help! how can i make my orchid grow?


Why, oh why, won’t my orchid bloom? When I brought it home in the dead of winter, I was been determined to keep it alive. After the original flowers fell off, I snipped the stem right below the bud, as I had read to do. I keep it in our bathroom, where it seems to enjoy the steady temperature, little sunlight and moist air. Every ten days or so I give the pot a 30 second dunk in warm water. But six months have passed, and even though new leaves are growing at the base, there is no sign of new flowers. What should I do now? I’ve followed most of the instructions from the Orchid society, on how to care for a Phalaenopsis, moth orchid but I’m just not sure what’s up. Should I just be patient? Do I need to repot? Snip the stalk again? Fertilize? Any advice from those with first-hand orchid experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! — Angela M.

From our partners

Best tip ever for orchids: instead of watering it, I just put two or three ice cubes on the soil around the plant. They melt and give the plant its water slowly over the course of a day. I do this every week or two, just whenever I happen to think of it. The tip came from my mother-in-law, who told me she heard it from “a Japanese lady who grows orchids.” Maybe twice a year, I water it with a bit of Miracle Gro mixed into the water. And it sits in the very brightest window in my house (which is in New England). My plant has been flowering twice a year since I got it in summer 07. It certainly does seem to love neglect and sunshine best!

lawrence palmer

ok well i lived with a guy in fl that had alot of orchids out side he had some covered and some in tree in front yard they did so well that i took a liking to them i have got some of my own now in my house and i want to put a few out side in my tree what i need to know is will it hurt them from going from inside to outside i also have one that looked so good when i bought it when i got home i repoted it into the orchid bark and now i find the leaves at the base of plant are dieing off is that common with these plants


I have found that the best course in being an orchid steward is one of abuse and neglect. I live in So Cal (near the beach) and leave the poor babes on the kitchen windowsill all year long. In the winter it gets down to the 40’s and in the summer probably up to 100 because that window gets morning sun. I have been known to forget to water for up to two weeks and when we have the dry Santa Ana winds – well everything gets parched. On the other hand I go through phases when I water the orchids twice a week. Much to my own amazement, my orchids love this abuse and are currently either in full bloom or with new spikes loaded with buds. It’s an eternal mystery how they survive, let alone thrive. I fertilize on occasion. My advise is to ignore them, don’t baby them, and throw away any idea of schedule. I always considered myself to have a “black thumb” because I have killed every other plant I’ve ever owned. I consider orchids to be very forgiving.


I have theses green looking “alien fingers” lol growing up from the soil. They are not leaves. Are they roots? Should I repot? Help


This was a great and useful thread thanks!
Unfortunately my BEAUTIFUL gorgeous orchids didnt make it through the winter as the leaves started to brown and the stem began to turn into straw…I never been so sad about a plant! At least now I know to NOT over water it and leave it in the container it came with! RIP the most beautiful flower that ever blossomed : (

I have six Phals and they are all either in flower, growing a spike and getting ready to flower. I think i’ve found the secret to caring for them.

I. I soak them about every 8 days for five minutes in weakly diluted orchid fertilizer. I actually time it on the microwave.

2. I never cut anything off the spike unless it whithers and turns brown. I have four Phals right now that are growing spikes and getting ready to bloom off old spikes.

3. I mist my orchids once a day. One of my orchids is in a humidifier tray, it’s not doing any better then the ones that I just mist.

4. They are under a small grow light for at least twelve to fourteen hours a day.

5. I keep the temperature even, fairly warm. Around 72-75/daytime and no lower then 65 at night. They are on my dresser close to my door so they get a little air flow exchange when the door is open, they like that.

Well those are my secrets and they work. I have several purples, a green lemon and two whites. I live in Montana so if I can grow them anyone can.

Orchids like it tight, they like being cramped. I find that smaller pots are better for them. Also for the first time, when I repotted an orchid that had been lingering, not a phal, I transplanted it into Miracle Grow Orchid Mix and it has come to life slowly but surely. With orchids, patience is the key. Just when you think they are going to be dormant forever they fool you.


I recently purchased an orchid and noticed today that overwatered my orchid and its feet were wet. Possibly for up to a week…some of the flowers are looking wilted and two dried out to break off easily. However when I took the pot out of the container (thats when I noticed the pool of water btw) all the roots looked nice and green. No sign of rot. I now have the plastic pot out by itself sitting on top of a couple of rocks. I’m thinking this will air out the roots and get them drying out. My question is do I repot or since the roots look good just let it air out? thx!

