So you got your orchid while it was in bloom, and now you are wondering why it doesn’t send you another spike.
There are many reasons that an orchid doesn’t flower. Contrary to the unwarranted reputation, orchids are very hard to kill, at least in my opinion. However, it’s not uncommon for them to sit around with no flowers if they are not provided with a good environment.
Without looking at your orchid, I would suggest you pay attention to these three reasons.
1) Your orchid does not receive enough light. Even the least light-demanding orchids, such as Phalaenopsis, require light to flower. It’s not to say that they need direct sunlight; in fact, they very much don’t. Strong indirect light or soft morning sun is ideal.
One way to tell if your orchid plant receives enough light is to look at its leaves. While dark green leaves look beautiful to the untrained eyes, a healthy orchid that gets sufficient light should have light green leaves.
To rectify this problem, you should gradually increase the light level. Do not suddenly place it under much stronger light, as that may burn the leaves.
2) Your orchid has root rot. Overwatering is one way to cause the roots of your orchids to rot, and the orchid then has nothing to absorb water with.
When I say overwatering, I don’t mean you pour too much water in the pot. In fact, you always should pour water down the pot until water comes out in the bottom, so that minerals and fertilizers can be washed out. What I mean is that you water too frequently without letting the medium gets a little dryer in between watering.
Another way that causes root rot is over-fertilizing. If you use too much fertilizer, the roots will get chemical burn and die back.
To tell whether root rot is the culprit, check out the leaves and the roots. Your orchid’s leaves may shrivel due to its lack of ability to absorb water. For chemical burn, the tips of the leaves would be burnt. You may think that they are sunburnt, but if only the tips are burned, they actually are caused by chemicals.
Even if the leaves look perfect, the root still could be the problem. Push some of the potting medium aside to check if they roots are still intact. Don’t yank the whole plant out to check. Be gentle. Black and brown hollow roots mean they are dead.
If root rot is the problem, you will need to repot your plant. Follow the instruction on repotting orchids.
3) Your orchid needs more time. Unlike other plants that you might be used to growing, orchids don’t flower as much. It’s very common for an orchid to flower only once a year. Newly developed hybrids might flower two or three times a year, but that doesn’t happen for every orchid.
So even under perfect care in the perfect environment, you can’t expect your orchid to send you new spike every month.
Of course there could be other reasons that your orchid doesn’t send you flowers. For example, it might need a drop of night temperature, or it needs a shorter day/longer night to initiate spikes. But I would start with the three main causes above.
← Orchid Growing FAQs