Discover the top 5 things killing your orchid plants (and find out what to do instead).
It’s an exciting day when you welcome an orchid into your home. If you’re like most orchid growers, you’ve probably had the perfect spot picked out for your orchid for quite a while, and you’ve long been anticipating an orchid’s pink or purple blooms brightening up your office or living room.
It can be deeply disappointing, then, when you notice your new plant wilting, browning at the edges, or dropping its blooms early.
If your orchid is showing signs of distress, don’t panic. There are a few key ways your care routine might be accidentally killing your orchid. And most of them are easily remedied.
Below, you’ll learn the 5 common orchid-care blunders that can quickly kill your orchid and how to avoid them so you can watch your plant thrive for years to come.
Mistake #1: Your orchid is positioned in direct sunlight.
Most houseplants, like succulents, enjoy full sunlight and thrive when they’re positioned on south-facing windowsills. Orchids, however, are quite sensitive to direct light conditions, so it’s easy to accidentally kill an orchid by putting it in a sunny spot.
When positioning your orchid, keep in mind that in the wild, orchids grow under thick tropical canopies and enjoy dappled sunshine. It’s best to position your orchid in a room with ample indirect light so your plant can soak up vital sun rays without becoming damaged.
How to fix it: If your orchid’s leaves are turning red or appear bleached, simply move your plant to a spot a few feet back from the window. If the damage is minimal, your plant will quickly begin the healing process and boast thick green leaves in no time.
Mistake #2: Your orchid’s environment is too cold.
In the right temperature conditions, orchids grow and bloom effortlessly. But in an environment that’s too cold, orchids can suffer stunted growth and wilting blooms.
If your orchid is showing signs of distress, consider moving it to a warmer spot—but be sure to avoid positioning your plant next to heating vents or radiators. Generally, the optimal temperature for an orchid is between 60-75°F (16-24°C).
How to fix it: Check the temperature needs of your orchid type before making permanent adjustments. For some orchid types, moving the orchid to a cooler room at night, such as a basement, can promote plant growth and stimulate bloom.
Mistake #3: You aren’t using a humidity tray.
Most orchids are tropical or subtropical varieties and enjoy rainforest conditions. This means maintaining proper humidity levels should be a part of your orchid care routine.
If your orchid’s leaves start curling inward or its blooms unexpectedly drop, consider misting your plant lightly and keeping it on top of a full humidity tray. Your plant will absorb the moisture in the air through microscopic stomata pores along its leaves and return to its healthy state quickly.
How to fix it: You can buy a commercial humidity tray for your orchid, or you can make your own with a saucer and a handful of river stones.
Mistake #4: You’re watering your orchid too often.
Over-watering is the number-one way to accidentally kill your orchid. Like most epiphytic plants, orchids have unique root systems that are highly susceptible to root rot. And if your orchid’s roots are compromised, it can’t absorb vital nutrients from its potting mix.
As a general orchid-watering rule, always err on the side of under-watering. Keeping an eye on the root system can pay dividends too. If your orchid’s roots are turning brown or appear mushy, you’re watering too much.
How to fix it: If you’re over-watering your orchid, it will drop its buds, and—what’s worse—it may be close to dying. It’s important to trim off any mushy roots, repot your plant into fresh well-draining orchid potting mix, and pull pack on your watering routine.
Mistake #5: You’re using a multipurpose garden fertilizer.
Like all plants, orchids need food and nourishment to bloom and thrive indoors. But regular fertilizers can be too harsh on your orchid’s delicate root system and can easily burn your plant.
The best orchid fertilizer will use a gentle formula specifically designed for orchid care. Look for an orchid fertilizer that’s gentle enough to be safely applied every time you water.
How to fix it: If you’re looking for the perfect orchid fertilizer, we recommend our easy-to-use Premium Orchid Food. We’ve diluted the standard orchid fertilizer ratio so you can safely fertilize your orchid at every watering without burning its roots. Our fertilizer spray is formulated to supply the correct nutrients to your orchids and requires no mixing or measuring. Just spray and watch those blooms explode!
A Recap: 5 Things Killing Your Orchid
There you have it! You’ve learned 5 common things killing your orchid and how to avoid them.
Here’s a quick recap so you can adjust your care routine today:
- If your orchid is in direct sunlight, move it to a spot with ample indirect light to prevent sunburn.
- If your orchid’s environment is too cold, reposition it in a warmer spot to stimulate new growth and healthy blooms.
- If your orchid isn’t positioned on a humidity tray, invest in a commercial tray or make one at home using a saucer and a handful of river stones.
- If you’re over-watering your orchid, repot your plant in fresh orchid potting mix and pull back on your watering routine.
- If you’re using a traditional fertilizer, stop your feeding routine and get Premium Orchid Food, which is specifically designed to suit your orchid’s unique needs.
If you’re actively nursing your orchid back to health, you might consider keeping a notebook with progress notes on your orchid’s condition. This will help you make effective changes to your care routine that’ll lead to a thriving orchid that you can count on to bloom year after year.