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Bud Blast

How to Prevent Orchid Buds from Drying Up Before Blossoming

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Bud blast, to say it sounds like an expletive and really it is. Bud blast describes when an orchid’s buds appear to be developing normally and suddenly those beautiful buds wither up, leaving you wondering why? Like many problems, the best course of action is prevention.

Here’s the deal: the buds are the most fragile part of the plant and most susceptible to damage. I’ve purchased orchids and by the time I’ve come home, my buds have been blasted. Granted it was a 3-hour drive home and the orchids did not appreciate it.

Find out what you can do to prevent your orchid bud from dying

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WHY ORCHIDS MAY EXPERIENCE BUD BLAST:

Changes in Watering Amount and Frequency Can Abort Buds

Over and under-watering can cause bud blast. To prevent the orchid buds from withering, this is especially true for Phalaenopsis orchids, try to prevent the orchid from sitting in water as well as from getting too dry. Additionally, keeping to a regular watering schedule will help the buds to develop normally. 

Orchids are Sensitive to Air Pollution

When bringing home an orchid, do what you can to protect it from exhaust fumes. Don’t let your orchid ride in the trunk. To avoid exhaust fumes turn your car’s air system to recirculate. Once at home a heating source that emits air pollution will cause bud blast.

Insufficient Light Can Lead to Bud Loss

Lack of sufficient light can cause the buds to drop. Try moving your orchid closer to the window. By the same token, avoid setting an orchid too near a lamp or other bulb that puts off a lot of heat.

Frequent Fluctuations in Temperature Can Damage Orchid Buds

Check to see if your orchid is in a place where there may be extreme changes in temperature. Being too near heating and cooling systems is not a good idea. Check for drafts near your orchid.  Proximity to exterior doors could pose a threat if you live in an area of extreme hot or cold temperatures.

Environmental Changes Can Cause Trauma to Buds

A change in the environment may trigger bud blast. If your orchid was accustomed to a paradisaical greenhouse and must now acclimate to your windowsill, it may take some time, but it should adjust. When I brought home some Cattleyas I lost just about every bud. Now though, they are doing fine and in the bud.

TIP: Even moving orchids from room to room may trigger bud blast. Before moving your orchid to enjoy the flowers, make sure that the bud have opened.

How to Prevent Bud Blast:

Remember the basics:

  1. Changes in watering frequency and amount can abort buds
  2. Orchids are sensitive to pollutants
  3. Lack of light can lead to bud blast
  4. Frequent fluctuations in temperature can damage orchid buds
  5. Environmental changes can cause trauma to buds

Sometimes you’ll never know why an orchid suddenly loses its buds. Just do the best you can to can for your orchid. Learn what the best care practices are for your particular orchid, then do what you can to provide the best care possible.

Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids, are prone to bud blast, though other orchid varieties certainly may loose their buds. If your Phalaneopsis has lost its buds, simply cut it back to a fresh node, or notch along the stem and a new flower spike may begin to grow. Once an orchid is in full flower and no buds remain, you can place this orchid in a less than ideal location.

Don’t Give Up

Whatever you do, keep trying. Orchids are resilient and can bounce back from environmental disruption. Next time, those buds will follow through with flowers!

20 Comments
  1. Roisin says:

    I have seven beautiful orchids. They are in a sun-room that gets cold at night, but the
    orchids are thriving! I have two very large white ones the others are all different shades of pink.
    I give them a table spoonful of water every Sunday and every three weeks I feed them ONE DROP OF FERTILIZER IN TWO SPOONFULS OF WATER.
    GOOD LUCk

    1. Anna says:

      Roisin,
      I envy your sun-room! Thanks for your tips!
      Anna

    2. Myrna says:

      I am going to try your method of watering

  2. Lovely just what I was looking for. Thanks to the author for taking his time on this one.

    1. Anna says:

      Your welcome! I’m glad you found what you were looking for!
      Anna

  3. Linda says:

    Thank you ever so much for being a positive cheerleader
    regarding our growing orchids. It seems sometimes we hear
    all the terrible things we’re guilty of and not much positive feedback.

    1. Anna says:

      Linda,
      Your kind words mean a lot to me as I do try to be a positive voice!
      Have a great day!
      Anna

  4. chris Logan says:

    How can i get some seeds of the diffrent orchids .

