Phals. Keep Losing Blooms

by Tricia

In late June, I purchased a "Just Add Ice" Phalaenopsis orchid. My windows face west so I placed it approximately 12 feet from the windows so it wouldn't get too much light. As instructed, I gave it three cubes of ice once a week. While the same Phals. are still blooming at the store I purchased mine from, my orchid dropped all its blooms - not that it had very many to begin with - after just a few weeks. I was stunned, because when I shared a home with a friend, she had a Phal. and it bloomed at least four months out of the year and often more than that. I cut the flower spikes just a couple of inches from the base as instructed and I'm continuing to water it. In the meantime, desperate for these beautiful flowers, I went to my local Home Depot and purchased another, larger and more heavily flowering Phal. The blooms started drooping the next day, and three have already dropped off. The temperature in my apartment is 72 F. I also have a ceiling fan on all the time, and it does lightly shake the orchid's blooms. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I can't afford to buy a new orchid every time all the blossoms drop from the previous ones! ;) Please help me, because I'm desperate to have beautiful orchids blooming longer than a few weeks - or, now, days - after I buy them!

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Aug 02, 2011
Phals. Are Losing Blossoms For Perhaps A Couple Of Reasons
by: Melissa

Hi Tricia,

Thanks for your question. It is a good one. There is a couple of other questions that are similiar so I am going to post this here for a while as its own thread and then I will combine them in a week or two. Just so you know. ;-)

There is also a thread on the Phalaenopsis Orchid Care page on the "Just Add Ice" Phalaenopsis orchids.

These seem to be quite popular right now in some of the discount stores.

Let me be clear, I AM NOT A FAN of this method of watering Phals. Check out my remards in the just add ice thread.

On to your questions.

Phalaenopsis like bright indirect light. I think 12 feet might be to far away for your Phal. I grow mine about 6 feet off a south facing window. No direct sun. But that is not why your blossoms are falling off.

The blossoms could be falling off for a few reasons.

Sometimes when orchids move from one place to another and the temperature or humidity change dramatically the buds can blast or the blossoms can fall off. The fact that the plant you had did not have many blossoms to begin with indicates to me that it was close to the end of its blooming cycle. When I buy a Phal. I look first for a healthy plant (of course of a color I like!) Then I will pick the one that has the least open flowers as I know that the bloom time will be longer on that plant.

Sometimes the blossoms can fall off quicker if there is ripening fruit nearby, either in the store or in your home. Ripening fruit naturally gives off a gas (ethylene gas) which speeds ripening. So it speeds the ripening of the orchid blossoms. But that is unlike in a Home Depot. At least where I live.

In your case I think that there is nothing wrong with the temperature unless the Home Depot was really air conditioned. In which case that might be part of it.

I think it is likely that the fan is just a bit much for this little guy. Maybe you could move it where it is not so much in the fan area. A constant fan is probably drying the humidity around the orchid. Orchids do in fact like good air circulation but you would want the plant to just be gently moving like a very slight breeze. And they like humidity between 40% -70 %.

You can help this by putting your orchids on humidity trays. Check out this page for some really good ones:

Or if you want to see if this is the issue, put a small rocks or pebbles in a saucer. Make sure it is on a water proof plate so it does not mark any furniture. Put water in the saucer and put the orchid pot resting on the pebbles ABOVE the water. As long as there is water in the saucer the air around the orchid will be higher humidity.

Hope this is helpful.

Don't give up on Phals! They are lovely orchids. I am sure you can learn to grow them so that they last a long time in your home.

Good luck,


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