If the graceful orchid stops growing and the shoots turn yellow or brown, it is usually due to a care error. The new shoots usually grow after flowering and the following rest period to form more, new flowers. Here, however, the high-maintenance orchid must be well supported, otherwise it may not develop further. Even a single mistake in the care here can lead to stunting.
Orchid does not continue to grow
If the orchid had developed a beautiful flower and then went to rest, the graceful plant should actually develop new shoots after this rest period. However, if these turn yellow or brown and the orchid stops growing, then it is usually due to the care. One or more mistakes have been made here, which now need to be found and corrected. If the new shoot turns brown, then it is usually due to the following:
- wrong location
- wrong watering
- wrong fertilizing
- container too small
- wrong cutting
- neglected leaf care
Orchids need the optimal location to form new shoots after the dormant period. But even the location during the dormant period is important for the formation of new shoots. Therefore, if they turn yellow or brown and the orchid stops growing, the location must be checked. This looks like the following:
- during dormancy cooler temperatures
- as soon as new shoots appear, place warmer
- very bright but still off-sun
- no midday sun
- temperature between 20 °C and 25 °C
- at cold temperatures the new shoots change color
If temperatures and brightness are not right, the plant should be moved immediately, even if many changes of location should actually be avoided. Perhaps it can then still succeed in the current growing year to stimulate the plant to grow again.
Tip: Do not despair if the orchid does not produce any new shoots that year despite a new location. Just continue with the care and use the ideal location directly next year. The plant could recover this way and also grow again.
If the location is already chosen optimally, then it can also be due to the wrong watering that the decorative flower does not grow a new shoot or it discolors immediately. The cause here could be two mistakes, too much or too little moisture. Orchids need to be watered very carefully and tolerate better when exposed to high humidity of at least 60%. Then they can absorb the water through the leaves and the roots are not stressed. Therefore, when watering should pay attention to the following:
- Place bowls with water around the plant.
- for orchids it is also advisable to use a humidifier
- this can be set to the optimum humidity level
- Only immerse orchids, do not water from above
- use soft, lukewarm water for this purpose
- do not use tap water which contains too much lime
- in case of waterlogging, remove the orchid pot immediately
- Let the roots dry
- remove all damaged roots
- next time spray only leaves and aerial roots
Note: It is enough for the plant if you dip it briefly once a week, after that the water must be able to drip off well. In addition, it is recommended to spray the plants daily on aerial roots and leaves.
If the plant is not supplied with fertilizer immediately after the dormant period, then no new shoot will appear, or only a stunted, discolored one. The orchid will not continue to grow. This is because orchids need sufficient nutrients at the right time to continue thriving. Ideally, liquid fertilizer for orchids from the handelt is used here, because it is already composed so that all the necessary nutrients are included. If you want to make your own fertilizer, you must pay close attention to the ingredients, otherwise this can also lead to discolored shoots. When fertilizing, therefore, for proper care should pay attention to the following:
- start immediately after the dormant period
- fertilize every four weeks
- with liquid fertilizer
- pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions
- until the end of the growth and flowering period
Tip: If you have forgotten to fertilize, you should start as soon as you notice that the orchid is showing brown or yellow shoots. Most likely, the plant will not sprout any more flowers that year, yet it should not be disposed of, but should continue to be cared for as usual in order to be already prepared for next year.
Pot too small
Also directly after the dormancy period, the planting container should be checked. Because if the orchids do not have enough space, then it can also come here to brown or yellow shoots and a growth stop. If the pot is too small, the plant must be repotted. The need for repotting manifests itself as follows:
- Aerial roots protrude over edge
- Roots grow through bottom opening
- carefully remove the orchid from the container
- remove dead bulbs
- so new shoots can develop better
- completely remove old substrate from roots
- put new, fresh substrate into new pot
- Put the orchid back into the pot
Note: The above bulbs are thickened parts of the shoots, in which the orchids store nutrients and water. From this sprout the new flower stalks and leaves. If some of the bulbs are dead, they should be removed to make room for new ones.
Most often it is the multi-shoot Phalaenopsis orchids that are purchased, as these varieties are often sold in supermarkets. This type of orchid has the advantage, especially for beginners, that it does not take a break from flowering and therefore does not need a rest period. Nevertheless, it can come to a wrong cut and thus a yellow or brown discolored shoot formation is favored. Therefore, especially with this type of orchid, attention should be paid to the following:
- new shoots appear when flowers wilt
- do not cut off withered stems
- lateral stems develop on these
- these begin to bud and bloom
- upper part of the stem dries up
- may be removed up to the branching
- in other species the whole stem can be removed
- form flowers only on new shoots
- dried parts may always be removed
Note: If you purchased orchids as a beginner, then it is usually the variety Phalaenopsis. Ask about proper care directly at the time of purchase or see the care instructions here, which are usually printed on the pot or on an enclosed care tag.
Leaf care neglected
The leaves and their care should also not be neglected. This is because it is through them that the plant absorbs needed and important moisture from the air to be able to form new shoots. Therefore, if the new shoots are brown or yellow, but the care of the orchid is otherwise correct, then the cause of the susceptible orchid may also be the neglected leaves. Therefore, for leaf care and also for first aid in the event of a growth stop, proceed as follows:
- regularly wipe dust from the leaves
- also other debris
- use a damp, soft cloth
- do not use water containing lime
- gives new lime deposits on the leaves
- work very carefully
Tip: If the leaves of your orchids should not only be clean but also shine beautifully, you can still polish them carefully with the inside of a banana peel after cleaning. However, this has only optical effects and no caring ones.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.