An orchid needs a while to bloom, but then its flowers remain motionless on the stem for weeks. It is a shame if this blooming spectacle comes to an early end for whatever reason. Not only that the beautiful flowers are gone then. New buds could also be a long time coming. Nobody wants that! How do you prevent the next blossomless period?

The usual flowering time for an orchid

Nobody knows exactly how long freshly opened orchid flowers will delight us. It should take several weeks, especially with the popular butterfly orchid. If the flowers fade after just a few days, this is not intended in their natural flowering. Just cutting them now is not enough. Premature blooms are always a clear sign that something is wrong. The only question is what?

Tip:  If you have bought a new flowering orchid or received it as a gift, it could also be that the flowers have been in stores for a few days. Then the withering at home is a shame, but by no means “premature”.

The enemies of the flowers: care mistakes

If orchid flowers fade before their time or the plant even sheds its buds, then it is in some way so weakened that it can no longer adequately supply the flowers or keep them fresh. As is so often the case with ailing plants, the causes are to be found in the care that is due to them:

  • she gets too little water
  • their roots are too damp
  • the current location doesn’t appeal to her
  • a change of location causes her stress
  • it freezes or is in a draft
  • it feels uncomfortable in a compacted substrate
  • Lice or spider mites attack it

It is enough if one of the situations listed above applies to make the flowers wither faster. Occasionally, several causes can be responsible for the fading at the same time. Therefore, it is important to check the care completely and take suitable measures to fully exploit at least the next flowering period.

Lack of water disrupts the supply of nutrients

Water is essential for supplying the plant with nutrients. The nutrients it needs dissolve in it and are absorbed by the roots together with water. If this is only possible to a limited extent, the orchid gets into a nutrient shortage that can cost it its entire life over time. When their flowers fade, this is to be interpreted as an alarm signal.

You cannot return the lost flowers to her, but you can make provisions for the future from now on. Water the orchid abundantly and only when the substrate has dried on. However, do not leave water in the coaster.

Waterlogging causes the “supplying” roots to rot

The second watering mistake in orchids ensures that they have wet roots for a longer period of time. The typical substrate for orchids takes some time to soak up with water. When watering, for example, it is not immediately possible to see whether the amount of water administered exactly meets the requirement or exceeds it. If you don’t check this a little later, you accept that excess water will collect in the planter. The roots are rotten.

  • Get the orchid out of the substrate
  • cut off all rotten roots with a sharp knife
  • Repot the orchid after cutting
  • avoid waterlogging in the future
Tip:  Healthy orchid roots look plump and are slightly green in color.

A sunny location is a disadvantage

Orchids mostly stand on window sills, where they can easily be reached by the sun’s rays. If it is a south-facing window, the power of the sun can become too much, especially in summer. In their homeland they grow in the shade of other plants, which is why direct sun is not ideal for them in this country:

  • The heat of the sun increases evaporation through leaves
  • there is a lack of water
  • this combination causes the flowers to wither quickly

In the blazing midday sun, no other measures help, a more shady location has to be found. Occasionally it is enough if the orchids get a little decency to the window. But brightness still has to be.

Tip:  In winter, warm heating air can also be a problem if orchids are in the immediate vicinity of the heating. Moving is strongly recommended, because it doesn’t just stop with withered flowers.

Moving is almost always stressful

If your own home is being redecorated every now and then, orchids are also often given a new location. If this is very different from the previous place, it represents a great challenge for the orchid. Even if it is not unfavorable, the orchid has to get used to it and that costs energy. Energy that is no longer available to supply the flowers. They wither.

  • check whether the new location offers optimal conditions
  • if so, give the plant time to get used to it
  • for the time being put up with the fading
  • It is essential to change the unfavorable location again

When changing location, buds may even fall off before they have even opened. This often happens when buying new orchids.

Orchids don’t like to freeze either

A window, which is often opened to air, brings drafts for the nearby orchid. She doesn’t like that and the first reaction of an orchid in bloom is: flowers wilt.

  • Avoid drafts
  • Moving a few centimeters can help
  • A generally too cold ambient temperature is also harmful
  • Ideal values: during the day at least 20 degrees, at night at least 18 degrees Celsius

Life is not good in a narrow pot

Orchids need fresh substrate for their blooming performance. Over time, the substrate gets older and needs to be replaced regularly.

  • Mosses and algae compact the substrate
  • Little oxygen reaches the roots
  • the root ball is damaged
  • Substart should be exchanged at least every two years

Lice and spider mites steal the sap of life

Not only incorrect care, but also pests can weaken the orchid’s vitality to such an extent that it causes the flowers to wither as a reaction. Look on both sides of the leaf to see if your specimen has been visited by animals. Take appropriate measures to get rid of the pests as quickly as possible.

  • Rinse the orchid with water
  • isolate from other plants
  • use natural insecticide based on neem oil
  • for scale insects: wipe leaves with alcohol

As soon as the general condition of the orchid has stabilized, the next flowers will follow in due course. So that these are not caused to wither prematurely by pests, you should regularly check your plant for infestation in the future and take suitable measures in good time.

Cut dead flowers?

Faded flowers are not a pretty sight, but is it useful for the plant to cut straight away? At least it is not detrimental to the orchids. But when individual flowers are clearly withered and dry, they can easily be plucked by hand. Cutting is not necessary at all. You can also just wait for dead flowers to fall off on their own.
However, they should not cut the stem on which the faded flowers were attached. If this is not completely dry itself, it can sprout a new flower stem at a later point in time. Especially with the popular Phalaenopsis, cutting the flower stalk is generally not recommended.

When it comes to orchids, what matters most is their beautiful flowers. However, care errors and pests can wilt them prematurely. So that this does not happen a second time, possible causes must be found and eliminated. This should be done quickly, because the damage does not have to stop at withered flowers.

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