Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

With its flowers, the orchid in all its variations is a hit in German living rooms and is particularly impressive because of its striking shape. New buds are formed every year so that the Orchidaceae can present its flowering again. But it can happen that the buds dry up and then fall off due to mistakes in care. Without the buds, no flowers will be able to form, which should be avoided at all costs.


Causes of loss of buds

When orchids lose their buds, this usually indicates a fault in the location or the climatic conditions at the location. Errors in care are the cause here less frequently, but also cannot be ruled out. If you notice that the buds of the Orchidaceae are already beginning to dry up, you should definitely find out the cause and take action. The following causes are typical for the drying up of the buds.

  • relocation
  • cold draft
  • heating air
  • blazing midday sun
  • too little light
  • lack of water
  • low humidity
  • wrong substrate
  • ethylene
  • pests


Relocation can be harmful

Like many tropical plants, orchids are sedentary plants that do not like to get used to a new environment. If the location had to be changed for reasons of care or other problems, you should take care to allow a suitable location for the plant. This should ideally correspond to the previous location or have the following characteristics.

  • bright
  • no direct sunlight
  • Avoid temperature fluctuations
  • Avoid drafts

This should help the orchid to recover and then bud again. However, since a loss of buds is often accompanied by a failure of flowering, do not be surprised if flowers do not appear until the following season.


Avoid cold shock from drafts

Cold is never good for an orchid. Species like Phalaenopsis come from the warm tropical areas with high humidity and can suffer severely from the winter cold if not kept properly. In the cold season, do not place your orchid near windows or doors that are opened frequently and let cold air into the room. The draft has an immediate effect on the sensitive roots, which are exposed in most species. The only thing that helps here is a change of location, away from draughts.

Notice: If you buy an orchid in winter, please pay attention to the type of packaging in which you transport the plant home. Unless wrapped extensively in newspaper or a box, she can lose all of her blooms in just a few minutes in the winter cold.

heating air

Also avoid warm heating air

Just as cold drafts are not ideal for orchids, warm heating air in the immediate vicinity of the orchid should also be avoided. Although this does not result in the death of the shoots, the air is so dry and circulates so strongly in the room that the buds feel like they are in an oven. They dry out and then fall off the shoots. You can avoid these problems by placing the plant away from a heater or, if possible, not turning it on over the winter.


Humidity for sufficient water supply

Orchids absorb moisture from the air, even the buds. It is therefore important, especially in winter, to guarantee a sufficiently high level of humidity, which should be between 50 and 60 percent. In winter, this often falls below 40 percent, which is also uncomfortable for people and is reflected in dry, cracked skin. The air humidity can be increased by various measures, as shown below.

  • Spray the plant with soft water (lime-free) every day
  • Fill bowls with water and place on the heater
  • use a humidifier
  • Fill saucers with a mixture of water and expanded clay, which causes permanent evaporation that increases the moisture in the immediate vicinity of the plant


Avoid water shortage

The lack of water in orchids is shown by silvery shiny roots and the drying out of the leaves, buds and shoots. Since the lack of water is difficult to read from the substrate, you have to look at the roots in particular. A lack of water can be compensated for very quickly. Simply use an immersion bath and let the flower stay there for about 20 minutes. Depending on the species, the amount of water required differs and for some varieties simply spraying the leaves is sufficient.


The right light is crucial

Species like Phalaenopsis depend on a good supply of light and two things are particularly important to note.

  • enough light
  • no blazing sun over midday

The tropical plant requires a large amount of light and therefore receives extra care in winter so that it does not suffer from a lack of light, which in itself should not be a problem in summer. If your orchid is too dark, it cannot carry out important metabolic processes and will die. The buds dry up first, followed by the leaves and shoots.

Compensate for a lack of light as follows:

  • from March to October it is placed in a window with a lot of sun
  • during the winter time it is placed on the south window
  • Attach the LED grow light/daylight lamp over the orchid
  • Fluorescent tubes can also be used
  • increase the amount of light using suitable reflectors

In this way, the plant receives enough light over the winter to be able to carry out photosynthesis. In contrast, the blazing midday sun is a completely different problem. This creates a form of sunburn that the buds cannot tolerate and then die from the extreme amount of light. Here it is best to choose a shade to protect the orchid on the balcony, window sill or terrace from too much sun.


The wrong substrate was chosen

For orchid newcomers, the question of the right substrate is often confusing and initially fraught with many failures. There are a great many types of orchids on the market, with the moth orchid being the most common. It prefers a loose orchid substrate and is often wrongly offered in pots with soil. Soil is used exclusively for the terrestrial orchids and can be fatal to epiphytic orchids that have open roots. If you buy an orchid, repot it immediately if it is in soil or an unsuitable substrate for the variety.


What is ethylene and why is it harmful to orchids?

Ethylene is a growth regulator of numerous plants, including many types of fruit such as apples, bananas, citrus fruits or potatoes and onions. This gas is produced by the appropriate species and is colorless and odorless. Due to the composition of ethylene, the orchid matures faster and the buds dry up due to the aging process. This is quickly remedied if you store the appropriate food at least one meter away from the orchid, because the gas does not reach that far. Fruit trees are also affected by this rule.


fight pests

In the case of a pest infestation, the buds, shoots and leaves are particularly affected, as they are supplied with nutrients via plant sap. Pests such as spider and grease mites or aphids feed on these. If you notice that your orchid is covered with white webs, similar to cobwebs, you should isolate the plant so that the mites do not spread to other specimens. Then proceed as follows.

Mealybugs and mealybugs on an orchid flower
  • wipe the plant thoroughly with a damp cloth to remove aphids
  • spray the leaves and shoots with soft soap solution
  • Cotton swabs, which you soak in alcohol beforehand, are effective against all types of mites, with the swabs dabbing off the pests
  • treat the top and bottom of the leaves, this is the only way for the buds to recover
  • then rinse the plant thoroughly with water and repeat the process until the infestation is gone

Tip: Australian ladybirds (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri) are a perfect protection against mites and are sold in specialist shops. These are released in a closed room including the orchid and take care of the pests.

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!