Bud Blast

How to Prevent Orchid Buds from Drying Up Before Blossoming


Find out where to cut your orchid's flower spike after it has finished blooming


The orchid’s buds are the most fragile part of the orchid and most susceptible to damage. Believe me, I know from experience what it’s like to have my precious orchid buds fall off. I’d be surprised if everyone who grows orchids doesn’t experience this from time to time. While not uncommon, it is 100% possible to prevent your orchid buds from falling off. 

Changes in watering frequency, pollution, insufficient light, temperature fluctuation, and environmental shifts cause healthy-looking orchid buds to fall off, wither and shrivel. Phalaenopsis orchids are particularly susceptible to their buds falling off due to inconsistencies in care and their location.

If your orchid’s buds prematurely dropped, the best course of action is to discover how to stop it from happening again. This article will show you how to stop your orchid buds from shriveling up and falling off.

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

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If you want to know where to cut your orchid’s flower spike, start by downloading my free cheat sheet to see where to cut the orchid flower spike after blooms have faded to trigger re-blooming. Click here for the cheat sheet. It’ll be super helpful.

1- Changes in Watering Amount and Frequency Can Cause Buds to Drop

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.

2- 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.

3- 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.

4- 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.

5- 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.

Orchid Buds Falling Off? 

Here’s how to keep it from happing again. 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 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 lose their buds. If your Phalaenopsis 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. No more orchid buds falling off for your orchids!

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Find out where to cut your orchid's flower spike after it has finished blooming