Some common problems and possible solutions to keep your orchids beautiful and healthy
My orchid will not re-flower
The correct location for optimum light is vitally important, as the main cause for orchids not re-flowering is insufficient light. You can tell if your plant has the right amount of light by looking at the condition of the leaves – they should be a grassy green colour.
Orchids can be placed anywhere in the house as long as they have good, but not direct, sunlight. Adequate light is essential for your orchid to flower. Orchids requiring moderate light should be placed on east or west facing windows (but take care with west facing if your afternoon sun is hot); orchids requiring bright light need a more southerly position. Check what species of orchid you ahve and make sure it’s getting the right amount of light.
The leaves are leathery and wrinkled
When the leaves are wrinkled, dry and leathery, this means there’s not enough water getting to them. But why there’s not enough water can be for one of 2 reasons:
The obvious one - You have not given it enough water. But check the condition of the roots first before you add more water. If they are healthy white or green in colour and look plump, and the potting medium looks in good shape, then you probably have not given it sufficient water. Especially if the potting mix feels dry and the pot is very light in weight. The solution here is to water and maybe increase watering frequency or amount as an on-going habit.
But you may have actually overwatered the orchid and damaged the roots. The delicate orchid roots are susceptible to water-logging and can easily be damaged if they are not in the correct pot and potting mix which allows for aeration and drainage. If the roots are in poor condition or have died, they cannot do their job of taking up the water and transporting it to the leaves and the rest of the plant, hence the leaves look shrivelled and wrinkled. If you have overwatered and damaged the roots, they will look brown and dead, and the orchid potting mix may also appear to be deteriorated. The only solution here is to think about re-potting into fresh and drier orchid potting mix, or leave the plant alone (with no more watering!) and hope the roots will recover. Keep the humidity high so as not to stress the plant too much.
The flowers are dropping off
Unfortunately, there can be many causes for this.
Over or under watering. Check out the condition of the roots as an indicator of root health first - . If they are healthy white or green in colour and look plump, and the potting medium looks in good shape, then you probably have not given it sufficient water. Especially if the potting mix feels dry and the pot is very light in weight. The solution here is to water and maybe increase watering frequency or amount as an on-going habit. If you have overwatered and damaged the roots, they will look brown and dead, and the orchid potting mix may also appear to be deteriorated. If the roots are in poor condition or have died, they cannot do their job of taking up the water and nutrients and transporting them to the flowers and leaves, hence the flowers may drop off.
The temperature is wrong or the orchid has experienced an extreme temperature (too hot or too cold) or too extreme a change in temperature. Make sure your beautiful orchid is not in a draft or near a heating vent or has air conditioning blowing on it.
Exposure to fumes such as chemicals, paint or gases may cause your flowers to drop, so make sure that your orchid is kept away from these things and so the flowers last longer.
It’s been close to a fruit that has been producing a lot of ethylene. Fruits like apples, melons, tomatoes and many others produce ethylene as they ripen. This can cause the orchid blooms to prematurely drop.
The humidity is too low and the air is to dry. Make sure the humidity is kept to at least 50% in the area around your beautiful orchid plant. Standing the pot in humidity trays, or saucers with pebbles or gravel and water, is a good way to increase humidity.
You may have some pests or diseases. Unfortunately your orchids may experience attack from ants, mites , rots and viruses. How to identify these and treat them: