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What Causes Orchids to Lose Their Buds?

What is Orchid Bud Blast?

One of the joys of owning Just Add Ice Orchids is their long blooming period. Phalaenopsis orchids are a particularly hardy member of the orchid family, and with proper care often bloom for as long as three months! But as with all living plants, Phalaenopsis orchids are susceptible to certain environmental factors that can cause the orchid plant to lose its buds, sometimes within days of arriving at your home.

If your orchid is prematurely dropping its buds before they bloom, or the flower buds begin to soften or become dry and brittle, you're dealing with bud blast. (Similar softening or drying can also occur to open orchid blooms, causing them to drop prematurely. When open blooms are affected, the condition is called bloom blast.)

Bloom and bud blast are generally caused by a sudden change in the orchid’s environment that traumatizes the plant’s systems. Dropping its buds or flowers signals the orchid’s reaction to environmental shock and is the plant’s way of protecting itself. By shedding its buds, the orchid can divert more energy to maintaining its vital systems.

How to prevent bud blast in orchids

Knowing the common causes of bud blast can help you protect your Just Add Ice Orchid and keep it healthy:

  • Exposure to drafts and other sudden temperature changes are the primary cause of bud blast.
  • Because orchids obtain much of their moisture from the air, changes in humidity can also trigger bud loss.
  • Try to mimic their natural environment as much as possible — Phalaenopsis orchids grow on trees, which means they will not do well in potting soil. A potting mix made primarily of bark will work better.
  • The ethylene gas emitted by ripening fruit (including oranges, apples, bananas, etc.) can cause bud blast in orchids that are displayed in the same area. If you keep a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter or table, do not display your orchid nearby.

Just Add Ice Reblooming Guide