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Why do my orchids keep dying on me??

(36 Posts)
TheMostHappy Sun 23-Feb-20 13:43:41

I have had two beautiful phaelonopsis orchids given to me as gifts recently - they arrived with beautiful flowers already open and several small buds waiting to bloom, and within two weeks, the buds are starting to shrivel and drop and the flowers dropping. They are away from windows in a dual aspect bright room, not near radiators and have been spritzed with plain water once per week. I had two of the same plants last year and killed them both quite quickly too - they were on a window sill so I've moved these ones but they're dying anyway. They're not sitting in water either just to add 😫

OP’s posts: |
gamerchick Sun 23-Feb-20 13:45:32

Because you've got then in pots. They're in clear containers for a reason, they're not actually supposed to be planted in pots and need the roots exposed to natural light.

gamerchick Sun 23-Feb-20 13:47:42

Take them out of the pots and put them on a windowsill. Neglect them slightly water wise and don't put them in the bathroom. They don't like the windows for some reason.

Lostmyunicorn Sun 23-Feb-20 13:59:01

Orchids like consistent temperature and conditions generally. They don’t like drafts or changes in temp so windows aren’t usually good. Ditto bathrooms for the same reason. I have mine on kitchen shelves near the window so lots of light but not in a draft. Also they are quite high up so I often forget to water them which is a good thing as they hate overwatering. Also they don’t like tap (or cold) water at all so either use a filter or leave your water to stand for a while - I fill the watering can after I have watered them and then use that when I next water usually about a week or more later.

Lostmyunicorn Sun 23-Feb-20 14:00:46

Also you can have them in pots provided they have plenty of the air roots overhanging the top of the pot. But agree they need the roots exposed to air and light

gamerchick Sun 23-Feb-20 14:08:25

That's the problem with orchids. They're properly stroppy buggers but if they're completely happy they're easy and beautiful. It's making them happy in the first place grin they die on me as well but my mother can grow the buggers from seed with apparent ease. 1 room in the whole house is perfect but just that room.

adagio Sun 23-Feb-20 14:10:40

I kill them too. My DH has suggested I just chuck a tenner in the bin a couple of times a year and save myself the bother grin

TheMostHappy Sun 23-Feb-20 14:11:32

Ok brill there's some great tips here thanks all. I shall stop spritzing them for a while and remove them from their pots and see if that helps. Hopefully it's not too late - at least the leaves haven't started wrinkling yet 🤪

OP’s posts: |
icelollies Sun 23-Feb-20 14:14:52

Are you sure they die? Mine flower once or twice a year, and do look a bit dead in between (no flowers but leaves remain green). I suggest keep them to see if they make a comeback - they might just be adjusting to their new home!?

Franticbutterfly Sat 29-Feb-20 08:39:33

Orchids and succulents are the only things I can keep alive. I just leave them to it on my windowsill (kitchen of living room) and water them when I remember (i.e not often, and they keep coming back, I’ve had some since about 2012).

Catnuzzle Sat 29-Feb-20 08:46:11

Soak for an hour every week and then drain.i was always killing orchids before I started doing this and I've now got about 10 and all consistently flower wink

FlamingoAndJohn Sat 29-Feb-20 08:48:14

I have always killed those almost instantaneously.

However I was given one lest September that is still going strong and moreover has flowered again.

It’s on my kitchen window sill which gets indirect light except for very first thing in the morning.
I have completely ignored it, only giving it water when I think about it which is about every 3 weeks. I do give it water from our filter jug.

onlinelinda Sat 29-Feb-20 17:58:20

I soak mine once a week for half an hour too, but then I do keep them on a warmer windowsill. I've kept them 4 years.

TheMostHappy Mon 02-Mar-20 19:22:39

How do you know if they're dying of too much rather than too little water though? I was spritzing lightly once per week, I haven't done this for probably a week now and none of the buds are now opening. To water or not to water that is the question. The leaves look nice and green and glossy!

OP’s posts: |
CoolShoeshine Wed 04-Mar-20 17:59:13

Gosh I’m so surprised to hear that, I’ve had loads of orchids and they always last about 3 months before the flowers die off. I pretty much do nothing to them, apart from a dribble of water from the tap, about once a month when I remember. I don’t keep them on windowsills though, maybe that’s the key? When the flowers drop off they aren’t dead, you can keep them and they will eventually sprout new flower stalks. They aren’t very pretty when not in flower though.

yearofthehorse Wed 04-Mar-20 18:02:39

They thrive on neglect. I've got 2 that flower regularly that I've had for at least 10 years. A splash of water once a month is all they need.

Moooms Thu 05-Mar-20 05:36:39

Unfortunately sometimes they will have been mistreated in the shop before you buy them and that round of flowers might be doomed.. e.g put out in Tesco next to the drafty cold door all morning before you buy it. Also is worth making sure they are well protected on the way to the car, as getting those flower stalks in the wind will shock them also. Position in the home is key, as has been pointed out.

Persevere, even if this flower stalks dies, keep it, feed it with orchid food at the right time of year and it will send up another.

Get them in the right spot and they will keep on giving. The advice from a pp about consistently is spot on.

The clear pot is so you can inspect the roots to gauge overall plant health. But it's particularly useful for watering, green roots have plenty of water, you must wait until the roots are silvery grey and slightly wrinkled prior to watering (not including the aeriel roots). I would recommend submerging the roots for a few minutes in luke warm water that has been sat out. This ensures you do not water the crown of the orchid, which can lead to rot. Leave to drain after watering, as the roots will rot if sat in a puddle of water.

Good luck, if all else fails get a cactus and water it once every 6 monthsgrin

crazydiamond222 Thu 05-Mar-20 05:43:03

I would stop spraying them and do what others have said and run water through their roots once a week. Make sure they dry thoroughly afterwards and are not sitting in water. A clear pot helps so you can see the roots but go by the weight of the pot if they are ready to water. If it is light give them a drink but no more than once a week.

cloudydaysinfebruary Thu 05-Mar-20 05:49:07

This is really interesting as I'm good with orchids but have no idea why.

Based on these responses I think it's mainly because I only water sporadically when I remember and I use water from my kids water bottles (as I hate tipping it away!) so it's not straight from the top.

cloudydaysinfebruary Thu 05-Mar-20 05:49:58

Tap not top!

BillywilliamV Thu 05-Mar-20 06:13:19

I have had one for 10 years. I sit it’s pot in water with a drop of orchid food, for an hour every fortnight. Otherwise totally neglected.

woodencoffeetable Thu 05-Mar-20 06:20:44

too much water probably. or cold water.

I put mine in a washing up bowl in a couple of inches of warm water once a week.
for half an hour and then drain well.

and listen to jane perrone on this topic.

woodencoffeetable Thu 05-Mar-20 06:23:52

and when they stopped flowering, ignore them for 2 months or so. not watering at all.
after 2 months give them a good soak, drain, and start the weekly watering again. they should then grow a new flower stalk.

TheMostHappy Thu 05-Mar-20 16:33:41

Thanks for all the great tips - I think I have managed to stabilise them. No further buds are shrivelling and dropping off on the white one, but the purple one is just not quite opening. I gave them both one soaking and draining and now they're being left to it. Thanks all!

OP’s posts: |
Whitney168 Thu 05-Mar-20 16:36:48

I have a bright kitchen windowsill full of orchids, and always one on the bathroom windowsill too. They thrive, and come back in bloom without fail. I generally neglect them, but I am envied for my 'ability' (ha!) to keep them alive.

They either like where you have them or don't. Doesn't seem to be any logic to it at all.

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