Category Archives: Questions

Orchid Not Blooming: Buds Not Opening

Hey guys,

Today’s question comes all the way from Scotland:

Dear Danny,

I am very happy I found your website, and could email as well.  I have a problem with my orchids here.  It was blooming ery nicely for two years, and this year, it even had more buds than last year.

But the trouble is – for two months already, the flowers were just buds and don’t seem to bloom, full bloom, I mean.  I thought I must have over-watered it, which I think I did because when I took it out of my pot, some of the roots were rotten.

And so I tried to remove those rotten ones, and put new mix of wood and broken clay which I found in our garden, plus some kind of moss.  But even with this, the buds do not seem to open up.  What shall I do?

Thank you very much for any advise you can give.  I am just a beginner and got so much satisfaction with my three pots of orchids.  Imagine, they kept on blooming from April to October last year.  And even this year, the two pots of orchids have still their flowers until now.

They have been there since April, and I think the flowers will last until October again.  Except, of course, for that other pot.  But you know, that pot of orchids buds were there since June, some have withered (three of them) but the other buds are still hanging around.  I just hope they will also open up.

God bless you, dear Danny.

Sister Mary

And here’s my answer:

Hi Sister Mary,

You’re spot-on with thinking that over-watering may have stopped the buds opening as this is the top cause of this particular problem.

Both cutting off the rotten roots and re-potting, as you have done, will usually help solve the problem. Ensure that the mix isn’t packed to tightly in the pot as orchids require good air circulation around the roots (in the wild, most orchids attach themselves to trees or rocks rather than growing in the ground like other types of flowers). A loose potting mix will also allow water to drain from the pot easily reducing the chance of root-rot.

A good fertilizer can also aid flower growth (check out my article on fertilizers here: I’ve heard that potash (ash from burned wood) can help with flowering because it contains potassium, which promotes flower growth but i haven’t tested it myself – if you try using potash, do please let me know how successful it is.

Other causes of buds that don’t flower can include insufficient light, low humidity or low temperatures, however as you have other orchids in the same locality that are doing fine, I would surmise that these factors would not be the cause.

On a side-note, the maintenance of the surrounding area when taking care of orchids is crucial to their success.  If you are in need of space or of quick maintenance, consider Raleigh tree removal as a great way to make this process an easy one.


If you have anything you’d like to share on this topic,please leave a comment below :)

Orchid Q&A: The roots are pungent and the stems are shriveling badly…

Hey guys,

Today’s question comes from Bob Billbrough. Bob asked us:

Hi, I am at a loss for ideas when it comes to my orchids. The roots are pungent and the stems are shriveling badly. Do you have any suggestions as to how to help me get my orchids back on their feet? Thank you in advance, Bob

And here’s my reply:

Hi Bob,

It sounds like your orchid is suffering from root rot caused by over-watering. Too much water around the roots stops them getting the air they need and causes them to rot and become dysfunctional. Because the roots aren’t working properly, they’re unable provide water to the leaves, which is why the leaves have become shriveled.
If your orchid is in the later stages of root rot, it will be very difficult to save, however I’m hoping that this is only a recent occurance.
To save it, you’ll need to remove your orchid from it’s pot and check the roots out. Any bad roots should be snipped off with a pair of sterilized scissors or cutters. Bad roots can be recognised as they will be soft, mushy and perhapsoff-colour (not the healthy white colour of normal roots).
After removing the rotting roots, repot your orchid in a new pot with fresh potting mix.
Ensure there is adequate drainage and take a look at this video to see how orchids should be watered to prevent a similar mishap in the future:
Only water your orchid when the mix has become dry and ensure most of the water drains straight through the mix and out of the holes in the bottom of the pot leaving the mix moist but wet.