Orchids are genuinely unique plants, reveled over and appreciated by gardeners worldwide.
If you currently have orchids on your window sill, you might gaze at them, wondering, how long does an orchid live?
Though orchids have a reputation for being picky, that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to live for a very long time, as long as they’re taken care of properly.
Staying attentive to your orchid, as well as monitoring its condition regularly, will help it live as long as it possibly can.
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How Long Does an Orchid Live?
Orchids can live for a very long time, but it depends heavily on the care. With proper, attentive care, orchids can live as long as 20 to 22 years. As time passes, you’ll notice weaker foliage and fewer blooms, but they do have a substantial lifespan.
How Long Orchids Take to Grow
All orchids vary when it comes to how long it takes them to mature, and there is no established correlation between how long it takes an orchid to grow and the expected lifespan of that particular orchid.
Ranging from just a few months up to a year, planting an orchid from a seedling will yield different results for many gardeners.
In general, look to expect 8 to 12 months of care before noticing that your orchid is getting ready to bloom.
Also, consider that orchids are perennials, and you can expect them to bloom twice a year, allowing them rest and time to remain dormant.
Allowing Orchid Dormancy
When the blooms fall off of your orchid, it’s not dead! A huge misconception in the gardening world is that a plant is finished when it drops flowers.
This assumption is misguided. Most plants that have stopped blooming have gone into a rest or dormancy period.
You might even notice that the foliage isn’t as green or bright. Your plant is resting. Let it happen.
To encourage regrowth, cut the stem about three nodes from the base of the plant.
This little trick can stimulate your orchid into growing, especially if it’s a healthy plant.
Encouraging Your Orchid to Reach its Lifespan
If you find that your orchids are dying quickly, or you’re interested in helping the ones you currently have reach their potential lifespan, you’re in the right place!
Preventing pests and diseases are two primary components of helping your orchid live long and helping it prosper.
Understanding the Orchids Lifecycle
The life cycle of an orchid is no different than that of any other plant.
The life of an orchid begins at pollination, whether it be natural or manual. From there, a seed is formed.
Now, depending on the type of orchid, it could take up to a year for the seed to mature.
Orchids are not self-sufficient, as they lack endosperm and require a fungus within the soil (in the wild or a garden) to grow.
Outdoor vs. Indoor Orchids
It is possible for outdoor orchids to live longer than those potted indoors, living around 15 years, but can make it to 20 years.
Habitat Plays a Role
The life cycle of an orchid will reflect its location in the world.
Habitat is another factor in how long wild orchids can live, with some reported to be over a century old!
Again, 20 years is the average. It’s unlikely that your potted orchid will live to be 100, but hey, you never know!
Repotting an orchid is a beautiful and easy way to help them live longer. Replanting is a massive relief for an orchid that is too dry, too moist, or flourishing and outgrowing its current container.
If you’re unsure that your orchid needs replanting, refer to the size and condition of the leaves.
If they’re too large for the container they’re currently in or beginning to droop from dehydration; it’s time to move your orchid!
Ensuring they have the space they need to thrive will encourage your orchid to live up to its allotted 20 to 22 years, and maybe even longer!
Treat your orchid just as you would treat any other living thing in your home; with care and respect.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Does an Orchid Live
Why does my orchid keep dying right away?
Orchids can be picky, but if you keep purchasing orchids that are dying rather quickly, it could be because you’re overwatering or underwatering them. Also, sunlight, lack of fertilizer, and pests can be issues for orchids.
How long will my orchid live?
If you fully embrace every aspect of caring for an orchid, you will readily have a plant that lives for 15 to 20 years on your hands, maybe even longer! Stay on top of its care and give the orchid what it needs. When in doubt, consult your local gardening center for advice.
Can I revive my dying orchid?
You can try reviving your orchid, depending on what’s the cause. If it’s a moisture or fertilizer issue, then it’s typically an easy fix. Pests, diseases, and bacteria can be more challenging to manage.
The Lifespan of an Orchid
Orchids have a terrible reputation for not living long at all, but this could not be further from the truth.
To get the best out of your orchid, offer it premium care and plenty of sunlight. Then, don’t be surprised if it becomes your longest living plant!
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.