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Why Is My Orchid Dying – 7 Possible Reasons!

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Have you recently been questioning yourself why is my orchid dying?’. Do you want to know ‘why is my orchid dying?’. If so, then read on.

None of us want to spend our precious time taking care of our orchids, checking boxes on attending to them, and still watch them die. That is why we’ll give you multiple reasons for what might be causing this.

This list will come in handy to keep your orchids healthy and green, and you won’t ever have to ask yourself again, ‘why is my orchid dying?’.

Why Is My Orchid Dying
Orchid Dying – via Reddit

Why Is My Orchid Dying – 7 Reasons

There are many plausible factors for why your orchid might suddenly start showing signs of death, some of them being:

1. Watering

A very common reason for orchids dying is the routine the owner follows for watering it. Both overwatering and under watering can prove to be harmful to the orchids.

Overwatering causes root rot in the orchids which turns the leaves yellow, giving them a dying appearance. As these plants prefer relatively dry soil, waterlogging in the potting medium is also a problem making the roots look brown and mushy.

On the other hand, underwatering your orchids can cause stunted growth and a scrawny-looking plant with grey and shriveled roots.

2. Light

Just like all plants, orchids are sensitive to the amount of light they receive. An unpredictable source of light, or lack of it, could be the cause for the morbid look of your orchid. Orchids can also be affected by too much sunlight that hits them directly as that can potentially burn them.

If your orchid has very dark green leaves that means that it isn’t getting enough light, while yellowish or red leaves are an indicator for excessive direct sunlight. Bright green leaves signal a healthy orchid.

3. Sudden Environmental Changes

Orchids are sensitive plants, even little environmental changes like temperature changes, lower humidity levels, or kerosene heaters can affect your orchid.

A drop in humidity followed by higher temperatures can cause orchids to lose water through their leaves at a faster rate than they can absorb through their roots, which results in wilting due to loss of moisture.

Kerosene heaters can poison the orchids through the ethylene gas they release which is dangerous for the buds.

4. Lack of Nutrients

Nutrients are important for the growth and development of the orchid. Lack of these nutrients, such as manganese, phosphorus, nitrogen, or potassium can cause bud blast and poor leaf and root growth.

5. Pests or Diseases

Orchids can fall victim to fungal infections, leaf rot, mildew, and botrytis. Also, pests like slugs, green flies, spider mites, weevils, etc can present a huge problem for the plant’s growth and life.

6. Natural Dormancy

The way some mammals hibernate, orchids spend some time remaining dormant, during which their color dulls, their blooms drop, and their stem shrivels, while the whole plant itself turns grey or brown.

Dormancy lasts for about six to nine months during the winters while the orchids get ready to bloom during spring and summertime. So the muted appearance of your orchid might be because it is undergoing its dormancy period and not because it is dying.

7. Crown Rot

Sometimes the orchid leaves form a tunnel shape around the stem. That tunnel collects water and holds it there and this still water can cause Crown Rot. The leaves turn droopy and turn darker near the base of the plant.

Why Is My Orchid Dying 2
My roommate’s Orchid is dying! Any tips? – via Reddit

How To Prevent Or Revive Your Dying Plant?

If you observe one of the above symptoms in your orchid and want to know prevention techniques or ways to revive your plant, here is how you can do that.

Watering Method

The best way to water your orchid is for about fifteen seconds and using lukewarm water and then letting the plant drain twice.

To revive an overwatered orchid remove the orchid from the pot, clean the pot using hydrogen peroxide, prune the roots, and then repot the orchid in a new potting medium.  


Orchids require indirect sunlight for around 12 to 14 hours daily. Direct sunlight can burn the orchids, so keeping them in a living room near a window is recommended. Fluorescent tubes that are 40-74 watts and 48-96 inches long can also be used as an alternate, for areas where direct or indirect sunlight is a rarity.

Environment Conditions

The perfect humidity levels for orchids are from 40% to 70%. Humidity trays can be used to maintain such levels. The best temperatures for orchids are between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.


Experts recommend using a fertilizer that is overall balanced like 20-20-20 as it contains all trace elements (boron, molybdenum, manganese, copper, zinc, iron) that promote continuous and healthy growth of plants. It also doesn’t include any urea which is harmful to orchids in large quantities, since it’s preferred to have little to none of it present in the fertilizer.


Pesticides can be used to prevent and get rid of pests. Some products that can be used are neem oil (for spider mites), hydrogen peroxide (against thrips, aphids, and bacteria), and rubbing alcohol (for mealybugs).

Care During Dormancy

Throughout this time you should continue watering as usual and also fertilize the plant every two weeks, making sure that it receives plenty of indirect sunlight.

Crown Rot

Crown rot can be treated by pouring a small amount of hydrogen peroxide into the affected area. To prevent crown rot you should only water the potting medium and not the stem or leaves.


This can all be summarised to say that the solution to ‘why is my orchid dying?’ is by maintaining an accurate routine for your orchid with the precise amount of sunlight, humidity, water, and the correct products!