hairy smalllbear

I have come to the conclusion that orchids are like people!! Some are easy going, pop them down anywhere, they get along. Some are a bit sensitive but once you find the right spot they are happy. Some like my boyfriend are a bit highly strung, needs a bit of careful handling but you get used to it & still love it. Then you get the prima donna. It moans, it whines. Best to ignore for a bit then if it doesnt respond after seeing the error of its ways, cross it off your friend list & give it to another friend who gets along with it. Never fails!! Had one like this, gave it to my mum who promptly dumped it on a sunny window ledge over a radiator & soaked it until it was swimming, hey presto, flowered like it had an audience. But then, they were very much a like! Heres a tip: grow to love them even without flowers & they will love you back again, most rewarding. Put something like a ball or pencil topper on the support stick, looks pretty, gives you something to look at. Put three together in a bowl, that way one will always be doing something of interest while the other two lay dormant. Some like hot weather, some like it cold. when you find one that is compatible with your living conditions you know you have a friend, others like to visit you but donet want to live with you, then the prima donnas………….cross them off your card list, let it move in with your mum & enjoy the peace of not having it around irritating you. I love orchids, very beautiful, very rewarding. I have learnt great patience with them, just like people they have their own ways & teach you how to appreciate all of God’s wonderful things, fascinating & pondering over the miracle of a flower when it does finally happen. Be lucky growers! x


Buying a mature plant goes along way. I recieved a large moth orchids 4 years ago in a 8″ pot. It blooms like mad (25-30 flowers), for about 3 months, twice a year, with very little help from me. I water once a week, fertilize maybe once a month and mist hardly ever. I bought my mom 2 smaller orchids, 2 years ago, and after losing they initial flowers, they refused to rebloom. My mom can make ANYTHING grow. Finally, she had me set them down next to my own plant. Still nothing.

After a little reseplace, we learned the mature plants are worth the extra money. Smaller plants are often “shocked” either through temp changes or fertilizers to produce spikes before heading to stores. Another interesting tibit we came across was that white blooms last longer than their richly hued counter parts and smaller blooms last longer as well.

We are going to try to place my mom’s plants by a cool window at night for a more pronounced temp change between night and day. Let see what happens.

Unless your extremely patient I would always buy a mature plant. We all want beautiful flowers in our home. I cannot tell you how many pots I have with a couple of leaves trying to baby then along. spebd the extra dollars on a larger plant that is ready to bloom. It;s worth it

Amy M.

kristine: If the roots look green, let it just dry out. Looks like you caught it on time. Just keep checking on the roots, but it sounds like you are okay. Maybe someone else has other advice, but my instinct is to do as little as possible (to avoid shocking the plant).

As for blooming, I think the temperature has a lot to do with it. I have 2 spikes coming out of already existing spikes. They cool temps at night, but not below 55 degrees.

Laurie MCQuillan

I received an orchid as an office gift – lovely – had nice white blooms when I recieved it in March. Since then, the blooms have fallen off. I cut it down to right where you are supposed to and it spiked. Since then that 1 “arm” keeps growing with buds, but the buds all only make it to the budding stage, then they shrivel and die. Then, once again, it pushes itself, buds and the buds die and fall off. HELP! What do I do? Do I cut the arm off, which is now 12 in in length? I don’t want to cut it as it has life at the end of the “arm” …. HELP! Please.


hello i have two orchid since the last flower i keep watering them but, they donot have single leaf or flower do you think it,s dead shall i keep them or throw them away please help what to do thanks so much.


for heavens sake, people!! those green arms coming are their roots. they dont like to be repotted and just let the air roots grow. they might turn white and if they do, and are in a tiny pot, i just put it in sink and soak it good for 10 min. those roots grow rapidly green again and look healthy. you should fertilize them weekly, weakly..watering depends on the type of mix they are in and also the size of pot. tiny pots i water every 3 to 4 days. after letting them sit up to top of pot in water, then drain them good. sit them back there you had them. yes they do like humidity… even bathroom windows. good luck!! if your orchid isnt doing anything, take it out of pot and check the roots. if they are mushy, then you have watered toooo much..

Holly Berry

Hi I just bought my first orchid and it has big white blooms on it very pretty .
from Holly

Sherry Johnson

I have a orchid I brought back from Hawaii. It has not bloomed since I brought it home 2 years ago. I had it potted in moss ( I didn’t know any better). It produced a kei- ke recently ( I had no idea what it was). I was told to repot it in orchid bark which I did. When I did I saw two new spikes growing under the moss. So my question is how do I pot the baby? It is still pretty small and I don’t know if I should try to cut it off or wait. Also, my other orchid, a phalaenopsis, has finished blooming and has started putting out new leaves.. Is this what they do? I am such a novice at this.. Thanks!!!

jose huizar

I bought a plant last summer and it flowered beutifuly for a couple months then lost its bloom and the stalk dried out too its now Febuaty and im starting to see a new leaf, thank god! I almost through it out because i thought it was done, it been a while since i seen one bloom, im exited to see it blossom again!


I have three orchids that are constantly in bloom , my one has over 20 flowers on this one sits in a pot of water all the time and I do nothing to it , I have had it now for over three years , they love sunny spots so mine are on the window sill .