Orchid Crown Rot

Tips for Treatment and Prevention

Are your orchid leaves limp and wrinkly?

Get your FREE cheat sheet on how to prevent limp orchid leaves.

crown rot - orchids

orchid crown rot – treatment and prevention

I first began growing orchids over 10 years ago. At the time, I had no idea how much orchids would become a part of my life. Not surprisingly, my first orchid was a phalaenopsis from the grocery store. One of the first problems I faced as a new orchid grower was crown rot. In this post, you’ll learn how to treat and prevent crown rot.

To treat crown rot, simply pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide over the affected area. To prevent orchid crown rot, when watering your orchid, just water the roots – wet the potting media, but not the orchid’s stem or leaves. It really is that easy.

Crown rot is a common orchid ailment and is identified by droopy leaves breaking off at the base of the stem. In advanced cases, the entire base of the orchid will turn black. It must be stated that in some cases, once crown rot has set in, the orchid cannot be saved. That being said, it is still worth the effort to try to save the orchid. In the process, you will learn a lot about orchid care and you’ll be a much better caregiver in the future. With these tips, it won’t be long until you never have to worry about crown rot again. Your orchids just won’t get crown rot because it’s 100% preventable.

Discover how to identify treat and prevent orchid crown rot

Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. Click here to learn more.

What is Orchid Crown Rot?

Orchid crown rot occurs when water accumulates and lingers at the base of the orchid leaves. The good news is that you can easily treat crown rot with a product that you probably already have on hand – hydrogen peroxide.


The crown rot, in this case, is too far advanced for saving. To prevent crown rot always be on alert for signs of overwatering. The well-meaning owner of this orchid placed ice cubes on the leaves of the orchid. When the ice cubes melted, water accumulated between the leaves resulting in crown rot.

How to Treat Orchid Crown Rot with Hydrogen Peroxide

It’s time to get out your first aid kit, not for you, but for your orchids. Pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide over the affected area on your orchid. You will see the peroxide bubble up. That is normal. Repeat treatment every 2-3 days.

How to Prevent Orchid Crown Rot

Tip #1 Keep water from lingering at the base of the leaves.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Crown rot is easy to prevent. When watering your orchid try to keep water from accumulating at the base of the leaves. 

Avoid overwatering your orchid. Pot your orchid in a well-draining potting mix and don’t let your orchid sit in water.  After watering, I like to tip my orchid to the side to let any water that may be trapped between the leaves drain away from the orchid.

Orchids need constant but gentle air movement. In addition to preventing bacterial growth on an orchid’s leaves, a fan set to low will also help prevent crown rot by facilitating the evaporation of excess water.

Tip #2 Be a savvy buyer and check for crown rot before you buy.

When purchasing a new orchid, take a look at the base of the leaves. You can even give the leaves a gentle tug. If the leaves are not stiff and securely attached to the stem – keep looking.

Be on the Alert

Sadly, once crown rot has advanced too far, the orchid may not be able to be saved, but if you catch it in time, the hydrogen peroxide treatment will work well at nipping root rot in the bud.

Crown rot is 100% preventable. When watering, be aware of an orchid’s sensitivity to water accumulating between the leaves, and when buying a new orchid, be on the lookout for potential crown rot.



Orchid Potting Mix

If you purchase bare-root orchids, you will need a good potting mix. Personally, I love Bonsai Jack’s orchid potting mix.

To provide additional moisture for Phalaenopsis orchids, add a couple of cubes of wool rock to the bark mix. This will keep your Phals evenly moist – not too dry, and not too wet.

Orchid Pots

You will also need a pot for your orchids. These liner pots are made of strong, durable plastic that provides drainage and allows you to see the roots and potting media. For added stability, place the liner pot inside a ceramic pot. If designer, hand-thrown pottery is more your style, I suggest Jolene’s Orchid Pots. As an orchid grower herself, Jolene creates elegant pots affording both form and function.

  1. Erica Scheepers says:

    Hi my name is Erica. I love all type of orchids. I have a few phal’s. I was battling to keep them alive. I’ve try different types of potting medium , bark chips and little bit of sphagnum mos. when I’ve found the right medium my biggest mistake was planting in too big pots. I’ve change most of my orchids to smaller pots , making from plastic cool drink bottles. When it is time to water, I put water in a jug and slowly put the plant in the water keeping the top above the water line, then I hold the pot for a minute. Then I lifted it and wait for the water to run out. Then to be sure I put my orchid on a dry towel, so that all traces of water will be absorbed by the towel.

    1. Anna says:

      Thanks so much for sharing! We are in this together. Yes, orchid like to be underpotted. I also appreciate your watering tips.

  2. Jolene says:

    Thanks for mentioning my Orchid Pots. The crown for prevention and care will be USEFUL!

    1. Anna says:

      I love your beautiful orchid pots!
      Have a wonderful day,

  3. Mariet Robinson , Moama, NSW, Australia says:

    i have been given a rock orchid from my nanna.
    I am 70 yoa, that orchird has been in the same concrete pot as long as I can remember.
    It looks very crowded there. I am not a game to take it out of the pot.
    What should I do?

