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

It sounds like what is called Bud blast. Bud blast is when buds wither on a healthy orchid. Cattleya buds are very sensitive and are easily affected by things in the environment. Here are some things that might be causing the Bud Blast.

Light: Too much light and the buds over heat and die; too little light and the buds wither and die.

Water: Under- or overwatering is a common cause. If the soil gets too dry, it takes moisture from the buds and they die. If the soil is too wet, roots die and the plant doesn’t get water. The first place to plant goes to get the missing water are the buds. .

Fertilizer: Too much plant food, fungicide, or pesticide.

Temperature: Orchid buds do not like extreme changes in temperature, cold drafts from windows, doors, or air conditioners; warm blasts from heaters.

Humidity: Orchid buds need high humidity at all times.

Pests: Plant insects such as aphids and thrips suck on the buds and drain the moisture from them. buds, sucking the plant juices. If you see any insects I recommend to start by wiping the plant with warm soapy water. If that doesn’t solve the problem try insecticidal soap or Neem Oil. Be sure to always read the instructions provided with the product.

Diseases: Keeping the buds wet encourages bacterial and fungal infections that destroy the buds.

Environment: Orchid buds are sensitive to things in the air: smoke from cigars, cigarettes, pipes; paint fumes, carpet cleaner, fireplace smoke, and anything else that should not be in the air.