Orchid Blooms: Dying Naturally

Why are my Orchid blooms falling off?
updated 2/28/17

A lot of people ask me why their orchid blooms are falling off? Most likely your orchid was in bloom for a while before you got it. Orchids naturally drop their blooms after a couple of months. Most orchids bloom once per year, for an extended period of time. The flowers are falling off because they are done blooming. Also at this time the bloom stems dies back as well.

If this is your only concern then your orchid is fine. It’s not dying it just preparing for next years blooms by growing new roots and leaves once all the flowers have dropped and the stems have died back.

Cycle of Orchids

My orchids are on a “natural cycle” meaning I have had them all for many years now and they bloom regularly on the same natural cycle. Normally this is between Thanksgiving and sometime ending near March/April. If I were to buy an orchid from lets say April thru November…in full bloom…it would have been forced into bloom by a nursery. Nurseries can do this because they create a moderated environment that reproduces natures cues synthetically thus forcing them into bloom year round. Once the orchid they forced into bloom actually blooms they sell it. You buy it and after the blooms fall that orchid will not normally bloom again for one year.

Orchids only bloom once a year because they are in a cycle. This cycle goes like this…

  1. bloom
  2. blooms fall off
  3. orchid grows new leaves and new roots to support upcoming bloom season
  4. spikes starts to grow from an entirely different spot from the original stem/spike
  5. it bloom again and the cycle repeats

Orchids work in this balance because they are constantly switching their energy from one cycle to the next.

Click on my “Season to Season Guide” post which further explains this.

This is what I would recommend doing to your orchid now…

  1. Wait to cut the stem back until all the flowers have fallen off.
  2. I would then repot it to give it fresh new mix (nutrients).

Please click on my posts on “Cutting an Orchid Stem Back” and “How to Repot an Orchid” for further help.

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.

39 Comments on “Orchid Blooms: Dying Naturally

  1. Thank you so much for the information! My orchid has begun dropping blooms; I will follow your instructions after the last bloom drops & I’ll try not to worry too much! I have one of the 3 ice cube orchids, would I continue with that watering schedule after the blooms drop off? Thanks!

  2. After I cut back my orchid and repot it in fresh new soil, do I water it and keep watering until it blooms again? Should I feed it orchid plant food? Where should I place repotted orchid until it blooms agian? I appreciate your advice. Thank you

  3. I have had my orchid from a little over two weeks from a grocery store its in the original pot i bought it in i water it once weekly but for some reason some of the flowers are limp only one is still standing what could be the issue ????
    Plz help

  4. Hello Hannah !
    I am a beginner !Just bought a Bohemian Rhapsody 12days ago from An Orchid Festival and feel glad to find your blog which I see a very helful for orchid planner ! During these 12 days ,although the orchid was watered twice : one with fertiliser but there are symptoms of overwatering? Some young leaves became yellow , look wet and soft but all the exposed roots look very dry. The barks in the pot are so dry ( tested with a pencil tip deep in the middle of the filler in the hanging basket is also dry). Now ,the leaves and flower are falling off ! Is that natural ? Could I water the orchid again ?It has been 5 days since last time I watered it . Please help to save this . I enclosed 2 photos ,the 1st when I just bought it and the 2nd just been taken today.
    Warm Regard

  5. Oh my goodness! I am the worst! I purchased two new little orchid plats 2 weeks ago. One is perfectly fine while the other started having wilted flowers and dying buds. I have a tendency to cut things off my regular plants (non orchids) that doesnt look right.. needless to say i sid just that. I cut off the buds and wilted flowers not knowing that its a notmal process. 😦 I feel sad for my plant.

    For future reference, do i just let the dying flowers fall on its own and not cut it off?
    Also my little plant has a clear plastic pot inside a non draining clay pot. I take it out of the decorative pot when in need of watering.. i place the plant under neath the water (with the plastic draining pot) and let it drip excess water. Is this process correct? Is it normal that my small orchid plant gets dry very often (every 2/3days)? Moss is dry and roots seem silvery green and dry to touch. Is that normal?

    I just bought some orchid food. How should i approach a mini orchid plant when it comes to feeding it with miracle grow orchid food.

    Sorry all the questions. This is literally my frist orchid babies.

    -Kimico (Miami, FL)

  6. Hi Hannah!
    I got new orchid. Just 4 of the 9 flowers opened up, so i guess its blooms for a short period of time. Right now 2 more flowers starts to bloom but 2 of the closed one just fallen down. Very sad.
    What can be the reason for this?
    Thank you!

  7. Hi Hannah,

    My blooms are withered and wilting but are remaining stuck to a quickly yellowing stem. The orchid is potted in a small clear pot with drainage inside a bigger pot with a large hole at the bottom. We bought the orchid maybe three weeks ago in full bloom (no buds). Is this due to a lack of humidity or something else? We currently don’t have a humidity tray or humidifier though are in the process of getting one.

    • Hi,

      No it’s due to what I stated above. Orchids are in bloom for awhile before you get them – I explain it further in the post above.

