Why Are My Orchid Flowers Wilting And Falling Off

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:30 pm

For over 2,500 years, these noble beauties have captivated people. Today they are widespread throughout the world. For many lovers orchid is considered the “queen of flowers”. Normally, these plants are quite easy to care for. For some time now, they have also found their way into many living rooms. There orchids are very often found on windowsills, but not all like this place. Quickly, in unfavorable conditions and improper care, the flowers can dry up and eventually fall off.

Why do orchids lose the buds and flowers?

Normally, orchids delight with their beautiful filigree flowers for a relatively long period of time before they dry and eventually fall off. Sometimes, however, it can happen that the flowers wither after a short time after their appearance, or even still unopened buds, and eventually fall off. There can be various causes for this, starting with normal flowering, through care errors, to pest infestation. Before appropriate remedial measures are taken, it is necessary to clarify exactly why this flower wilting occurs.


  • incipient dormancy
  • lack of light
  • cold temperatures
  • dry heating air / lack of humidity
  • change of location
  • dryness
  • waterlogging
  • wrong substrate
  • fresh fruit in the vicinity
  • extreme solar radiation
  • pest infestation

Why Are My Orchid Flowers Wilting And Falling Off

If all the flowers dry at the same time, it can usually be assumed that there is a care error. Sometimes the buds appear in a shriveled state, the buds do not blossom and dry up prematurely. Bud drop is also due to the fact that optimal care was not provided.

Beginning of dormancy

The dormancy is accompanied by natural wilting, with the shoot tips always wilting last. As a result, the withered flowers then fall off and dormancy begins. This is usually determined by the plant itself, when it begins and ends. Sometimes several months can pass before the plant starts to bloom again. During this time, special care is necessary.

What to do?

Move the plant to a cooler location
Less watering, but substrate must not dry out
Stop fertilizing completely
If the formation of new shoots then occurs, the rest period is over and the orchid must then receive normal care again.

Why Are My Orchid Flowers Wilting And Falling Off

Lack of light

In its natural environment, the orchid grows as a perching plant (epiphyte). With its roots it clings to the branches of high trees or rocks to get as close as possible to the light. For this reason, these plants need to stand brightly even in our country. Especially in autumn, when the days become shorter, there is often a lack of light. This leads to the fact that photosynthesis can no longer be carried out by the plants. The result is that the existing flowers wilt, fall off quickly and hardly any new buds form.

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What to do?

Find a bright location, directly by the window
In winter, from November to early March give a place at the south window
In spring and summer, choose a location at the east or west window (morning and evening sun)
Protect from direct sunlight
Additional installation of daylight lamps or LED plant lamps directly above the flowers
Equip existing energy-saving lamps with reflectors
Use of daylight lamps and fluorescent tubes of light color 865
Lighting duration must be at least eight hours
Tip: There must be sufficient brightness year-round for healthy thriving, but no direct sunlight.

Cold temperatures

Orchid loves it consistently warm

These noble beauties love a warm place with consistent temperatures, as they are used to in their native habitat. Even constant temperature fluctuations of only 5 °C are enough to cause flower shedding. Especially in winter there can be some problems with the care. Leaky windows or too much ventilation can quickly cause the flowers to fall off. In addition, a location directly above the heater does not really tolerate well. Here, the heating air rises, causing drafts, to which an orchid is also very sensitive. A location on the windowsill can also be damaged very quickly by regular airing. The plant then suffers a cold shock due to drafts. Eventually, it will also lose its flowering ability. Caution should also be exercised when purchasing during the winter season, as this can also cause problems and the flowers may fall off prematurely.

What to do.

  • Choose a bright location with constant temperatures between 18 °C and 21 °C.
  • choose
  • Do not allow prolonged temperatures below 15 °C
  • To control the temperature, place a thermometer near the orchid.
  • Avoid location above heating
  • No drafts
  • Do not tilt windows directly at the location of the orchid for ventilation
  • If purchased during winter, transport in transparent boxes or wrap thickly with newspaper
Why Are My Orchid Flowers Wilting And Falling Off

Tip: If buds or flowers do not form, however, it is advisable to lower the temperature during the night by 5 °C for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. This will stimulate the growth of flower stalks.

