Orchid Blooms: Bud Blast

Why are my orchid blooms shriveling and falling off BEFORE they bloom?

updated 3/2/17

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.”

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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 wiltedΒ 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 environment. This environment is reproduced, here in the states, in green houses and the 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…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.

2. Light

* 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.

3. Water:

* 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. Click on my post, “How to water Orchids.”

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 while in bloom can cause bud blast because the orchids is getting use to the new environment.

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,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

93 Comments on “Orchid Blooms: Bud Blast

  1. Hi, I am biologist and working on orchids in botanics also growing them for 14 years and this is really interesting question. From my personal experience buds usually drops when changes are severe. Extremely hot or cold,wet or dry,weather changes(too many rains)…Fertilizers burn leaves and root and at the and buds so I wouldn’t accuse them first.My first and oldest orchid is spotted phalaenopsis 16 years old (at my place for 14y).That plant is on south-western window with some paphs , pasychopsis and african violets. They love Sun but not in summer afternoon when burns(I protect them those days).Unhappy or bad cared plants do not produce flower buds because they are keeping energy to survive.So I wouldn’t say that you are doing something wrong when buds die.
    Paphiopedilums are real pain in the ***.They are my favourites I love them but one is my biggest problem.Paphiopedilum sukhakulli’s first flower was with mutation-one lateral petal was fused with a lip.Every year it produce young plant and flower bud is dry or dead before rising from the leaf.Nex to dry bud starts to grow another one and die before it form a spike or big bud.It is in the genes.Sometimes orchids we are buying are with mutation and that is a problem.Maybe someone has the same problem? My plant is healthy and beautiful but it can’t flower.

      • Thank you. I would like to add something about Phalaenopsis species. All of them (in the store or garden centre) with fractal look a like colours or those with large beautiful flowers are DORITAENOPSIS (hybrides -Doritis x Phalaenopsis) and you’ll notice that their flowers last shorter and buds are more sensitive to weather or care changes.Unfortunatelly, the most magnificent roses are without fragrance so the most beautiful orchids are complex hybrids.All crossings are done to give us amazing flower but plants are fragile. Phal.root is the best for analizing them.Some of them have thick root but some of them really thin and it’s Ok because they can be more Doritis than Phalaenopsis.Phalaenopsis flowers can last 90-120days and they are stronger.

  2. Hello! I just discovered your website and I am super excited to embark on the journey of caring for an Orchid. Last week I was given a beautiful Phal Orchid from one of my clients. It’s in a small, maybe 2″ plastic pot and was set in a 3 or 4″ “clay-look” plastic pot. All of the flowers have bloomed beautifully. It seems overall healthy and the roots and the leaves all look good, even all of the flowers that have bloomed and I see new buds are sprouting. However, I noticed earlier this week that 6 of the buds went into bud blast and that’s when I began my frantic research to find out how I should be treating it. I’ve always been terrified of caring for Orchids of all the flowering plants because I’ve heard the myth of how “sensitive and hard to grow” they are. But this is my chance to learn the real deal!

    One of my first concerns after everything I have learned so far, is that my office may not be the ideal location. I am in a nice size office that has no windows, but plenty of artificial light. There is no vent directly above it, but when the door to my office is open cold drafts do blow in, cold enough to make me want to put on a sweater. When I close the office door it warms up significantly, however I can’t keep my door closed all day, but I have sort of propped it open halfway so as not to get so much of a draft. The plant is currently sitting on my desk, in the pots that it came in, in addition to a large mug (also gifted to me by another client) that I sat the plant in since both have drainage holes and I had to water the plant because it’s medium seemed dry. The pots do not reach the base of the mug because of the way the mug is shaped so it’s not sitting in any water. So as far as location, I’m worried that continually cold/warm cycle that i have in my office will just make the plant miserable, and also the fact that the air may be dry due to the air conditioning. Can the Orchid be placed near my actual computer which generates a little heat? If I moved it there it would be directly under a light but also right in front of my face which will make me smile. Maybe it would also help to have a humidity base?

    Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated. Thank you for making such a beautiful, informative blog space! πŸ™‚

    • Hi,

      Orchids do need a consistent temperature and drafty spots can confuse them. This also can be a cause for bud blast.