    1. Anna says:

      First of all, congratulations on your long-lived orchid! Your orchid does need to be repotted, and it will probably be quite difficult to remove it as I’m sure the roots have glued themselves to the pot. If you don’t want to do repot it yourself, you could ask a fellow orchid enthusiast with experience repotting. Often times orchid sellers repot orchids, and you could pay to them do it for you.
      I wish I could fly to Australia and repot your orchid – especially as you are heading into summer and I am headed for winter!

  4. Mars says:

    How would I know if the crown rot is too advanced? My poor Orchid has been through the mill because of my lack of knowledge in properly caring for it and the improper care instructions attached to the plant when I purchased it. Wish I could post a picture. Thanks for your post! I appreciate the info.

    1. Anna says:

      You could certainly email me a photo of your orchid: [email protected]. What I recommend is to wait and see. When watering your orchid use care not to get any water on the stem. Give it time and eventually, you’ll know. In the meantime, you’re not really out anything for trying.

      Here’s an article that gives solid orchid care tips that you can count on:


      All my best,

  5. Pamela says:

    I just read your new experiment with watering all of your orchids in the shower. I thought I read somewhere that orchids didn’t like to be moved alot. Isn’t that bad to be moving them once a week or so into the shower then back to the regular place? Or is it just not moving from one widow or shelf to another over time that’s not good for them? I know I read that you said find a place that they like.

    1. Anna says:

      Moving orchids is always dangerous. I can’t tell you how many times I have broken a flower stalk when moving an orchid to photograph it! Also, I want to add, that I don’t shower the orchids that are in bloom, or bud. I have a lot of orchids, so this is more about saving time than anything else. If you have just a few and what you are doing works for you, stick with what you are doing.

      If you need to save time, moving your orchids for a shower won’t harm them – unless you drop it, or break a flower stalk, or step on it when you’re moving them around. There are lots of perils – but still – showering has been a real time-saver.

      Another thought about moving orchids- I keep mine all in one place (I like to call it my orchid room or inner sanctum) then when the orchid is in full bloom, I move it to my living area where I can enjoy the flowers. This helps to prevent bud blast if I wait until the flowers are open before moving it.


      1. Nancy Heath says:

        How do you prevent crown rot if you water by shower? I want to move my orchids outside this summer but worried about crown rot with the rain. Your thoughts??

        1. Anna says:

          Great question! I point my fan directly at my orchids until the leaves dry off. Then I point the fan away from my orchids. I also tilt the pots to drain excess water away from the base. Outdoors your orchids should receive plenty of air movement, preventing rot.

  6. Shirley Harkenrider says:

    My daughter gave me her orchid after it bloomed. She didn’t want to deal with it. I never owned an orchid so with trial & error I finally got it to rebloom. It was very healthy and leaves looked green & strong. Then I read that you should let water flow thru the medium to wash off salt build up from the roots. So I did. It has flowers blooming but the leaves are very limp and now the flowers look like they are going limp. Can I replant it while it’s in bloom. Disappointed. What should I do??? Shirley. I live in Indiana and the plant has been indoors. Nice indriect sunshine Help.

    1. Anna says:

      While potting while the orchid is not ideal, there are times when you should re-pot anyway. One of those times is when the potting media has decomposed. The time you should pot ASAP is if the potting media has salt build-up. Now you’re wiser 🙂 Next time, pot when the orchid is not flowering and new roots are growing.
      I think you are awesome to learn to grow orchids!

  7. Ray Siebuhr says:

    Thanks for this one and wondered why. I have experienced it. Most stores bought Phaleanopsis I have purchased have been potted in sphagnum moss because they need less frequent watering, particularly while in store. I try now to repot them asap and the results are much better.

  8. Marcy Bents says:

    I had a beautiful blooming Phaleanopsis which I replanted as it came from a nursery, had roots sticking out the bottom of the pot. I ordered orchid mix designed for my orchid from What a mistake, I have leaves dying, my blossoms all dropped. I can see roots dying. Is this just stress? I went up only one size on a pot. I was careful to clean the roots of old medium and to trim off dead ones. I sterilized my equipement before I started. I have been very careful when watering and get all water out of the crown. What can I do to save this orchid? Thank you for your kind help.
    Marcy Bents

    1. Anna says:

      Make a mini-greenhouse by placing your orchid in a clear plastic bag out of the sun, in a shady location. While your orchid recovers, do not fertilize. Humidity levels will be high but use care not to overwater. When new roots appear, and the orchid is strong again, gradually move to a sunnier location and care for the orchid as you normally would.

  9. Camellia says:

    Hi Anna! My orchid’s top leaves, they have a bumpy texture near the crown. Is it something to worry about?
    Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Are your orchid leaves limp and wrinkly?

Get your FREE cheat sheet on how to prevent limp orchid leaves.