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How Long Do Orchids Live?

Orchids Are Special

Have you been attracted to orchids? It is only natural because they have a mystique and elegance surrounding them, which sets them apart from other flowers.

They almost seem unreal in their perfection and beauty. Orchids belong to the Orchidaceae plant family and are present in more than 25000 species varieties.

Every orchid species has a distinct look. They grow all over the world but are more commonly found in warm tropical and subtropical regions.

This wonderful family of colorful and unique flowers are sought after by experienced and new garden enthusiasts. One question which is most common about orchid has to do with its lifespan.

How long do orchids live depends mainly on the variety you choose and the quality of care you give to the plant?

How Long Do Orchids Live

How Long Do Orchids Live?

Lifespan of Orchids

In ideal conditions and with good care, orchids can last for years. Did you know that certain species of orchids can even survive up to 100 years! Yes, there are records to substantiate this.

Most of the orchids grow in tropical jungles on trees and among the rocks. There are so many varieties of orchids, and they all have different life spans.

We can still give a general outlook about orchids you commonly see and look at how their life cycle functions. Like all other living organisms, orchids also have a fixed lifespan with several stages.

Life Cycle of Orchids

There is nothing exceptional about an orchid’s life cycle, and it is like the life cycle of any other flower or plant.

6 stages of this life cycle are:

  • Production of seeds
  • Germinating
  • Formation of seeds
  • Maturing of seeds
  • Blossoming
  • Final step is reproduction

An orchid seed can take up to 2 years to germinate before it develops into an individual plant. It may seem long, but it is worth the time.

A lot of energy is required to produce beautiful flowers. Some of the energy is taken from leaves. Due to this the leaves may turn yellow or even die.

It may take approximately 3 to 4 months for a plant to produce first flowers, and after this, it will start to grow roots. The full life cycle of an orchid plant can take anywhere between 8 and 15 months. If the plant does not die, it can come to life again.

Types of Orchids

You can generally separate the orchid flowers into two different growth types. In nature, orchids usually grow on tree branches and not on soil.

They feed on decomposing plant matter and are called epiphytic orchids. Terrestrial orchids, on the other hand, grow on the ground. They are hardy and can survive different weather conditions better.

How Long Do Orchids Live variety of orchids in flower pots

What Do Orchids Need?

Orchids like all other plants need

  • light
  • water
  • growing medium
  • air

The main difference is that orchids need more specialized humidity levels, water, sunlight, and growing mediums depending on the type of orchid and where they grow.

They are air loving plants and cannot be planted in soil alone. You need to add light potting media such as bark chips and peat in the soil to make it airy.

Too much light can discolor the flowers, and less light will even stop the flowers from blossoming. With good care and regular maintenance, an orchid plant may outlive you easily.

Plant and Blossom Lifespan

Like all living things, orchids also have a life span that varies from species to species. Many orchids survive for years, but after about 15 to 20 years, the plant naturally becomes weak and produces lesser blooms.

Its natural immune system may also weaken. It is better to discard a diseased plant. Cut orchids can live for 3 weeks or more if you care for them well.

Change the water in the vase frequently and cut 1/8th inch off the end. Don’t keep the flowers in direct sunlight to avoid scorching the blossoms and leaves.

Propagating Orchids

Another way to extend the life of orchid is by letting it reproduce into new plants. Though not very simple, it is an effective way to ensure that you allow an orchid plant to live longer.

It would be best if you remembered that all orchids reproduce in different ways, and the techniques may vary from species to species. For popular moth orchid, new plants can be started by potting the small offshoots which develop along the stems.

The technique of growing offshoots and roots is a bit complicated and requires precision and time. Once the roots are a few inches long, you can plant it in its own pot.

Growing Orchids Indoors

Orchids are well known for their beauty and colorful appearance and can be a great addition to indoor spaces. People think that orchids are very fragile and challenging to grow. Yes, they do require some unique techniques and growing conditions. 

How Long Do Orchids Live Growing orchids indoors

However, even beginners and average orchid lovers can learn and keep orchid plants in their homes. One does not need a special room for the orchids, but make sure you can accommodate all the required parameters.

Special humidity levels and the right kind of light are very important. Several species of orchids can be grown inside any home or even an office without too much effort. For any flower lover, it is a great feeling to see orchids blooming around.

Watch this video for more information.

Can Orchids Die Before Time?

Though we can generally say that an orchid plant can live for a certain amount of time, it is also true that sometimes they may die before time. Like any other plant, the untimely death of an orchid plant could be due to various factors.

Each species of orchid has its own growing pattern and requires special care specific to its needs. The orchid plant and flower can die if these specific needs are not met in the right way.

Most often orchids die before time either due to overwatering or under-watering. People tend to guess a plant’s requirements based on their experience with other plants.

Orchids are more sensitive than other plants, and any deviation in the specifics required can damage the plant. If you follow all directions fully and correctly, the chances are that the orchid plant will live healthily for a long time.

Why Do Orchids Lose Their Flowers?

Sometimes the orchid plant may stop flowering. People make the mistake of thinking that the life of the plant is over. Several reasons can cause the flowers to fall off.

The more obvious reason is that they are not getting the right amount of sunlight, water, humidity, or air, causing the flowers to shrivel and die.

Another reason for flowers not blooming or falling off is dormancy. Orchid plants can become dormant for a long time.

If you are new to orchids, you may make the mistake of throwing the plant away. However, with the right care, this plant may start to bloom again. It takes a lot of energy for the plant to start bloom.

When there is no energy, they go into dormancy and may look dead. Flowers will droop and look faded. Making some adjustments in the watering and plant food makes it possible to get the plant to re-bloom. 

Watering Orchids

After going through the information, you must have realized that watering plays an important role in an orchid plant’s life. 

Watering needs will vary for different types of orchids and according to the surrounding atmosphere. You must follow all instructions carefully and completely. Once a week watering is generally sufficient for most species. The size of the container also plays an important part.

A general rule of thumb is that a 6-inch pot will require water once a week, but a smaller pot may need water every 5 days but in lesser quantity.

Quality of water is also an essential factor. Most water systems have chlorine in the water, which can affect plant growth. If possible, use the right water.

As a beginner, you must watch your orchid plant keenly for anything and immediately take action. After growing a couple of plants, you will start to understand the process better and will be able to take care of the plant in a more effective way. 


Like with any plant, it isn’t easy to allot a specific time frame to orchids. Sometimes plants can live longer or shorter than expected. You must have realized that how long orchids live will depend on many factors.

Since there are thousands of species, it is not possible to predict the life span of each or their bloom times. However, you can get a good idea of the plant that you are interested in by asking experts or researching it online.

In fact, it is possible to cultivate and plant orchid varieties in such a way that you end up with the colorful blooms surrounding you throughout the year.