Ten Common Orchid Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

Posted on August 14, 2020 by Andrea Forsberg

Orchids are widely considered one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, and for a good reason—their delicate grace and exotic symmetry make a lovely addition to most decor. While orchids have also earned a reputation as a low maintenance potted plant that is easy to care for, even low maintenance plants have specific needs. As a result, many people still experience roadblocks to proper orchid care.



Some orchid mistakes can lead to stunted growth or poor flowering, while others can be life-threatening to your orchid. Fortunately, many mistakes are relatively simple to address. We’ve compiled some of the most common orchid mistakes—and how you can fix them.


  1. Overwatering. Although orchids are tropical plants, they don’t need as much water as many houseplants. Watering too much can lead to root rot and fungal infections. Water every 7 to 10 days, or whenever the mix gets dry.

  2. Underwatering. It’s still possible to underwater an orchid—keeping the mix too dry can result in shriveled, gray roots and cause the orchid to lose blooms. Develop a watering schedule to ensure your orchid receives enough water—about ¼ cup per session.

  3. Watering from above. A stream of water can damage flowers and leaves, and even cause rotting over time. Instead, water the potting mix directly.

  4. Watering with ice-cold water. While a basic tip for orchid watering is to place ice cubes on the soil mix and let them melt, orchids can suffer from exposure to root damage with too much ice-cold water. When using ice, ensure there is plenty of potting mix between your ice cubes and the roots.

  5. Improper lighting. Orchids can quickly dehydrate with direct sun, and lose flowers in dim areas. Orchids thrive in indirect light—find a place for your orchid in a room with plenty of natural lighting, and keep your orchid out of direct exposure.

  6. Using regular potting soil. In nature, most orchids do not grow from the soil but cling to tree branches and trunks. As a result, potting soil is not a suitable medium for orchids—instead, use fine bark chips to promote drainage and avoid root rot.

  7. Promoting low humidity. If you live in a dry climate, utilize a dehumidifier, or crank up the heat in the winter, you may be dehydrating your orchid. Keep humidity between 55 and 75%; if needed, use a humidifier or consider misting your orchid’s leaves occasionally to maintain proper moisture.

  8. Misting flowers. Although maintaining proper humidity is essential, never mist your orchid’s flowers. Doing so can cause excess moisture and rot—keep mist to leaves and potting mix only.

  9. Cutting extra growths. If your orchid produces aerial roots, false or pseudobulbs, or canes, leave them alone. Roots and canes are a sign of healthy growth, while pseudobulbs can store energy and promote the continued blooming and growth of your orchid.

  10. Overhandling. While mishandling by children, pets, and even the wind can wreak havoc on your orchids, you could be doing just as much damage. Avoid moving more than necessary, and only re-pot as needed or every two years.


Add Orchids to Your Home


Beautiful and graceful, orchids can help you bring the beauty of nature into your home. Addressing these 10 mistakes will ensure that your orchid continues to provide peace and enjoyment for years to come. If you’re ready to add an orchid to your home’s floral design, contact Floral Works for more information; our knowledgeable florists can help you find the perfect flowers online or in our flower shop in Marquette, MI.

Posted in Care, Orchid, Plant, Plants