      If there is no natural light and the office is that cold then hot I would bring it home. I would place near a shady window at your house and let it settle in to a consistent temperature and location.

      Placing near your computer wouldn’t solve the problem because I doubt 1. The computer is on at night. 2. Doesn’t fix the the continual draft issue.

      Hope that helps,

      Hannah

  3. Hello from Australia,
    I love your website, so helpful and interesting, and I’ve shared it with many friends. I searched on here today because i have been nurturing an orchid I received as a gift (in our summertime). It finished flowering some time back and after coming to understand (through your page) an orchid’s cycle I cut the stem back and have been looking after it’s green leaves and roots successfully. Then to my surprise and delight it produced another flower stem a couple of months ago (in our winter time). All was going well with four or five buds developing. Then I noticed the buds had shrivelled and have all now fallen off. Because spring, and warmer temps are here now I did recently open the window for a while, where it sits. I’m thinking that perhaps it did not like the draught (sheesh……how fussy can you get! πŸ˜ƒ) as I have not altered any other factors (moving, watering etc)
    My question really, is should I now cut the stem back close to it’s base, or near a nodule in the hope it might sprout another shoot?
    Thanks
    Lois

    • Hi,

      If all the buds are shriveled then yes you can cut it back. It may send another shoot up. If they are shriveled up high and you want to cut it back to the next node the you can do that as well,

      Hannah

      • Thanks so much. I was so disappointed, but fingers crossed it will surprise me again with a new shoot – and better luck next time.

  4. Thanks Hannah! I’ve had my first orchid since 3 weeks now and can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve posted here. Each of your posts is so valuable and full of insights.

  5. Hi! I have green lady slippers and I think they might have gotten shocked! When I first got them about 4 months ago, they were green and stayed green for about 2 months. Then all of a sudden one day (I believe after moving it from the dinner table to the window and back), the head that looked like a snapper just turned black (i.e. dark brown). A few weeks ago, I just pulled off the head because it was like a shriveled leaf. A few days after the stem also turned black. However, the leaves are a gorgeous green. I still give it 1-2 ice cubes per week, but I don’t know if I should cut off the stem or what to or not to do. It’s by a window, is that too cold? If so, should I move it and shock it… or leave it because it’s used to it? Anyway, not sure if my plant is alive or dead. I have however kept it in the same pot since I bought it (from Wegmans). Your advice would be helpful! This is my first orchid!

  6. I have new buds! Kept it in a window with the curtains closed so I’m not tempted to mess with it. But now I’m not sure if I should keep it there. We’re still having a few cold spells. Should I move it or just leave it alone? It’s been so long since I’ve seen it flower.

  7. very interesting about the ethylene!
    I have my orchid a phal in my bedroom. No fruits or fruit peels is allowed here but I got a basile plant in a small pot yesterday and today found one of the flowers completely dried like a paper and falled apart. Itseems too fast to me but however maybe basile plants give off something too?

      • I did mve the basile plan away. I don’t think its what affecting my orchid because in 5 days it has now lost 2 of its 20 ich flowers.

        What happen is I don’t even detect the dry flower before I find it all dryed up and falling apart at mornings. They are paper dry you know as dry as autumn leaves gets when its cycle is over? And not mushy or anything.

        The orchid seems fine other wise, the grean leaves are a bit droopy because I wanted the roots to really dry out. And we have central heating and maybe the plant is not use to dry humidless air so dunno.

        How ever do you think its the natural cycle in work here? Flowers that dries out one by one?

      • Orchid blooms typically last about a few month or so if it’s not just store bought. How long have you had it?

        Hannah

  8. What a fab blog – have read up on all sorts, thank you!

    My orchid definitely has bud blast. I bought it a year ago, so it is not because it was shocked before I bought it. It is in the sitting room, not in direct sunlight but has seemed to thrive all year. Three buds have shrivelled and dropped and I am not sure why.

    It has got cold here in the UK, but I have not moved the orchid since I bought it. I wonder if the room is too warm with the central heating which has been on for a few weeks now. What is the timeframe between ‘the shock’ and bud blast developing as a few weeks ago the first bud shrivelled and dropped. The room is quite humid – we always have condensation on the window, so I would have thought these would be good conditions for the orchid, so I can’t understand why it would be anything to do with the central heating, as it was fine last year.

