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Hello to our Plantly friends! We all know how you adore our orchids with their exuberant blooms. But the problem is the gorgeous flower spike is starting to droop, and the flower falls off.
Most likely, your plant has already completed its blooming cycle and is now entering hibernation. This period is known as dormancy which is a resting phase for orchids before their next bloom.
If it’s not yet time to go dormant, falling flowers can be a result of many factors. To find out more about the orchid’s life cycle, it helps to understand the stages of how your plant develops.
Orchids Life Cycle
Understanding the orchid’s life cycle can help you determine why the flowers are falling off. Your orchid has six stages in its life cycle. Let’s look at each step to see what events can be expected to occur.
The first stage is the seeds shed by the mature orchid are successfully pollinated. It can take years for the seed to grow.
Then, you have the germination period where the seeds need to be kept warm and moist with little light. It can take up to six months before the seeds start to germinate. If successfully, germinated seeds will start to sprout. It’s important to note, though, that the seeds germinate with the help of fungi in the wild.
Growing orchids can take up to five years. It starts with the roots, then a stem with a new leaf that absorbs light then more leaves develop. Eventually, flowers will develop.
As a mature plant, it starts to develop buds, and once it flowers, the plant is ready to reproduce. So, your orchid will have male and female reproductive organs.
As you know, the most beautiful part is the appearance of flower spikes. The enticing bright colors attract pollinators like birds and butterflies to spread the pollen. Hence, cross-pollination takes place.
When pollinated, the petals close, and the development of a seed pod takes place. Once the pods develop, the flower drops them to the ground, where the cycle starts over again.
So, if the flowers are not pollinated (which seldom happens in a home), it has a different growth cycle. The orchid will follow the same steps until reaching the reproduction stage and wait for the bloom cycle to end, dropping the flower and going into dormancy. Your orchid will appear lifeless as no new growth takes place and needs little water.
Hence, the orchid flowers fall off as it is going dormant to rest and will produce more roots to bloom again.
Why Are My Orchid Flowers Falling Off?
Now that you know how the lifecycle of your orchid works, it’s also crucial to know how long different orchid species bloom. The Phalaenopsis orchid can bloom for up to three months. Orchids like the Cattleyas can spend a month in bloom. However, the duration also depends on the plant’s health and the species.
Another exciting thing is that most orchids can go into a dormant stage for six weeks before growing again. Hence, you only notice one bloom a year. However, your Phalaenopsis orchid does not go into a dormant stage and can produce two or three flowers in a year.
So, if orchid flowers fall from the spike as it has not yet reached their dormant stage, you can look at the following concerns.
Phalaenopsis Orchids Flowers Falling Off Stem
Flowers falling off the stem can be natural as it is completing their natural bloom cycle. But if the flowers fall off a brown stem, this is a reason for concern. If the stems turn brown, they can benefit from a prune. It is a sign of a dying plant, but there is nothing to fear.
It means that your orchid flowers are no longer using that part. If the stem is bare, you can remove it completely using sterilized gardening shears. Next, cut the bottom where the branch reaches the plant base.
Doing this will help your orchid plant focus its energy on new growth to give your orchid a better chance of flowering.
Leaves Turning Yellow and Orchid Flowers Falling Off
Drooping orchid blooms can be expected, but it is a concern if you notice the leaves turning yellow. The likelihood is that you have overwatered your orchid plant. There is a chance your orchid is waterlogged.
We recommend you check the root system for signs of root rot. The damaged roots will look green, brown, or black. In addition, you may find them soft and mushy. To keep your outdoor plant alive, remove your orchid from its pot, cut the dying roots, and leave it to dry before repotting.
Another helpful thing is to use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water to sterilize the open roots. This will speed up the healing process. Finally, we recommend planting your orchid in a well-draining yet airy soil.
Another reason that orchid leaves turn yellow is from too much light. While the flower spike enjoys bright spots, it does not want direct sunlight. Moving your orchid flower into a location with filtered sunlight can help.
Also, remember to mist the roots often to create a humid environment but not too wet. Cold is another concern for orchid blooms to fall from a stem with yellow leaves. While temperature drops at night inform an orchid, it is time to bloom. The constant cold has a negative response.
An ideal temperature for orchid flower buds is as follows:
65°F – 85° F/18.3° 24.9° C Winter lows between 65°F – 70°F/18°-21° C Summer highs around 85° F/29° C
60ºF – 80°F/15.5°-26.6°C Winter lows of 58°F – 62°F/14.4°-16.6°C Summer highs in low 80°F/27° C
50°F – 75° F / 10° – 23.9° C Winter lows around 50°F/10°C Summer highs around 80°F/26.6° C
Yet, it depends on the type of orchid you have, as some are warm, cool, and intermediate growers.
Yellow Stem With Flowers Falling
When it is time for the flower spike to drop blooms, it is not uncommon to see a yellow stem. When the stem starts to turn yellow and withers, you can remove it at the base as it will not bloom again.
Orchid Buds Falling Before Blooming
A flower that falls before it blooms is unnatural and is referred to as a bud blast. It can happen for many reasons. The main reason is that your tropical indoor plants are stressed. You will also notice the leaves drooping, resulting from a sudden relocation, drastic temperature fluctuations, chemicals present in the air, and temperature shock.
Luckily a stressed plant is only temporary when it feels stressed by a sudden relocation from one room to another. The same applies to temperature drops and can happen from an open window, fireplace, air conditioner, standing outside longer than it should, direct sun, or a draft.
All of these can result in a bud blast, and even chemicals in the air from perfume, gas leaks, air fresheners, etc., can result in stress resulting in an orchid bud blast. Even water temperature shock can cause an orchid bloom to fall.
Hence, it helps to provide your orchid with room temperature water that is not too hot or cold.
Phalaenopsis Orchid Blooms Falling Off Suddenly
If your blooming orchid starts losing its flowers suddenly, it can be a concern if it is not nearing the end of the blooming cycle. Yet, sometimes a sudden drop of flowers can be expected. If the bloom cycle is only starting or halfway through, your orchid is stressed.
We recommend you check your plant’s surroundings, check for open windows nearby, and keep your orchid bloom away from a fruit bowl on a table. This might sound strange, but fruit releases ethylene gas when it ripens and can cause all the flowers on your plant to drop.
Prematurely Flowers Fall Off
Now, if your orchid is in its blooming cycle, but the flowers fall off before the time, it is not a good sign. Your plant is going into early dormancy, and best to try and save it. It can also be from a bacteria or mite and helps to look at the following.
Root rot is a common illness caused by overwatering and can happen with too porous soil, too little light, cold temperatures, or a container that it cannot breathe. The best is to remove your plant’s damaged roots and repot it in well-draining soil.
Underwatering can also cause flower stems to lose buds early in the blooming period. So, please give it a good soak to help save your plant.
Wrapping It Up
Yes, your orchid is a sensitive plant, and the flower spikes are prone to stress with the slightest changes found in their surroundings. If the blooms drop, it can be normal or a sign of danger. We hope the information helps you determine the leading cause of the orchid bloom loss.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!