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How do I Give My Phalaenopsis Orchid a Boost?

February 25, 2014

give-your-orchid-a-boostNo matter if you live in the snow-prone Midwest or a region with typically milder winters, chances are you’ve experienced your fair share of bitter cold and icy weather this season. Filling your home with plants such as orchids is a great way to combat your winter blues. However, equally glum-looking orchids can have just the opposite effect.

Does your orchid appear to be lacking its usual elegance and strength? Follow the below tips to boost your orchid’s health!

Causes of Premature Flower Loss in Phalaenopsis Orchids

Just Add Ice Phalaenopsis orchids can bloom for one to three months or longer after purchase depending on care and other factors like variety and age. Orchid flower loss is a normal part of an orchid’s lifecycle; however, premature flower loss can be a result of several factors, including:

  • Sudden temperature changes
  • Low temperatures (below 55 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Lack of moisture and/or humidity
  • Lack of light or poor location

If you suspect your orchid is losing its flowers prematurely, check the orchid’s roots. Well-watered roots should be a healthy green color, while grayish-white roots indicate more water is needed.

Prevent Flower or Bud Loss & Give Your Orchid a Boost by: 

  • Moving the orchid to a sunnier, warmer location with a consistent temperature: During the winter months, placing your orchid in a south or west-facing window can provide it with more light. When moving your orchid, be sure to keep it away from ripening produce, which gives off ethylene gas and can cause more flower and bud loss. Also ensure the orchid’s new location isn’t too warm, avoiding blasts of hot, dry air.
  • Increasing the amount of ice or frequency of watering: Even if you do not place your orchid near vents or fireplaces, dry heat will still reach your plant. That’s why you may need to increase the amount of ice or frequency of watering. If you do increase watering, make sure roots are not constantly wet or sitting in standing water at the bottom of the pot. 
  • Using a humidity tray: Do you know how your skin can become dry, rough and itchy in the winter due to low humidity? Your orchid experiences similar discomfort. Because Phalaenopsis orchids originated in the tropics, they perform best when room humidity is relatively high (between 55 and 75 percent). To help your orchid reach this level of humidity, use a humidity tray. You can improve the appearance of the humidity tray by adding a layer of decorative rocks or beads.
  • Considering fertilizing your orchid: Phalaenopsis orchids do not require regular fertilizing while in bloom; however, fertilizing from time to time can help boost health and overall appearance. For more on orchid fertilizing, see this blog.

Once your orchid is in fair health once again, keep it that way by following our expert orchid health tips found here.

Winter Orchid Care Tips