid blossoms fall off. The orchid strives to preserve moisture by dropping its blossoms if it is not watered frequently enough or too sparingly. When in bloom, water orchids every 7 days to keep the blossoms from falling off.
- If orchids are watered too frequently, their blossoms may fall off. The roots are unable to carry moisture and nutrients around the plant to sustain the display of flowers if the potting medium is persistently damp, which prevents oxygen from reaching the area around the roots and causes the flowers to fall off.
- If an orchid is replanted while it is in bloom, the blossoms will fall off. Repotting disrupts the existing root structure of the orchid and may momentarily impair its ability to adequately absorb water. Flowers should droop after repotting if the roots are unable to efficiently absorb water to assist the orchids conserve their resources.
- Flowers on orchids usually last 6 to 10 weeks before falling off. This is a typical aspect of the orchid’s annual cycle and is not a sign that something is amiss with the plant.
Do orchids grow back after the flowers fall off?
After the flowers fall off, orchids regenerate and bloom once again. For them to blossom again and again, all you need to do is take good care of them.
How do I know if my orchid will rebloom?
You’ll notice something that resembles a root growing from the medium when your orchid is getting ready to rebloom. The growth will resemble a mitten at its tip. Your new growth will continue to have a rounded edge if it is a root.
How do you get an orchid to bloom again?
Mary comments, “In your house, you don’t usually experience huge drops; the thermostat is usually set to a consistent 68 degrees.” As a result, place your orchid in a room with a window that gets a little chilly. The heat will decrease as the sun sets, and the cold will encourage it to bloom once more.
How long does it take for an orchid to rebloom?
Your plant may initially appear to be dead, however this is not the case. The plant has time to replenish nutrients lost throughout the flowering process during this dormant state, which is a period of relaxation. Normally, this dormant stage lasts between six and nine months. Your orchid will then have the vitality to bloom once more.
What do you do when all the flowers fall off your orchid?
You have three options when the orchid’s blooms have fallen off: leave the flower spike (or stem) alone, trim it down to a node, or cut it off completely. Clip the flower spike off at the plant’s root end to remove it completely. If the current stem begins to turn brown or yellow, this is unquestionably the course to follow.