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Why is My Orchid Dying? The Answer

Why is My Orchid Dying? The Answer

The orchid plant is an interesting plant whose flowers can be divided perfectly into two halves since they are symmetrical.

Orchids take approximately 5-7 years to bloom from germination and can live for up to 100 years. They are famous for the beautiful flowers they give.

Sometimes, however, due to underwatering and pests, orchids may begin dying before their time.

This article will examine a few reasons why orchids may start to die and ways to revive them or prevent them from dying.


Why Is My Orchid Dying?

Reasons why an orchid is dying include natural dormancy, sudden environmental changes, poor watering habits, pests and diseases, and poor nutritional care. Some of these causes can be mitigated with early detection and preventive measures.


Causes of Orchid Death

The following are some of the reasons why the Orchid could be dying:


Natural Dormancy

Orchids may go into a period of rest when they’re not blooming. There are three categories of orchids depending on their ability to shed leaves.

These are deciduous, semi-deciduous, and evergreen varieties. Some deciduous types, such as Catasetum and Lycaste orchids, shed all their leaves during dormancy.

However, it’s essential to understand that as much as these varieties are deciduous, they have to maintain a green stem and healthy roots during their dormant state so that they bounce back out of dormancy during the warm growing season.

I usually watch out for these signs to not become concerned for a natural trait of your Orchid.


Sudden Environmental Change

Orchids generally thrive in an environment of 50–90 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures.

A shock from a sudden change in temperature or humidity levels can cause a condition in orchids called bud blast. This is whereby orchid buds turn yellow to signify poor health.

The buds dry out. When I begin to notice yellowing of buds, I might check for the following factors which could have caused this:

  • Extreme temperatures
  • A drop in humidity levels
  • Ethylene gas from propane or kerosene heaters poisons orchid buds.


Poor Watering Habits

Orchids require a balanced watering routine for them to thrive from adequate energy provision die to photosynthesis.

Overwatering can cause waterlogging of the soil, leading to root rot, especially when the soil is poorly drained. The roots turn brown and soggy as they rot.

Underwatering can cause slow growth or gradual death of the Orchid.

In some cases, orchids may have been neglected entirely, in which case the plant starts drying up gradually.


Poor Nutritional Care

The Orchid may also be suffering from a lack of nutrients necessary for the development of the orchid.

Some common nutrients vital for the plant include manganese, phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.

Insufficient nutrients can lead to bud blast, poor root and leaf development, light green shades on leaves, and slow growth in the Orchid.

However, too much fertilizer application could also lead to your orchid plant’s death. This can be seen by scorched leaves, wilting stems, leaves, or gradual dry patches on the branch.

Overfertilizing can also cause salt build-up in the plant and root burning, leading to the Orchid’s death.

The fertilizer may have also not been flushed out well using water.


Pest and Diseases

Orchids do also suffer from pest and disease infestation. The most common orchid pests are mealy bugs which appear as white collections on stems or under leaves.

Orchids are also affected by thrips, aphids, scales, and two-spotted spider mites. These pests can sometimes hide under leaves.

The pests suck nutrients from the plant and can slow down the plant’s growth.

However, in extreme cases, the pests become too much for the plant to handle, and the plant gradually dries up or dies.

Common orchid illnesses include black rot, botrytis, and cold damage. The diseases can cause the death of the plant if not handled early.


6 Signs That Your Orchid Is Dying

To understand whether or not my Orchid is dying, I usually observe the obvious tell-tale signs exhibited by the plant.

I pay attention to the leaves, the flowers, the stems, and the roots. Mostly, these signs do not occur alone and may appear as a combination of two or three characteristics.

I use the following traits to deduce if my Orchid could be dying:


1. Flower Buds Yellowing and Falling Off Before Blooming

This is often the first sign that orchids are unhealthy.

The flowers may just remain as buds, and in extreme cases, rot on the plant and fall off. In other cases, the buds may even fall off while seemingly healthy.


2. Flowers Not Blooming as Expected

The Orchid has unique and beautiful flowers which vary in color. It is said that orchids flower different hues except blue and black.

When the flower color differs from the expected orchid-type flowers, I become sure something is wrong with my plant.

The flowers may bloom in an unexpected shade, or the flowers may have some unusual variegated spots on the flowers.


3. Flower Petals Falling Off Before Being Spent

When an orchid blooms, the flowers can stay on the spikes for up to 12 weeks. If they fall earlier than this, it could be an indicator that the plant is dying.

This occurs typically on most if not all flowers of the plant and happens gradually.


4. Leaves Drooping

The leaves could have weakened stems and achieve a drooping state.


5. Change in Leaf Color

The leaves could become variegated and have scorch marks on their leaf blade. The foliage could also begin drying up and falling off.

This is typically followed by the leaves curling or becoming wrinkled and dying.


6. Drying and Wrinkled Roots

When I insert my hand and dig up a root or some roots of your plant and note that the roots have become dry and are brittle or withered due to lack of moisture, I know then that the orchid has started dying.


Frequently Asked Questions About Why My Orchid Is Dying


How do I prevent my Orchid from beginning to die?

I water frequently and ensure the soil is moist and not soggy. I also apply a quarter of fertilizer occasionally. In addition, I sometimes expose the plant to frequent lighting conditions.


How do I revive my drying orchid plant?

I first identify the problem causing the death of the orchid plant. If it is pests or diseases, I will spray a fungicide or pesticide after consulting an arborist. If the plant-soil is waterlogged, I add pebbles to the bottom of the plant pot and make small holes to drain excess water from the soil. I also check for signs of insufficient nutrients and apply the respective fertilizer.



Orchids are essential as they make our homes more beautiful, and the fragrance they emit is pleasant.

However, we should be concerned when they begin to die.

With these tips, it is now less challenging to understand what is causing the drying up of the orchid so that we can respond adequately.

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