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How Long Do Orchids Rest? Or Is My Orchid Dead?

September 14, 2023

How long do orchids rest? And why? Well, beauty takes effort! Orchids need to get their beauty rest between blooming periods. During this time, which lasts about six to nine months, they replenish nutrients lost during that awe-inspiring, colorful blooming period.

During the vegetative or 'resting' stage of an orchid's life cycle, its blooms fall off and only the bare stalks remain, leading many owners to believe their plants have gone to the great greenhouse in the sky.

But much like Sleeping Beauty, your orchid is probably not dead. Here's how to know for sure.

Is My Orchid 'Resting' or Dead?

It is during the vegetative stage, also called by some as the dormant or resting phase, that many of our customers throw out their perfectly healthy orchid. If you're reading this post, congrats! You may just save a life!

Look for these tell-tale differences

1) Crown and roots: If the crown--the part of the plant that connects the leaves and the roots--is brown and mushy (often a result of overwatering), the orchid is likely dead. However, a healthy, resting orchid has roots that are green or white and plump or firm to the touch.

Tip: To avoid overwatering, continue to water your resting full-size, premium orchid the same as you normally would, with three ice cubes once a week.

2) Yellow leaves: If only the bottom leaf is turning yellow, no need to worry. This is a natural process of the plant to discard the mature leaf in order to produce a new leaf.

Tip: Make sure your orchid is getting the right amount of light. Place your plant in a north or east-facing window.

3) Wrinkled leaves could be a sign of low humidity. Phalaenopsis orchids are tropical and thrive when the humidity is between 55 and 75%.

In addition to low humidity, this condition can also be caused by unhealthy root systems, root rot (usually a symptom of overwatering), dehydration, arid air, and temperature damage.

Tip: In colder climates, combat dry, indoor-forced heat with a humidifier to maintain optimum humidity levels.

Caring For a Dormant Orchid

You may be tempted to move your orchid to a dark corner or stop watering it, but that will kill it for sure! Orchids in the vegetative state need proper water and sun, just like an orchid in full bloom. Continue to water it weekly, and ensure it gets plenty of indirect sunlight. 

How Long Will Your Orchid Rest?

Well, we don't have a crystal ball, but there are some things you can do that could speed that process along. Continue to care for your orchid and follow these tips to encourage reblooming.

And if you do end up actually killing your orchid, we know a great place where you can get another one!