    1. Anna says:

      Chris,
      I haven’t ever grown orchid from seed, but I’d love to hear how it goes for you. Here is an Etsy link for orchid seeds. If you purchase through this link, I will receive a commission.
      I am not sure which type of orchids you are interested in growing, so this link will take you to several different types of orchids to grow from seed:

      ORCHID SEEDS

      Good luck!
      I’d love to hear how it turns out,
      Anna

  5. Rose says:

    Hi Anna it’s Rose i have been so busy and losing sleep my Phals have been getting Black Rot in stem i have been trying so hard to fight this and I have used Masterfood Cinnamon Ground it’s used by date is out of date but i still used it i have lost 3 to death i have 5 still fighting to stay alive please let me know what I can use to save the rest I’m sad and worried that I may lose my orchids to Black Rot i don’t want anymore getting this deadly disease cause it moves very fast thankyou bye for now cheers.Gold coast Australia.

    1. Anna says:

      Rose,
      Black rot is terrible. Using sterile scissors, cut away the affected area. Sterilize scissors, or knife, between each cut. Cut a bit past the diseased portion and so that you are cutting into healthy tissue. After removing the diseased portion, use a fungicide. Cinnamon is a good natural fungicide, but you may want to use a commercial fungicide to prevent black rot from spreading throughout your collection.

      Provide plenty of space between plants, as black rot can easily spread between plants. If your plants are outdoors set them at least 3 feet off the ground. Place orchids where they will not be constantly wet.

      The key to prevention for both indoor and outdoor growers is air movement. If you are growing indoors, a fan is essential.

      Warm regards,
      Anna

  6. Susan says:

    I have a phal that looks like it has a bud with a second bud emerging from it, almost like an egg with a double yolk. Am wondering if this is bud blast or something else.

    1. Anna says:

      Susan,
      Interesting. I’ve never seen this before. Bud blast is when a bud aborts due to changes in the plant’s environment. Could you send me a picture? My email address is [email protected]orchidbliss.com.
      Thanks,
      Anna

    2. Anna says:

      Susan,
      This sounds interesting. Bud blast is when a bud aborts due to changes in the environment. Can you email me a picture? My email address is [email protected]
      Thanks,
      Anna

  7. S watt says:

    Have several orchids, had multiple reblooms, ready for traditional February rebloom. Suddenly, no heat, Northeast, now all dropping buds. Should I cut off stems?

    1. Anna says:

      S Watt,
      That is disappointing! You could wait and see if all the buds drop before cutting the flower stalk. But yes, if you aren’t going to get any flowers anyway, cut the stalk.
      Best,
      Anna

  8. S Pranav says:

    Hi Anna, Pranav from India here…liked your page a lot… I have a few questions…my phalaenopsis has botrytis and is losing a few leaves from the bottom…is it normal for it to do that?
    Also, my other phalaenopsis has some wrinkled leaves and its flowers are becoming droopy prematurely… what should I do?

    1. Anna says:

      Hello Pranav,
      If your orchid has botrytis, a fungus that often appears during periods of cool, weather with high humidity and is manifested by small brown spots on the flower’s petals. There are 3 main ways to prevent botrytis. First, keep your orchid area clean. Remove dead leaves, flowers etc and use sanitized tools. Second, use a fan. Though orchids love humidity – stagnant air promotes the growth of fungus and bacteria. Air movement is your friend. Third, when watering, use care not to splash water on the orchid’s leaves and flowers. Botrytis is difficult to remove – but here is one method worth trying: mix 4 teaspoons baking soda with 2 teaspoons refines horticulture oil with 1 gallon of water. Reapply every 2 weeks.
      About your phal, check out the roots – they will tell you if you have a watering problem. You may also need to re-pot.
      All my best,
      Anna

  9. S Pranav says:

    What will the roots look like if I have a watering problem?

    1. Anna says:

      Pranav,
      Great question!

      Healthy phal roots = green when just watered, silvery-green when dry, but healthy with bright green tips that may have a bit of red in them. The texture is firm and plump.
      Unhealthy underwatered roots = brittle and tan-colored
      Unhealthy overwatered roots = limp, stringy, black, brown

      Good luck! Even if many of the roots are unhealthy, if you still have some good roots, your orchid can make a come-back. While the old leaves will not regain their former stiffness, new leaves will grow firm and uprights.
      Best,
      Anna

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the ONE email you'll open every week

Saturday mornings I send out an exclusive email sharing my best tips on how to grow healthy orchids.

YES! THANK YOU!