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Orchids originate from regions with high humidity. The daily rainfall in the rainforests creates a warm and humid climate, which the plants also want on the windowsill. They feel comfortable at a relative humidity between 40 and 60 %. A drop below 40% or even an increase above 80% should always be avoided. Otherwise, the plants would react with various symptoms, including flower shedding.

What to do?

  • Avoid change of location
  • Fill a saucer with expanded clay and water.
  • Spray daily with lukewarm, lime-free water
  • In winter, place filled water bowls on heaters
  • Set up electronic humidifiers in the immediate vicinity

Change of location

As a rule, orchids are considered to be particularly site-faithful. A one-time relocation does not bother the plants. However, a constant change of location is always associated with stress and the orchids react with bud and flower drop, as they are not able to quickly adapt to the new conditions.

Tip: A change of location should therefore always take place after the flowering cycle.

Why Are My Orchid Flowers Wilting And Falling Off

Drought and waterlogging

Individual orchid cultivars also have different water requirements. A prolonged drought will result in a lack of nutrients. The first signs are drooping and shriveled leaves, as well as withered flowers and buds. If the aerial roots are still green and plump, then there is still enough moisture. However, if they appear shiny silvery, there is a lack of water.

On the other hand, if too much water is given, waterlogging occurs and the roots begin to rot. They are then brown and muddy. It may be possible to save the plant, but if all the roots are affected, the situation is hopeless.

What to do?

  • Water with room-warm, soft water, if possible rainwater.
  • Do not let water stand in the pots, avoid waterlogging.
  • The bark substrate must be allowed to dry between waterings.
  • In summer, submerge root ball once a week until no more air bubbles rise, let water drip off well
  • Water more sparingly in winter
  • In case of waterlogging, remove lazy roots, repot in new substrate and do not water for 8 to 10 days, only spray with water.

Tip: Special planters are available at specialty stores. Here the culture pot stands over a pedestal. Pot bottom must be filled with water. This prevents waterlogging. The evaporated water mists leaves, buds and flowers.

Wrong substrate

Most orchids live as epiphytes and form aerial roots. With these, moisture and also nutrients are absorbed from the air. In normal potting soil it would not be given and the flowers would dry up, because the roots can not provide a water supply.

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What to do?

  • Repot in special substrate of pine soil, fine-grained humus, expanded clay,
  • lava granules, charcoal ash and sphagnum
  • water and fertilize 1 to 2 days before repotting
  • Unpot the plant without pulling it, carefully remove old substrate
  • Cut off damaged roots
  • Add expanded clay as drainage in pot
  • Insert orchid with twisting motion and then portion the substrate
  • Water for the first time after five days, first fertilizing after four weeks

Fresh fruit
Post-ripening fruit such as pears or apples emit the ripening gas ethylene. This accelerates the aging process of the blossoms. They dry out and fall off. A sweetish odor indicates the presence of the gas.

Tip: A distance of at least one meter from orchids should be maintained or the fruit basket should be completely removed from the room. After a few days, the aging process will be stopped.

Extreme sunlight

Direct sunlight leads to rapid evaporation of water through the leaves. Water shortage occurs, the flowers age prematurely, dry up and are shed.

What to do.

  • Avoidance of blazing midday sun
  • Use of semi-transparent curtains and blinds

Pest infestation

Orchids are not spared from sucking and biting pests either. Their presence leads, among other things, to the weakening of the flowers. They wilt and fall off.

What to do?

  • Isolate affected plants
  • Remove aphids with a damp cloth
  • Then spray leaves and flowers with soft soap solution
  • Dab mealybugs and mealybugs repeatedly with alcohol-soaked cotton swab
  • Alternatively, spray leaves with mixture of 10 ml alcohol, 1 liter water, 1 drop dishwashing liquid
Why Are My Orchid Flowers Wilting And Falling Off


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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