    • Hmmmm…. Is there a heat source directly over it that may be blowing warm air on it?

      Is it potted in a pot with drainage holes?

      How much and how often do you water it?

      You can always send me a picture at myfirstorchid@gmail.com and I can take a look.

      If you do please copy you questions and answers to that email.

      Hannah

      • Hi Hannah, I wanted to update you on this orchid. I followed your advice: I took it out of its solid pot so the roots could get light, moved it to a draught-free window sill that was out of direct sunlight.

        Twelve months on the orchid is thriving! It is in full flower and is absolutely beautiful. A relative has now passed me theirs which is in a very sorry state, so I might be looking for advice on that too!

        Thank you so much for your input!

      • Hi , I emailed you a few days ago in response – I wondered if you got it?

      • Thank you very much, just received your email. I will re-pot my orchid and see how it does.

  9. Hi Hannah!

    What an amazing font of knowledge your site is!!

    Thank you so much for helping and caring about our orchids πŸ™‚

    I live in Sweden, and my first orchid was thriving in the vestibule (light from SE & NE) and buds started forming in October just as it got cold. When the night temp dropped to 9C/48F I moved it inside (light from S & W, temp 21C/70C).

    The result [insert dramatic music]….Bud blast!!!

    My question is this: should I leave the orchid where it is now, or move it back into the vestibule?

    (now over winter the temp there can go down to 3C/37F. Plus over winter we have very few daylight hours).

    I understand from your previous posts that I should pick a spot, and leave it there.

    I would be so grateful if you could please advise me here?

    Many thanks again, and have a lovely Wednesday!! πŸ™‚
    Mary-Rose

  10. Hello!

    I have been reading your site religioiusly. I’ve always thought I had a brown thumb, and I’ve been given multiple orchids over the years which I have managed to kill immediately. Ever optimistic, I bought one for my office and following all the advice here (I must have read each post twice!), he’s happy and thriving!

    Then I bought one for my home. Uh oh. He (a Phal) is on a bakers rack about a foot from a north facing window in my kitchen. He is going through clear bud blast now, and as I just placed him in his brand new humidity tray (thanks for the tip!), I noticed the moss he came in is just disgusting, and not draining water well.

    Being that he’s already in bud blast, would the best course of action be to repot him in fresh mix now for his overall health, or wait until all of the blasted-buds fall off? The bloom spike itself is still hardy and dark green, but all of the stems of the flowers and buds are quite faded and I don’t expect the blooms/buds to last much longer.

    Should I wait till all the blooms and buds are gone or give him fresh mix now?

    Thanks!

    • Hi,

      Thank you for the sweet compliments! And I am so glad your other orchids is doing well.

      Regarding the sick one – if it’s it totally experience bud blast and no buds can be saved then I would cut the stem off and repot it. That way you can assess the roots and give it fresh new mix.

      And like I stated in this blog entry it’s probably not your fault:

      “Many times when we get orchids into our homes they were mistreated before we got them. Mass production of orchids in green houses forces them into bloom (which in itself does not hurt orchids) and then they are shipped to stores. The shipping process is taxing to orchids and then they are placed in grocery stores etc. that over or underwater them and give them zero natural light.

      And A LOT of places sell orchids in pots with no drainage which exacerbates all the problems stated above because the roots are basically trapped in water and begin to rot (even though the blooms may look beautiful at the time).

      Then we get them, they begin to suffer and we think we have hurt an orchid when actually it was all the stuff that happened to it before we got it. It’s very frustrating but not our faults at all.”

      Hope that Helps,

      Hannah

  11. Hi Hannah! I’ve been reading through your information and its great.. easy to understand, takes away the mystery of growing orchids. I received an phalaenopsis orchid from my Vet after my sweet, Angel dog, Summer, passed in September. It had several blooms and now has 3. Another
    2 blooms looked were they were growing and growing, one looked like it would open anytime and then it shriveled up and the stem turned yellow over the weekend. I’m afraid to do anything with it so I keep the 3 blooms from dying. Of course, I’m feeling the orchid surviving is a message from my dog.. The orchid faces a west window, it was planted in bark in a plastic container and then placed in a ceramic pot. Most of the roots look green except the very top roots, they are grayish, not silver. I don’t have many windows that I’m able to keep plant because of heat vents and light. Do you think all is ok? I know this isn’t a major question or problem but I’m so glad to have the opportunity to ask. Thank you.

