Orchid Plant Resting Period

Author: Celeste Booth17 Comments

Care and Culture

Is My Orchid Dying?

Like all living things, orchids have life cycles. After producing beautiful blooms, they must go through a period of rest to replenish their energy and get ready for the next growth and blooming cycle. You can expect that as your orchid begins do drop its flowers after weeks-months of blooming, that it is now heading into this resting period. During this period, you might become concerned for your orchid’s health, simply because it’s not looking as strong and cheerful as it was when blooming. The leaves may droop more, the flower stem will begin to brown and die back. Fear not, as this is all completely normal and part of the plant’s yearly growth cycle. If your orchid looks otherwise healthy (no pests, yellowing of the youngest leaves, etc.) then your orchid is, in fact, healthy. After a few months your orchid will begin growing again and will send up new flower spikes and those droopy leaves will perk back up.

How do I Care for my Orchid During its Resting Period?

When your orchid’s growth has slowed down and it has finished blooming, you can adjust the care you give it accordingly. The main thing to remember is to cut back on your fertilizing and watering. You should still maintain a regular rhythm (for example, fertilize once a month, and water once a week in smaller volume) so that you don’t lose track or neglect your orchid. Just because it has become somewhat dormant, it does not mean it no longer needs attention. Once the orchid begins new growth, you can return to your more frequent watering and fertilizing schedule.

Please note orchids do not all have the same length resting periods or blooming cycles. It is important to pay attention to how your plant is behaving and keep in mind that sudden bud loss, black spots, and other unusual signs might mean your orchid is diseased or in distress.

If you’re worried about your orchid plant, please review our post Top Signs That Your Orchid is Unhealthy or Learn to Speak Your Orchid’s Language.

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17 Responses to “Orchid Plant Resting Period”

  1. grace roman says:

    This is so exciting! I just attended a class in which I have been challenged to grow a few of these exotic plants. They are beautiful and great to give as gifts. love the turf look of your website.

  2. Walter t. Kunkel ,jr. says:

    I was blessed with Two flower spikes And each had 6 floWers and lasted from Oct.18th to DEc 30 of 2015,thank you for the rest pediod information.

  3. Janice A says:

    Should a dormant orchid be kept dark – in the unheated greenhouse it’s gone mouldy

    1. Celeste Booth says:

      It should still be getting a sufficient amount of indirect light. It sounds like it might need a bit more air flow if it’s becoming mouldy.

  4. Lisa says:

    Some of my orchids have a few tiny thin black insects—-less than 1/16th of an inch wide— on the flowers and buds. But otherwise those have been blooming beautifully. Could these be the “friendly thrips” I’ve heard about that eat worse bugs, or should I spray insecticidal soap on them. They look like th ones on my gardenia bush but that bush has been excellent for years with lots of flowers. Friend or foe?

  5. Dee says:

    All of my orchids have roots coming out of the pots. What does this mean?

    1. Lucille says:

      I have same problem.

      1. Lisa Lewis says:

        Orchids have air roots, meaning that their roots grow above ground. They absorb moisture and CO2 directly from the air. Don’t worry, it’s normal for an orchids roots to come out of the pot

  6. Becca says:

    My orchid is at its end blooming cycle and I’m anxious to see how it comes back. It lasted almost 2months.

  7. Deborah M. Cook says:

    What do I use as a repotting medium for my mother orchid and her keikis?

  8. Susan Taylor says:

    My orchid has had beautiful flowers since the end of August, but they are dropping now. I have it where it gets a lot of natural light indoors,and the temperature has been in high70’s in house. Should I just keep it in same environment during the resting period? Thanks.

    1. Celeste Booth says:

      It should be fine in the same area, but watering and fertilizing frequency may need to be adjusted/reduced during colder overcast months.

  9. Sandee Flood says:

    I have had my orchids for a year now, and every time the blooms go, I get new spikes. The flowers are lasting for months. They do not seem to take a rest period, should I do anything?

  10. Jo-Ann Callahan says:

    My orchid will not stop blooming it needs to be re-potted but I want to wait until the blossoms fall. It keeps send up new stems. what should I do?

    1. Celeste Booth says:

      Hi Jo-Ann, do you know what type of orchid you have? How long has it been continuously blooming? It’s not unusual for orchid flowers to last months on end. If it is a recent purchase, we suggest waiting a bit longer until blooming begins to die down, if possible.

  11. Jennifer Baker says:

    I bought a Cymbidium Orchard. It had grey whitish roots and they were very long. I thought this was a bad thing and I cut the roots down and then watered it real well and repoted it. It had flowers all over it and now Im losing the flowers. Did I kill it??? What do I do? After I watered it really well, some of the roots are green and some are still grey whitish still. What do I do?

  12. Caroline Cirace says:

    When it start to go dormate should I cut it back some?

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