Does that sound familiar to you? Flowering time is finally here and your orchid should burst into a spectacular display of colorful blooms each day. You have been diligently tending your orchid, observing the leaves and stems of your plant every few days. Now it’s time for your hard work to pay off. But the days go by and your orchid doesn’t change a bit. It can be very frustrating and disappointing to spend a lot of time caring for an orchid only to see it put forth buds that wilt and fall off – or not bud at all. If your orchid doesn’t bloom, don’t panic. Below you will find the top 8 reasons why your orchid is not flowering and professional tips on how to get your plant into the best flowering season.
The secret of healthy plants is to understand the basic needs of orchids
Orchids have a reputation for being picky
The 8 most common reasons why your orchid won’t flower and the solutions to them
There are a few important factors that are responsible for your orchid not blooming. As a rule, you can encourage your plant to flower by making a few simple changes to your orchid care routine.
Orchids are not difficult, they are just different
#1. Your orchid is not getting enough light to bloom
Insufficient light conditions can be the main reason why orchids do not flower or do not bloom again. Most popular indoor orchid species, such as Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, Cattleya, and Cymbidium, require bright, indirect light to flower. Ideally, place your plant out of direct sunlight, but make sure it’s in a sunny space. For many orchid plants, south- or east-facing windows are best.
Expert tip: If your orchid is in a dark room with little natural light, e.g. For example, in an office or north-facing room, you may need a grow light to encourage healthy and consistent flowering.
By following these basic care instructions, you can rest assured that your orchid will bloom year after year
#2. Your orchid is exposed to direct sunlight
Orchids are very sensitive to light conditions. In their natural habitat, orchids generally enjoy subdued sunlight, and they are mostly sheltered by dense tropical tree canopies. If your orchid is in full, direct sun, you may notice sunburned or bleached leaves. This is a symptom that is likely to prevent flowering as your orchid is using its precious resources to heal rather than bud.
Expert tip: If your orchid is in direct sunlight, you can simply place it a few feet from the window or hang a sheer curtain to filter the direct sunlight.
Orchids prefer bright, indirect light – just enough to cast a shadow
#3. Your orchid needs different temperatures to flower
Orchids produce large, long-lasting flowers when they are able to go through normal energy cycles. Typically, orchids produce energy in the form of carbohydrates during the day when temperatures are high, and rest at night when temperatures typically drop. If your orchid is getting enough light but is still not blooming, consider lowering the temperature a little at night. The dormancy period at lower temperatures is essential for healthy, full flowering.
Expert tip: If possible, expose your orchid to temperatures at night that are up to 10 degrees cooler than daytime temperatures. For best results, do this for two weeks at the beginning of the orchid’s flowering period. Some people find it easiest to leave the orchid in a basement or cool room overnight.
Most orchids do best in a mix of bark, perlite, and charcoal
#4. Your orchid has outgrown its pot
Deciding when to repot your orchid can be difficult. Some plants flower six months to a year after repotting. And some orchids prefer to be root bound and bloom best when firmly seated in their pots. The best way to determine if your orchid needs a new pot is to examine your orchid’s root system, as opposed to the leaves or stems. If your orchid’s roots appear brown, mushy, or tightly packed, it’s time to give it a new pot. Also, if some roots are sticking out of the ground and growing beyond the rim of the pot, your orchid may need more room to grow.
Expert tip: Choose an orchid pot that is slightly larger than the last one. If you give your orchid too much room to grow, its roots will suffocate in the propagation mix, which can adversely affect its flowering cycle.
If you neglect to repot, your orchid can be damaged
#5. You water your orchid
If you water your orchid too much, it will shed its buds and – what is worse – it may even be on the verge of dying. Avoid leaving your orchid in wet growing mix as its delicate root system is prone to root rot. If your orchid’s roots are turning brown or appearing mushy, you are overwatering.
Expert tip: A good orchid potting mix is key to draining excess water and promoting a healthy plant that is ready to bloom. If the growing mix allows for excellent drainage, your orchid is less likely to suffer from root rot.
Overwatering is the leading cause of death for indoor orchids
#6. You are not watering your orchid enough
Of course, an orchid can also be under-watered. Like all plants, orchids need access to water. If your plant is constantly thirsty, it will not flower. Orchids that become too dry will draw water from the developing buds to sustain themselves. Keep in mind that orchids are mostly tropical plants that prefer jungle-like conditions. Even if their roots do not tolerate overwatering, orchids love humid air and are exposed to light rain showers in the wild.
Expert tip: Place your orchid on a humidity tray so it can bask in the humid air even if you haven’t watered it.
When an orchid is in bloom, it’s like a new pet: it needs lots of attention
#7. Your orchid is not yet in bloom
Each orchid species has its own flowering cycle. Some orchids flower in spring and summer, others prefer to show their flowers in autumn or even winter. Buying a flowering orchid plant is not necessarily a good indicator of when it will bloom. Growers and producers can easily induce flowering in greenhouses by manipulating light and temperature conditions.
Expert tip: Make sure you know the flowering cycles of your particular orchid. A little research can save you months of wondering why your plant isn’t flowering.
Water only when the mixture is dry and never leave the orchid standing in water
#8th. Your orchid is not getting the right fertilizer
Orchids are not heavy feeders. And their root system is complex and delicate, unlike the root systems of other, more traditional houseplants. Don’t forget, however, that your orchid needs food and nutrients to bloom and thrive indoors. Regular fertilizer can be too harsh and burn the plant. The best orchid fertilizer is therefore gentle and specially tailored to your orchid.
Expert tip: If you are looking for the perfect fertilizer for orchids, experts recommend fertilizing your orchid with natural fertilizer. Read our articles to learn more about fertilizing orchids with home remedies.
To check if it’s time to water, gently poke your finger about an inch into the mixture
Make small changes and watch your orchid bloom
When troubleshooting your orchid, it’s important to adjust your care routine step by step. Otherwise you might not know what works and what doesn’t. Always remember to keep your orchid under optimal lighting conditions and avoid overwatering.
After flowering, cut off the inflorescence near the base of the plant
Finally, remember the tools that will help you bloom these iconic flowers this season:
- A grow light when your plant is growing under low light conditions.
- An orchid pot with good drainage.
- The right orchid potting mix so that your plant is not in a dense, water-retaining medium.
- A humidity tray for optimal humidity conditions.
Follow our simple steps and you will have a colorful and beautiful orchid