  12. Hi . I’m a first time orchid owner and from what I’ve read I have a case of “bud blast” symptoms fit perfectly. What confuses me is I haven’t moved it and it actually seemed to be thriving in its happy location by my west facing window. So how can it seem so healthy one week and bud blast another? I live in MN and sunlight has been scarce. Also with colder temps my heat is a little higher. There is a heat base board near the orchid. Yet a chill might be coming from the window. Im not sure where to move it. Where do I start? The buds seem squishy not crunchy.
    Ty πŸ™‚

    • Hi,

      I would love to help! Most likely if your orchid is brand new then its experiencing bud blast from before you got it.

      Many times when we get orchids into our homes they were mistreated before we got them. Mass production of orchids in green houses forces them into bloom (which in itself does not hurt orchids) and then they are shipped to stores. The shipping process is taxing to orchids and then they are placed in grocery stores etc. that over or underwater them and give them zero natural light.

      And A LOT of places sell orchids in pots with no drainage which exacerbates all the problems stated above because the roots are basically trapped in water and begin to rot (even though the blooms may look beautiful at the time).

      Then we get them, they begin to suffer and we think we have hurt an orchid when actually it was all the stuff that happened to it before we got it. It’s very frustrating but not our faults at all.

      That being said – is it potted in a pot with a drainage hole?

      Hope that Helps,

      Hannah

  13. hi,

    i recently bought an orchid at home depot – we moved into a new apartment and i should have waited until we had all our furniture and were settled but it was such an amazing blue color i had to buy it.

    well, turns out the orchid is not actually blue, but had been pumped full of dye. i had no idea they did this to orchids! anyway, i don’t mind that it’s returning to it’s natural coloring, but some blooms had begun to wither. i had it on a shelf by a window in my kitchen, before i read that certain ripening fruits can hurt it. it also seemed to not be getting enough light (on sunny days the window provided enough, but we’ve had a string of gray days where that location is just not cutting it).

    i put all the fruit away in the refrigerator, and have been moving the orchid into the bathroom during the day to ensure it gets enough light/humidity. however, my bathroom is too small to leave it in there permanently, so at night after it gets dark (and my boyfriend gets home from work) i put it back on the shelf in the kitchen (probably ten feet away, so no big temp change). is this moving it back and forth going to stress it out even further? in about a week i’ll have a nice permanent place for it where it is away from the kitchen and getting enough light, but until then i’m not sure if it’s better for it to be stationary with insufficient light or to move it back and forth to get it enough sun.

    also, as to a couple withered flowers/blooms – it has been about a week or so and they have not yet fallen off. should i still just leave them and wait for them to fall of naturally? i read that the orchid might still be using energy on the dead flowers that could be directed elsewhere if they were cut. if i should cut them, where would i make the cut? at the stem or just below the head of the flower?

    thanks so much!

    • Hi,

      Ok so I have a lot if links on the blog that could help you. Read them over and then maybe ask whatever questions you have left.

      Dyed orchid
      https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/dyed-orchids/

      Flowers falling off
      https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/orchid-bloom-dying-naturally/

      Cutting a stem
      https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/252/

      Drainage
      https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/252/

      Light requirements
      https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/light-requirements-for-orchids/

      Let me know your questions after that,

      Hannah

      • hi hannah, thanks for the quick reply!

        i have done a lot of reading, between your site and others which is how i figured out many of the issues with this poor little guy. i know it is not getting enough light because the leaves, while perky, are very dark green. so i am still wondering if moving it into the bathroom during the day to get the light it needs is okay to do or if it will stress the plant too much (even though i am only moving it a distance of about ten feet as we live in a very small 1bed apartment).

        thanks again,
        stephanie

      • I am so sorry I forgot to respond!!

        Orchids in general don’t like to be moved around. It’s hard to tell what is going wrong when they are in two different places.

