Orchids: flowers fall off - what to do?


Your orchid flowers are falling off and you are wondering why? Care errors are often the cause of the flowers falling off.

© igorkorsunsky / When orchids (Orchidaceae) bloom, the joy is great, but the exhilaration is not always lasting. It is not uncommon for the buds to dry up and the flowers to be thrown off. If the easy-care plant suddenly creates problems, there is often perplexity. However, there is not always cause for concern because the flowers that are thrown off are in the nature of the plant. The following guide provides information about the causes of the blooming and reveals how you can maintain the bloom of your favorite plants for a long time.


  • 1 Orchid flowers fall off - causes
  • 2 maintenance errors as the cause of falling flowers
    • 2.1 beachten Note the resting phase!
    • 2.2 anpassen Adjust lighting conditions!
    • 2.3 vermeiden Avoid temperature fluctuations!
    • 2.4 sorgen Ensure humidity!
    • 2.5 beibehalten Maintain location!
    • 2.6 ❻ Keep clear of fruit!
    • 2.7 anpassen Adjust casting behavior!
    • 2.8 kontrollieren Check substrate!
    • Combat pests!

Orchid flowers fall off - causes

Most orchid flowers last for several weeks until they dry up and fall off. If the pretty, filigree flowers fall off shortly after blooming or if the plant even loses its buds, this can have different causes. Before appropriate measures are taken, it is important to find out the cause of the wilting or the budding.

The following causes can be considered:

  • Start of the rest phase
  • dryness
  • waterlogging
  • cold
  • air drought
  • relocation
  • wrong substrate
  • heat
  • pests
  • Fruit near the plants

Care errors as the cause of falling flowers

Most of the time, the falling flowers indicate care errors and can be understood as an alarm signal. Appropriate measures should be taken as soon as possible, otherwise the damage can worsen and lead to the shrinking of the plant.

❶ Note the resting phase!

In a special case, there is no cause for concern and it is perfectly normal for the orchids to throw off their flowers - namely when the natural resting phase interrupts plant growth.

When the break is initiated, the plants start to wither, regardless of whether they are in bloom or not. First the flowers on the tips of the shoots wilt. Gradually all buds and flowers fall off.

The plants need special care during the resting phase. Orchids do not receive fertilizer during this time and should move to a cooler place. Watering is also reduced. However, the substrate must not dry out.

The plant indicates the end of the rest period by the formation of new shoots. Sometimes the rest phase can last for several months. With the formation of new shoots, the orchid moves to a warmer place and receives the usual care.

❷ Adjust lighting conditions!

Unfavorable lighting conditions are a common reason why the flowers of the orchid fall off. In general, orchids need a lot of light. In particular, the genus Phalaenopsis, which is abundant in our living rooms, should be given a bright stand. The midday sun does not tolerate orchids. Intense sunshine means that the plant evaporates a lot of water through the leaves and is no longer supplied with sufficient moisture. The fall of flowers is a result of this lack of fluid. There is also a risk that the leaves will burn.

In their original environment, orchids grow as epiphytes. The roots are not in the earth, but are stretched towards the light by tree branches or rocky outcrops.

There should always be enough light. Especially in the autumn and winter months there can be a lack of light. The orchids can then not perform their photosynthesis as usual and the flowers wither and are thrown off.

What should I do?

  • choose a bright location
  • Avoid blazing midday sun
  • Avoid location at the south window in summer
  • extend the duration of lighting in winter with daylight lamps

❸ Avoid temperature fluctuations!

© OlegDoroshin / In order for orchids to bloom profusely, they need constant temperatures. Even temperature fluctuations in the range of +/- 5 degrees Celsius can be enough to throw off the flowers.

In winter, there is a particularly high risk of blooming due to temperature differences. Leaky windows and ventilation on cold days can be enough to trigger the flowers to fall off.

Orchids don't like a place above the heating. There the heating air rises and there is a draft, to which orchids can react with falling leaves. Constant draft leads to a cold shock. It is advisable to monitor the temperature at the flower window.

What should I do?

  • Ensure constant temperatures
  • Attach thermometer for temperature monitoring
  • Avoid temperature fluctuations of more than five degrees
  • Temperature should not drop below 15 degrees
  • Avoid draft
  • Do not place orchids over the heater
  • Do not ventilate directly at the flower window
  • Be careful when buying orchids in winter

Tip: Be careful when buying orchids in winter. The plants may have already experienced a cold shock and shed the flowers shortly after purchase.

