Why Orchid Buds Fall Off Without Blooming

My orchids had buds ready to bloom, then they all fell off. What am I doing wrong?

Hi Noreen,

Purple and white blooming orchid plant.

Blooming Orchid Plant with Buds

When orchid buds fall off a healthy plant it is called “bud blast,” and there are many, many, things that cause this problem.

Water: Sad to say, under or over- watering can be the issue. When the soil is too dry, the orchid takes moisture from the buds which causes them to shrivel and die. When the soil is too wet, it causes root-rot and the plant can’t absorb water. Again the stressed leaves and stems draw water from the buds and they dry out & never bloom. I don’t recommend misting the buds. I’ve found that this can cause plant diseases. I know there are orchids being sold that supposedly need only one ice cube a week to grow well. Again, I’ve found that watering with really cold water can cause the buds to fall off.

Light is another problem; too little causes “bud blast” and too much direct sun over- heats the buds and they drop off.

Humidity: If the room is too dry, orchid buds fall off.

Orchids do not like temperature extremes, drafts, air conditioners, heaters, or frequent temperature fluctuations. All of these things can cause buds to fall off. The temperature around an orchid plant should be between 55-85 degrees, not too hot and not too cold.

Did you have any repair work done in your house? Orchid buds are sensitive to paint fumes and carpet cleaners fumes. They are also sensitive to cigarette and pipe smoke as well as the ethylene gas given off by ripening fruit.

Do any of these conditions apply to your situation?