        Forgive me if you already stated his but can you just leave it in the bathroom?

        Hannah

      • hi hannah, no problem! it’s really nice that you take time to respond to all the comments, and your website is such a good resource πŸ˜€

        i can’t leave the orchid in the bathroom permanently, sadly – the room is really small and our ceilings are quite low. (we have one little shelf but the orchid is too tall.) i have convinced my boyfriend to let it stay in there for a few more days though and he just has to maneuver around it carefully, haha. (it is on the floor in between the sink and the tub.) then i’ll move it to it’s permanent location which is in the process of being painted. (so i wanted to wait till painting was done and the fumes were gone.) hopefully it will settle in and do well. it definitely has been a learning experience for me!

      • Sounds good! I don’t think it would hurt it too bad if you wanted to temporarily move it back and forth. Seems like a headache to keep in the bathroom πŸ™‚

        Hannah

  14. I just bought an orchid last week on Tuesday. I first watered it the next day. I kept it in the office on top of a filing cabinet under fluorescent lights until the weekend, when I decided to bring it home. I had it on my front porch where it got bright, but indirect natural light. But I don’t think it liked the hotter, more humid conditions. It was fine thru the weekend until Monday morning, and then all its flowers looked droopy. Never again will I do that!!! Big mistake!!! So back to the office it went, and I watered it again that Monday, since it had been in hotter, more humid conditions. The instructions say to water it with three ice cubes once a week (seriously, no joke!). It will have to stay at the office under fluorescent lighting. It appeared to perk up over the last couple days, but not completely. About half the flowers are back to normal, and a quarter of the blooms are somewhat better. A couple blooms look like they haven’t perked up at all. I am hoping it continues to get better. I hope I don’t lose any flowers on it. I believe it’s in shock from being moved and being put in conditions it wasn’t accustomed to. Will I lose some flowers? Is there anything that can be done for an orchid in shock? This is my first orchid.

    • Hi Michelle,

      I would love to help! Moving orchids around can be shocking to them but I would think it would do better overall at your house or any place really that is near a window for natural shady light (they need natural light). Moving an orchid from inside to outside is really shocking – I personally grow mine indoors near a window. That way it doesn’t get bugs or too hot. On a side note: orchids love humidity (I have a post on this).

      I water my orchid this way and only when they are very dry…

      https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/hello-world/

      The biggest mistake any new orchid owner does is over water them which produces Root Rot (I have a link on that).

      Also check for a drainage hole…

      https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/orchid-disaster/

      And finally the flowers tend to fall off pretty quickly in a new orchid because it was probably in bloom for awhile before you got it. As shown here…

      https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/orchid-bloom-dying-naturally/

      You can always email me a picture if your not sure of any of these things at myfirstorchid@gmail.com.

      Let me know if that helps,

      Hannah

      • I am amazed at the resiliency of this plant! Except for 2 blooms, which are ever so slowly perking up, the other 9 blooms are back to normal. I think I managed to save it. I am going to give it a few more days in hopes the last 2 blooms perk back up.

  15. I have a situation I have never experienced before and would love advice.

    I have three orchids – Two Phalaenopsis and one Oncidium. They are all extremely healthy with lots of new leaves, shoots, and a new baby bulb from the Oncidium.
    My most recent Phal (a rescue in the ‘SALE’ part of the greenhouse due to the bloom cycle ending) is having just a bit of trouble. A little background on the plant, it is very large with a thick stem. It grew two new leaves this spring and two shoots off of the main stem. When I first bought it, it was in bloom. After the blooms had fallen off, more blooms appeared maybe a month later. These blooms experienced bud blast (in my opinion, because not only did the orchid go through a move, but I believe it was given too much ‘Flowering fertilizer’ so it was trying to put energy into blooming again with not enough re-cooperation time). It has since recovered from the over fertilization/move.
    Now, about 6-8 months later, it wants to bloom AGAIN! This time, correctly and healthy. It has produced multiple buds and all look beautiful. Three blooms have since opened, but only halfway. It has been like this for about a week now, maybe a week and a half. All three blooms are still only halfway open, but none shrivel up, nor do the other forming buds looking damaged or discolored.
    Is this a type of bud blast? Or do you think that since it has tried to bloom three times in the past 6-8 months that it could just be too tired to fully open? Do you have any advice on what you think would be best for my trooper orchid?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Kayla,

