All the flowers fell off my orchid plant: what do I do?

Written by mary love
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All the flowers fell off my orchid plant: what do I do?
Many factors can cause flowers to drop prematurely from the orchid plant. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Orchids display exotic blooms on long, graceful stocks. They are native to the rainforest, where they grow on the bark of trees. With minimal care they can thrive in pots of specially formulated bark chips and enjoyed in the home. Orchid blooms can last a few weeks to a few months before the plants naturally drop their flowers and enter a dormant period, then bloom again. All orchids drop their flowers, but if your flowers are not opening, or they are dropping from the stalk before the blooming cycle should be over, you need to check the conditions that may be affecting your plant.

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Temperature

A wide swing in temperatures can cause the blooms from your orchid to drop before the blooming cycle should end. The most common orchids are comfortable in the same temperatures that people enjoy: 21.1 to 26.6 degrees C during the day and 15.5 to 18.3 degrees C in the evening. Take care not to let the temperature around your orchid drop below 15 degrees C, and keep the plant out of cold drafts. This includes the ride home from the store.

Check the Fertilizer

If your flowers are dropping off the stalk too quickly, it may be that your plant is not being properly fertilised. Your orchid needs to be fed a very dilute solution of fertiliser formulated especially for orchids. Mix the fertiliser with water according to directions. Use a very weak solution to water your orchid. After four to seven waterings, use plain water to avoid an accumulation of fertiliser, which will damage your plant.

Watering

Make certain you are not over-watering or under-watering your orchid. Either can cause premature dropping of blossoms. Generally an orchid needs to be watered every five to 12 days. The frequency of watering depends on the type of orchid, the season and the length of the days. Longer days with more sunlight require more frequent watering. After blooming the plant is dormant and requires less frequent watering. Check with your finger to see if the bark in the centre of your pot is dry. If it is, water your plant. Hold it over the sink and allow the water to drain out of the bottom so that the roots do not sit in water and rot.

Lighting

One of the most common reasons for a plant dropping all of its flowers is its being placed in extremely low lighting. Orchids do best when placed in a spot that gets bright indirect lighting. Don't place your orchid in direct sunlight, though. This will burn the leaves and weaken the plant, which can also cause flowers to drop.

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