Orchid Care in Winter

Orchid care changes with the seasons. Growers need to adjust for winter’s approach in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Orchids with pseudobulbs are entering dormancy. If they sport swollen stems like those in the first photo below, they may only need water once or twice per month over winter. Too much water can cause rot, or mess up the plant’s flowering schedule. Cut back on fertilizer, too.
  • Orchids without pseudobulbs, like Phals, Paphs, and Masdevallias, don’t go dormant. However, with seasonally lower light levels and cooler temps, itโ€™s best to reduce their water and fertilizer slightly.
  • All orchids need good humidity, but home and office heating can dry the air like an arid desert. Low humidity can cause blooms to wilt, and invite pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and scale. Find helpful tips to raise humidity here.
  • Consider adding extra light to compensate for the weak winter sun.
  • Members of the Cattleya family, like the red and yellow hybrid in the second photo below, may be affected by too many hours of artificial light. They require long, dark nights to trigger flowering. Keep them away from any artificial light at night.
  • Remove dead leaves or flowers. This helps limit hiding places for unwelcome pests or disease.
  • Don’t panic if a few older leaves wither and drop. Some varieties of Dendrobiums, like the cool grower in the final photo below, lose all their leaves. Other types, like Cycnoches, Epipactis, and Thunia, are also deciduous. Continue to give them bright light and good humidity. Water when their pseudobulbs start to shrivel, only once or twice per month.

Unidentified orchid with thick pseudobulb stems in Puerto Vallarta, MexicoCattleya hybridCool growing Dendrobium that sheds leaves over winter

Explore posts in the same categories: Dormancy, Fertilizing, Growing, Photos, Problems, Watering

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5 Comments on “Orchid Care in Winter”

  1. Hanna at Orchid Care Says:

    That’s terrific advise you gave in this posts. However, living in Southern California where we are still blessed with 80+ degrees during the day, the seasons are relatively stable for my orchids.

    As a matter of fact, most of them don’t ever seen to go into hibernation and many of them are still heavy with gorgeous blooms.

  2. NatureGrrl92 Says:

    Great photographs! I can almost smell the wonderful scent of that red Catt… ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. nancy Says:

    In Western New York state where I live, we have cold winters, and my orchids need dormancy. If I water them too much (ahem, yes, I’ve done it before) then the plants just go to mush. I spend most of the next 3 months just using my spray bottle and that’s enough water for them. I do give them a good drink once a month like you suggest. I take the opportunity to wash their leaves really well when I water.

  4. Charlotte Bergengren Says:

    thanks for the tips

  5. Meg Weil Says:

    I came across to your post and found it very useful for me. Thanks and good luck!