      That is super interesting! Hmmmmm I don’t know if I have ever had an orchid halfway open and then stop (bud blast is when they never open). I would maybe wait to see if it opens more. It could be tired like you said but the good thing is that it seems to really be doing well for a rescue. If it has enough energy to try to bloom this much then that is a good thing,

      Hannah

      • Well, we are in the same boat then. πŸ™‚ It has been about two weeks now and all three blooms still are only open halfway, but are looking nice. It is like the orchid is frozen in time!! I appreciate your response and I’ll keep hoping that my Phal opens with time. If not, I’m sure she will be big and beautiful next year.

        Do you think it could help if I cut the spike completely and allow the orchid to put its energy into healing and inner workings?

      • I wouldn’t cut it back now – I would wait to see what happens and then when the blooms finally fall off then cut it back to the base… sounds like a super healthy orchid and can’t wait to hear how it goes when it’s in full form!!

        Hannah

      • Hi

        What happened with the orchid? Did the blooms eventually open? I have the same problem. The orchid came in a glass pot which was a big problem . it was living in the kitchen with other happy orchids and by the time I realised how bad the glass pot was for the roots (I had two other orchids that suffered Because of this) some of the blooms were already dying. But I moved to a different pot and seemed to recover and I moved to my bathroom with some other orchids and it looks happy but there are about 9 blooms which are stuck half closed. They have been like this for about 10 days.

        Thanks for your help
        Aretha

      • Hi,

        So with bud blast they don’t open. They freeze like that. Eventually they should shrivel up and fall off.

        Hannah

      • It is not bud blast. The blooms are still very happy. Just only half open

      • Oh ok sorry! I thought they were. If they are half open then you will just have to wait patiently for them to open. Sometimes it take a bit,

        Hannah

      • I was specifically commenting on the woman who said they paused half-open for more than two weeks. You said you had never seen that before so I was interested in what happened to the flowers. I have had many orchids and know how long they normally take to open and this is much longer

      • Ahh / well unfortunately this isn’t an open forum so you basically only get to talk to me. I can see if she responds and maybe copy and paste it to you,

        Hannah

      • Okay. Thanks I thought you might know since you asked her to let you know. I stumbled across your site the other night and it’s really great!

      • you can also just check “notify me of new posts via email” and you’ll get comments as they come in. that’s what i did – i like to see what other people have going on with their orchids, heh. πŸ™‚ i’m nosy!

  16. I understand the water in the tray is to provide humidity but do you still add water directly to the flower pot to water the plant? My orchid came with directions to add one third of a cup of warm water once a week. Should I do both??

    • Hi,

      Yes you do both but don’t follow those instruction on watering. Orchids care cards are often wrong because there is no universal schedule to water an orchid. They dry out at different times depending on where you live. I water my orchids this way…

      https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/hello-world/

      You want to make sure they are pretty dry before you water them. Orchids don’t like being wet all the time.

      Hope that helps,

      Hannah

  17. My orchid my love just brought home lost all of it’s buds and it’s one bloom in just three days. I read your post And moved it further away from the stove and put the fruit bowl on the other side of the room. My question now is, now that all the buds and blooms are gone, do I trim the stem or wait to see if it buds again?

    • I would love to help!

      Quick question – did the buds open and then fall off or did they never open? Meaning did it flower and then the blooms slowly died.

      Hannah

  18. Once identified as bud blast – do I cut them off? How far back from the bud?

      • Thank you! I’m hoping they were just due to being moved from gift shop, to my place. I have a medium size bud, that is opening! Hurray!

    • Another question – is there any meaning to one leaf curling up, then down, and having a purplish edge to it? It looks healthy otherwise.

      • Hi,

        When orchid leaves are packaged in that plastic wrap (when shipped and sold in stores) etc their leaves bend – sometimes over time they will smooth out. Don’t try to flatten them because they will break off.

        Hmmm purple edges – that is probably nothing but if you want you could send me a picture at http://www.myfirstorchid@gmail.com.

