Orchid Growing Problems

The orchid family (Orchidaceae) is stunningly diverse, containing thousands of species of flowering plants that are cultivated and collected throughout the world for their exotic and alien-looking blooms. Like any plant, orchids are subject to their own host of pests and problems, and gardeners should take time to assess what action should be taken when it comes to orchid growing problems.

Failure to Bloom

There are several reasons why an orchid plant may fail to bloom, but one of the most common is simply that the plant isn't receiving enough light. If the plant's leaves are dark green rather than mid-green, this is a sign that the plant needs more sun. Be sure to keep your orchid in bright, indirect sunlight, ideally from the South or West. Your orchid plant may also be too young to bloom, or be over-fertilized. Too much nitrogen can prevent an orchid from producing flowers.


If your orchid has blackened leaf tips, blackened roots or fine yellow or white spots across its leaves, it may be suffering from toxins in its environment. Spots may be caused by contaminants in the air such as air fresheners, smoke or cooking fumes. Blackened tips are often caused by the type of pot the orchid has been planted in: try to use simple clay pots whenever possible, as glazed, decorative pots can poison orchids.


Fungal problems are caused by an excess of moisture, or by a cut or wound on the plant. If your orchid plant has irregular brown splotches on its leaves or on its crown caused by fungus, carefully cut away the infected area with a sterilized knife. Seal or dust the open wound on the plant with one of the following: fungicide, hydrogen peroxide, powdered sulfur or cinnamon. You can help prevent fungus by keeping the orchid's foliage dry.

Keywords: orchid problems, growing tips, growing problems

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.