Why are my orchid blooms shriveling and falling off BEFORE they bloom?
A few days ago my orchid that I repotted last year was about to bloom. It had four little buds and they were growing super fast. The first bloom opened halfway and quickly died. And then the next bud turned yellow/shriveled up and FELL OFF! This process is called, “bud blast.”
Bud blast IS anytime a developing orchid bud starts to look shrunken, wilted and/or dry. Bud blast is NOT when an already bloomed flower naturally falls off. Bud blast is extremely frustrating because you are waiting so patiently for your bud to open and then it turns yellow and/or wilted and then falls off. So why does this happen?
If you experience bud blast, in an orchid you just bought, this is probably not a result of anything you’re doing. The most commons trigger of bud blast is a change in environment. Orchids are naturally grown in a jungle like environment. This environment is reproduced in green houses and then shipped to stores. This leads to water, air temperature and light change. This shock of changing their environment can be upsetting to them.
As your new orchid is adjusting to its new environment it may drop some of its buds. This has happened to me quite a few times. Bringing a plant home from a nursery or greenhouse is a MAJOR change in environment. Even the car ride home, if the car is really hot or cold, may shock your orchid. And just think of the massive change in environment if you had an orchid shipped to you!
Unfortunately once bud blast begins to happen, there is little you can do for that single bud. It can’t be revived but you can stop the rest of your orchid buds from experiencing bud blast by figuring out what is causing bud blast on your plant and then adjusting their environment (And don’t be concerned about your whole orchid dying…it’s just the bloom(s)…not the whole orchid).
There are other reasons why your orchids may experience bud blast. Any major change in the orchid’s environment can shock your orchid like moving orchids around your house. For instance let’s say you want to change windows and the new window is over a heat vent or near a really drafty cold window, this may shock them. Orchids are pretty durable but they don’t like major changes in air temperature, light and water. You must stay consistent in where you place them. Find a good spot and keep them there.
Here are the most common reasons for bud blast…. outside of bringing them home.
1. Temperature Change
* Too hot: Your orchid may get too hot in direct sunlight. It also may get too hot if it is placed close to a heating vent. Or left in hot car.
* Too cool: There may be a sudden drop in temperature that makes the buds experience “frost.” For example being too close to a drafty window or too close to an air conditioning vent. Or left in a cold car.
* Too much: orchids can get too much light. They need dappled shade and can experience “sunburn” in direct sunlight. A good way to tell this is to feel their leaves and if they are warm to the touch, they are in too direct of light.
* Too little: orchids need light. Many people keep orchids in offices or places in their house where there is no natural sunlight…this will stunt their growth.
* Not enough: If an orchid has been too dry between watering it will withdraw moisture from the buds killing them.
* Too much: The worst thing you can do is give an orchid too much water. Orchids are not normal house plants.
4. Dry air, particularly from nearby air conditioners or heating vents. This follows up on the temperature point but what I mean here is that orchids NEED humidity. Click on my post, “How to Make Humidity Trays.”
5. Being too close to fruit or other ripening plant matter – as plants age (and decay) they release ethylene gas, which can cause the nearby orchid blooms to age and decay as well, or just shrivel. So be careful with orchids in your kitchen.
6. Repotting an orchid causes shock. Doing it while in bloom can cause bud blast because the orchids is getting use to the new environment. I rarely repot an orchid while in bloom unless it’s suffering as shown HERE.
If you are having trouble with your orchid not blooming at all, please click on my post “Why Won’t My Orchid Bloom.”
Hope that Helps,
Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at email@example.com with pictures of your orchid.