        Hope that helps,

        Hannah

  19. Thank you it helped alot and another thing what do I do with the one that has bloom blast on it..also when I got my orchid the roots were sticking out of the pot

    • Once bloom blast starts there is nothing that can really be done. You can’t stop it. But you can water it correctly from now on. I would wait a bit before watering again. Make sure it’s totally dry. As far as the root goes read my post in Ariel Roots.

      You may want to check out my post on Repotting an Orchid as well since it has been over watered – the roots may be rotting.

      Hope that helps,

      Hannah

  20. My finance got me a orchid for Valentines and its been doing really good. I left for a couple of days and came back and my orchid flowers are kinda yellow and look really weak, he said he didn’t do nothing with it and if im correct I think I have a bud blast on the flower that had not bloomed yet. please let me know if there is something I can do to help it

  21. Hi !!! I am so happy to have found this website. I just bought my first orchids in South Africa and they are stunning. Unfortunately, I think my first bud may have ‘blasted’ (if thats a term). I brought them home a week ago and given that I am in Durban S. Africa, there aren’t any extreme changes in temperature that I can pin point. My flat is very well ventilated with plenty of light. My orchids are not in direct sunlight but I noticed that one orchid was a little close to my air conditioner so I was thinking that I would move it to another location at night when my air conditioner is on and back during the day. Please let me know what you think.

    Thanks!

    PK

    • Hi,

      I would love to help. I would not move orchids around. I understand why you would want to but orchids should generally stay in one place. One reason orchids experience bud blast is because they are moved around.

      For example you bought your orchid probably from a store. They grew that orchid in a greenhouse, shipped it to the store, the store moves it around (probably over and/or under watering it – another reason for bud blast) and then you buy it and bring it your home. There are so many changes the orchid is shocked.

      I have found that finding a good happy place for your orchid near a window and water it properly.

      https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/hello-world/

      Hope that helps,

      Hannah

  22. Hi Hannah,

    I am going thru the bud blast thing right now! I saved some orchids from the local hardware store in April. 3 of them had spikes growing off of the main spike and they all have buds on them. Week before last we turned on the air conditioner and now I have bud blast. My question is, why it is not happening to all of them. One plant it has happened to the whole thing, on another the bud has bloomed. One plant had mealy bugs and it has been thru the wringer! I have had it in and out spraying it; I soaked it in a sink of water to drown the little pests; I’ve picked bugs off of it, and it’s buds look fabulous, (for now)! I have another old timer in another part of the house and its buds look fine! I guess it just depends on individual plants? HOW SAD 😦

    Joyce

    • Joyce,

      It’s really hard to tell why orchids get bud blast because there are so many factors that can cause it.

      They may have been mistreated before you got them. Overwatered or under watered etc.

      It could be because of the air conditioning but once my orchids got use to this it rarely a happens anymore.

      Sometimes orchids can get bud blast just from drastic changes in temperature. Like going from a cool greenhouse to a smoking hot car…

      It’s super sad and super frustrating but hopefully they will not do this next year.

      Hannah

  23. I am experiencing very severe bud blast this last couple of weeks. It never happened to my orchids before but recently, all my orchids (I have 5 different types) coming to bloom and developing orchid buds have experienced it. It is so very frustrating to see them shiverel up and turn brown. All the plants are healthy and still shooting up buds now and then, only to experience the blasts whenever the buds are formed.

    Initially, I thought this was some form of disease; but after reading your blog, I know now it is called bud blasts. Thank you so much for that information!

    As I reside in Singapore, my orchids are grown outdoors. Should I just cut back on the developing bud and let the plant rest for a while? Or should I just sit back and see whether the bud can weather through whatever environmental stress that it is currently experiencing? Would appreciate your advice on this. Thanks.

    • Sue,

      I would love to help! Bud blast is sooooooo frustrating.

      I have a few questions…

      1. You say all the orchids are experiencing this? How long have you had them? Did they bloom before?
      2. Have you done anything differently with them lately? Example…repotting them, changing how you water etc.
      3. Did they experience a sudden change in heat or cold?