      Hannah πŸ™‚

  8. hi –

    First, thank you for posting your blog, I have gotten a lot of information about orchids! I was give an orchid by a neighbor, the orchid was in full bloom. I didn’t realize that the orchid was in a plastic pot with drainage holes inside the decorative pot. When I watered the orchid I didn’t remove the orchid from the decorative pot. The orchid sat in water for a couple weeks and now the flowers are falling off and one stem is turning yellow. Yesterday when I discovered that the orchid was sitting in water I left the orchid out of the decorative pot for quite a while. The leaves are still green but a week ago I did notice two small yellow leaves underneath the big leaves that were shriveled up, I removed them. The roots are still green except one root is a greyish / brownish color (this a small root). Is there anything I can do to help the orchid? I will email you a pic of the orchid, I don’t see a way that i can attach it in this comment. I have always wanted an orchid and I don’t want this one to die. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for all your help!
    Jaime

  9. Thank you so much!!! I first thought that my orchid was a high maintenance and ungrateful houseplant, so frustrated, after I thought it had died, I left it outside only to come back a few months later finding that the hardy little guy was in fact alive….barely. I started researching how to nurture it and keep it alive and found your website. I pulled it out of it’s old pot, trimmed it’s dying roots, cut the old spike and repotted it with new mix and it’s now growing plenty of healthy green roots and new leaves. I can’t wait to see what next year will bring πŸ™‚

  10. I have a phalaenopsis orchid that I received last February and it was in bloom. It lost its blooms several months ago on the one stem that it had. It has since branched out on the same stem and I thought there were new buds forming on that stem, until it started to die. Then another branch started forming and it appears that buds are forming again, it is still nice and green. I trimmed back the dying branch. Now one of the two leaves that the plant has has turned yellow. I’m confused as to what “stage” it is in as it seems to be forming new buds to bloom and also shedding leaves at the same time? What do you think I should do with this plant?

    Thanks
    Erika

    • Hi,

      Yes that is confusing – could you send me a picture at myfirstorchid@gmail.com?

      Is it potted in a pot with a drainage hole? How often and how much do you water it?

      If the leaves are looking that bad I suggest cutting the whole blooms stem off to save energy to focus on the leaves.

      Hannah

  11. I resently found your site and it has been a great help me me, Ive never raised orchids before, and its been a hanging experience, but an enjoyable one thanks to you’re information here. I was worried Why my orchids blooms were starting to close, while new buds where forming, bu this help my understand its nearing the end of its natural cycle there both are Phalaenopsis and ive had them both two weeks. I bought them at a lowes along with a small (not yet blooming Cattleya) and I was very unhappy to find they packed so much moss around the roots beyond tight (had to use a butter knife to get then out of the pot with No Holes in it) but this tells me they are happy and healthy and didnt even notice being repotted while im bloom. Thank you for such a wonderfully helpful site.

    • Hi James,

      I am glad your orchids are doing well and getting them out of those pots without drainage holes saved their lives!! Good luck and thanks for the compliments,

      Hannah

  12. My orchid has many heavy green leaves(foliag) and one stem. i still water it once a week. do you think there is hope for it?? i transplanted it last spring

    Dorothy

  13. Hello,
    After all blooms are go on, then cut the stem at the bottom for stronger plant, what will be the watering and fertilizer routine until the next bloom ???
    Your web site is so interesting
    Thank you very much and ……Merry Christmas
    Paul

    • Hi,

      Yes you cut the stem back after the blooms are done. I have a link on watering and fertilizing. You want to water the same but fertilize a little bit more when its not in bloom. Check out those links.

      Hannah

  14. Bought a beautiful orchid 2 weeks ago. Last bloom fell off yesterday so I cut it down and re-potted it today. I followed the directions here on your blog to do it. The leaves are really dark and droopy from the moment I bought it but the roots are really pretty green and I only had to trim off two small pieces of dead roots.

    Here’s hoping I can keep it alive–I kill every Hosta I ever plant and my mom just shakes her head.

    I’m tired of this black thumb I have!

  15. Floppy leaves. I maybe am paranoid about my orchid but I think the leaves look floppy, what could possibly be the reason?

    • Renee,

      There could be many reasons. Over or under watering it. Not enough sun. Too much sun. If its in bloom and the blooms are taking all the energy from the plant.

      How do you water it?
      Where is it placed in you house?
      Is it in bloom?
      Where did you get it and for how long have you had it?

      Hannah

      • Hi Hannah,

        I also have floppy leaves, and my orchids cycle seems out-of-whack. I bought it at the beginning of May and immediately put it in a Chinese orchid pot. The pot has several holes on the sides, so the moss tends to dry out often. As a result, we water it (with a spray bottle) in the morning and when we go to bed. It is behind glass bricks that get good light for the first half of the day.

        Since I bought it (more than 2 months now), only one bloom has fallen off. Recently, the leaves have been getting flatter and limper (less water storage, I guess) and within the last week it has started putting out 3 air roots. I imagine that it has started diverting energy from the leaves to the new air roots, but it has not killed the flowers.

        Have you seen anything like this before? Do you think I should cut off the blooms to allow it to invest in vegetative growth before the fall? The room that it’s in gets pretty cool in winter.

        Many thanks,
        James

      • Hi James,

        Do you know what type of orchid it is?

        Repotting an orchid while in bloom can make the blooms and leaves suffer and semi-shocks an orchid so it make take some time to even out.

        Does your orchid pot have a drainage hole at the bottom?

        I water my orchids a few times a month following the link below. It may be getting too much or little water – sad leaves are a result of both. You can check to see if it needs water by pushing your finger or a stick down by the roots to check for moisture. If there is none then you can water. Orchids would rather be dry then moist all the time.

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

        You can always send me a picture at myfirstorchid@gmail.com

        Let me know if that helps,

        Hannah

  16. Do orchid blooms die when there are still buds on the same spike? New growth happening, so …

    • John,

      Yes they do. Currently my orchids are in bloom and some are loosing their blooms. So for example on my pink one… The earlier blooms are falling off and the some of the later ones have not even opened yet.

      Hannah

      • ha πŸ™‚ ha πŸ™‚ ha πŸ™‚ Orchids are sometimes unpredictable

      • Two stubborn blooms that don’t want to fall… and a root is trying to poke through the drainage holes! Best wait for the blooms to fall to re-pot, right?

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