Shrinking Orchids

Are your orchids shrinking instead of growing? Changing your orchid care can help your plants grow larger. Healthy plants expand over the years. Added leaves can translate into added flowers. While bigger isn’t always better, it’s often an indication of vigorous plants.

Address any of these potential problems which can cause orchids to shrink:

  • Low light – Many varieties can survive for a long time in low light without blooms or new growth. They may shrink slowly enough to avoid notice, but eventually they die back. Healthy orchid leaves should be a light or medium green color; dark green leaves can mean inadequate light levels.
  • Low light in winter – If your plant grows during spring and summer, but shrinks during winter, add supplemental light. In autumn, move plants gradually into brighter positions, or add fluorescent lights. In spring, move plants back into normal light.
  • Watering problems – The wrong amount of water can cause orchids to shrink. Whether it’s too little or too much water, roots become damaged, inhibiting growth. Never let orchid roots sit in water or stay saturated, or they may rot.
  • Low humidity – Orchids don’t like dry air. Raise humidity levels by grouping plants together, using a spray mister, or keeping pots on trays of pebbles and water, with the pots always kept above the water level.
  • Old potting material – Decomposing, stale potting material damages new roots, and stunts plant growth. Check these tips to see if your orchid needs repotting.
  • Pests or disease – Insects and infections can kill all or part of a plant. Try beneficial insects and carnivorous plants. Use non-toxic pesticides when necessary, like Neem Oil, BT, pyrethrins, or rubbing alcohol/surgical spirits. Address underlying concerns which encourage pests and disease, like low humidity or poor air movement.
  • Not enough fertilizer – Orchids don’t need much fertilizer, but nutrient deficiencies will inhibit growth. Fertilizing orchids weakly, weekly works best.

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

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2 Comments on “Shrinking Orchids”

  1. Daniel Corby Says:

    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

  2. theo Says:

    It’s difficult to get knowledgeable folks on this topic, but you could be seen as you know what you’re talking about! Thanks