Optimal temperatures for popular orchid species

Orchid ArtDaily temperature in degreesNight temperature in degrees
Phalaenopsis20 to 2518 to 25
Vanda25 to 2720 to 22
Cattleya25 to 3018 to 22
Miltonia17 to 2215 to 20
Dendrobium20 to 2518 to 22

❹ Ensure humidity!

© Goffkein / Humidity is high in the natural home of orchids. The tendency to rain in the rainforests is high. In order to ensure these conditions approximately on the windowsill, a humidity of between 40 and 60 percent must be ensured. If the air humidity is too low or too high, falling flowers are a typical reaction.

What should I do?

  • Spray plants daily
  • Fill coasters with water
  • Water bowls on the heater (in winter)
  • Installation of humidifiers
  • Check the humidity regularly

❺ Maintain location!

Orchids love a firm stand. If the plants are transported to a cooler location during the resting phase, this is easily tolerated. However, a permanent change of location should be avoided. The fall of flowers can be understood as a stress reaction of the plant.

Tip: A change of location should only be made after flowering.

❻ Keep your distance from fruit!

If the orchid is placed next to a fruit bowl, flowering is preprogrammed. Few flower lovers are aware of this fact, but it is easy to explain. Ethylene is released from apples, pears and other ripening fruits. The ripening gas also accelerates the ripening process for orchid flowers. The flowers are dropped prematurely and dry up quickly.

Tip: A fruit basket should be at least one to two meters from the orchid.

❼ Adjust casting behavior!

© Руслан Галиуллин / The water requirements of the different types of orchids vary. Plants generally cannot tolerate prolonged drought and result in a lack of nutrients. This manifests itself in the form of sagging leaves and dried buds and flowers.

Tip: If the roots have a silvery sheen, watering is urgent.

Orchids are watered more frequently in summer. Here, the diving method proven. The plant pot is placed in a water bath for a few minutes each week. However, the plants should not be in the water for too long, otherwise there is a risk of heart failure. In winter, orchids can be dipped every two to three weeks.

Tap water is not tolerated by orchids. The high content of lime and salts does not meet the nutritional needs of the plants. Orchids should be watered with soft, lime-free water.

If the leaves have turned yellow and the flowers are thrown off, it was probably watered with calcareous tap water. It is advisable to repot the orchid and thoroughly remove the calcified substrate. It will take some time for the plant to regenerate and develop new buds and flowers.

If irrigation has been exaggerated, waterlogging occurs. The blooming is then accompanied by brownish-colored and rotting root sections. Most plants can still be saved by transplanting quickly. However, if the entire roots are affected, all help comes too late.

What should I do?

  • pour with soft water
  • preferably use rainwater
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • Dive the plant regularly
  • Water more often in summer
  • irrigate more economically in winter
  • Replace substrate

❽ Check substrate!

© maryviolet / Flowers often fall off in orchids because they are cultivated in conventional potting soil. This is not necessarily a flower friend's care mistake alone. Many plants are already commercially available in this substrate.

Most orchids common in this country are aerial roots. They get moisture and nutrients from the air through their roots. If the roots are sunk into potting soil, they are literally deprived of air to breathe.

What should I do?

The plants must be repotted immediately.

Proceed as follows:

  • Water and fertilize the orchid a few days before repotting
  • Pot the plant carefully
  • Remove potting soil as much as possible
  • Remove damaged roots
  • Create drainage from expanded clay
  • Place the orchid in a suitable substrate

A mixture of expanded clay, pine bark, humus and charcoal ash is suitable for the species-appropriate cultivation of orchids. After transplanting, about a week should pass before the orchid is watered again. After one month, fertilizer can be applied.

Fight pests!

© maryviolet / If there is pest infestation, the plants are generally weakened. The flowers cannot be held and fall off.
pestHarmingroot cause

Red spider
  • white dots on the underside of the sheet
  • Webs are visible
  • dryness
  • low humidity
  • weakened plant

  • Deformation and death of leaves and flowers
  • low humidity

Scale and mealybugs
  • Dying leaves and flowers
  • dryness
  • low humidity
  • weakened plant

What should I do?

If care errors are avoided, orchids are rarely attacked by pests. Increasing the air humidity by spraying regularly helps with pest infestation. White oil-based sprays help with infestation with the red spider. Treatment with garlic stock or horsetail broth can also curb mild infestation. Insecticides are effective for more pests.