Orchid Care







Why Won't my Orchids Bloom?

Frustrated by a seemingly healthy orchid plant that won't to bloom? We'll teach you how to  rebloom your orchids. Our tips cover the majority of orchids available.

T his gorgeous Ascocenda needs very bright light to flower well.

 mini cattleya
This stunning mini-cattleya will flower in a bright window. Mini-catts, as these are called, will often flower in bright indirect light, or under artificial lights far more easily than their standard-sized counterparts.

I will assume that your plants are healthy with lots of new leafy green growths and good roots. If you don't have a healthy plant, don't expect it to flower! If you're not getting blooms AND your plants are healthy, read on.

Here are the main reasons orchid will not bloom and what you can do about it. One or more reasons may apply to your orchid plants:

Most flowering house plants, orchids included, will  not bloom if they are not getting enough light. This is generally the main reason that orchids do not bloom. Northern exposure is usually not sufficient. A bright western, slightly shaded in the hottest months, or eastern exposure work well.  A southern exposure gives you the greatest flexibility. If your window is heavily shaded by trees or adjacent buildings, this will reduce light to your plants and you will have to make adjustments accordingly. If you have bright indirect light, your phals and paphs should do fine.  Oncidiums generally need slightly brighter light. Dendrobiums and Cattleyas need the brightest light of all, and do best in a Southern exposure.  Find out more about light requirements for growing orchids indoors

Skylights, unless you live in Arizona, or unless they are about five feet above the plants generally do not provide sufficient light, for all but the most shade-loving of orchids.  Please don't email me and tell me your orchids do fine under your skylight-perhaps they do but I need to make some broad generalizations here ;) 

Remember also that while a few paltry blooms on an orchid may be nice , our goal here is to get our orchids to put on a good show,  and to make your investment of time and money worthwhile.  How do you know if your plants are getting enough light? As a general rule look at the foliage. It should be a light grassy green. Lush dark green foliage is nice to look at, but it means your plants are not getting enough light. Leaves should also be turgid and firm on phals, cattleyas, and dendrobiums. Mottled leaved paphs should show good color contrast on the leaves- see our paphiopedilum culture page for more details.  

If your plants are not getting enough light move them closer to the window. Yes, even a foot can make a huge difference as light falls off very rapidly within increasing distance from a window.  During the summer months place plants outdoors in dappled shade if you can. Whenever you move plants into brighter conditions always do so very gradually as you risk burning the leaves. Lastly, remember to only grow plants suited to your conditions to avoid disappointment. I just saw some beautiful vandas in bloom at the grocery store! Vandas are very difficult to grow in the home and sadly most will end up in the trash heap. 

Continue to Part II of this article



 More orchids on our 
 houseplants blog

Quick Links:
-What to do when flowers fade
-Why won't my orchid bloom?
-How to buy orchids like a pro

-Can I grow orchids in low light?
-How do I water my orchids?

-Where can I buy orchids online?

Visit Our Other Sites:

-How to Grow Moth Orchids
-How to Grow Slipper Orchids