      Unfortunately once bud blast happens you can’t save the bud it’s happening too. Sometimes with my orchids I will have three blooms open and the fourth experiences bud blast. In this case I cut off the shriveled bloom and leave the rest to enjoy them. If your entire stem has experienced bud blast then I would cut if off because it won’t bloom again until next year.

      By cutting the stem back it conserves the plants energy to focus on growing new roots and new leaves. I had an orchid that did this…this year and I had to cut the whole stem back.

      Let me know your answers and maybe we can figure out why this happened,

      Hannah

      • Hannah,

        1. Most of the orchids have been with me for more than a year. The lady’s slipper orchid was a new addition, bought almost a month before the bud blasts started. The new buds on that died back but those that were in bloom continued with the bloom – though the flowers were not as lasting. Two of my orchids were frequent bloomers. Another have not bloomed since June last year and was shooting up 3 spikes this year. Only 1 survived. However, after a few flowers started blooming on the spike, the rest of the unopened bud shriveled up and die.

        2. No.

        3. The weather here has been very hot lately. I remembered reading in the newspapers last week that the recorded temperature for April this year was the highest ever at 36C, 2C above normal. Can this be the reason? I have been growing orchids on and off but this is the first time this has ever happened.

        One of my frequent bloomer is shooting up spike again, so I will wait and see what happens. As soon as it turns color, I’m prepared to cut it off this time so that the plant can conserve its energy.

      • Sue,

        I LOVE Lady Slippers…. They are so pretty!

        I would gather, from what you said, that it is probably the heat. Orchids don’t like really cold or really hot temperatures. Especially is they were in direct sunlight.

        Orchids also experience bud blast when there is a sudden (not gradual) dip or spike in temperature. So basically the same thing could have happen to your orchids if there was a frost one night.

        I know that this happens with my mothers orchids in Florida that are placed on trees around the house.

        A good way to tell if your orchids are too hot is to feel their leaves. If the leaf is super warm then you definitely need to move to a place that had indirect sunlight and more moderate temperatures.

        Hope that Helps,

        Hannah

  24. I purchased an Orchid three months ago, It had three blooms and several buds, It looks like it was “frozen” in time. it has not changed from the day I purchased it, If I didn’t know better I say it was silk.
    The flowers had not dropped and the buds have not shown any signs of growing,
    Is this also “Bud Blast”?

  25. Hi, I recently experienced bud blast on two Phals that I rescued from work. I work at a grocery store. I’m hoping it was just the move that did it. I still have blooms (but no buds) on both and its been about a month. I was waiting for blooming to be done so that I could repot them. Thankfully the original media used was bark and they were not sitting in water, just being over watered at the store. My question is if the blooms are doing well is there a chance that my orchids have adjusted to their new environment? Or is the only way to tell to wait for them to rebloom and see if It happens again? I appreciate any help or advice. Also I read your post on yellow leaves but what about red? Thanks again.

    • Marina,

      I would love to help!

      Bud blast can be caused by a variety of things…most likely the change in environment. Once those buds die off, I would enjoy the other blooms and then repot it when ALL the blooms are gone.

      Bud blast is super annoying and sad. I experienced in an orchid that I had already had for two seasons. The first bloom cycle was fine but I had saved it from a friend who totally overwater it.. In this situation I think it was adjusting to being watered properly and in a good humid environment.

      I can not give you a definite on if this will happen again next season because it happens for weird reasons. But most likely if you follow proper watering, fertilizing and repotting…you should be fine.

      I can tell you that your orchid will not rebloom till next fall/winter (2013). All my orchids are on a natural schedule, and are about to shoot spikes which becomes bloom, because I have had them for so long.

      Your orchid, since it’s in bloom right now, was forced into bloom by a nursery. Nothing is wrong with this but the natural bloom time for a Phalaenopsis orchid is spike in fall, bloom in winter thru early spring, it will then loose all it’s blooms naturally and then grow new roots and new leaves from late spring thru late summer.

      Does that make sense?

      I have post for you to click on that will be helpful in explaining this. The ones on – orchids grow in nature, season by season guide, watering, fertilizing and repotting.

      As far as red leaves go…I would need a pic. You can email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com

      Hope that helps,

      Hannah

    • I think the red leaves are your orchid having to much sun or the flowers are purple, red, or pink.
      It says that on tons of websites.
      John

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