Why does an orchid stop growing

Orchids are popular flowering plants with bright exotic flowers. They give personality to the environment in which they live. Houseplants require proper care and must be maintained, otherwise they may not develop further.

Reasons why the orchid does not grow at home

New shoots usually grow after flowering and subsequent dormancy to form new flowers. All of a sudden, the home orchid’s leaves stop developing and they stop growing completely. If the orchid stops growing, and the shoots turn yellow or turn brown, even a simple mistake in care can lead to the depletion of a home flower.

A healthy orchid always has healthy roots and leaves, and stopping growth signals that something is wrong. Why is the orchid not growing? Leaves can stop growing for a number of reasons:

  • a period of rest is needed;
  • wrong location;
  • improper watering;
  • the soil environment is unsuitable;
  • poor feeding;
  • the growth capacity is too small;
  • wrong cut.

Orchids need a rest period so that new shoots develop and a beautiful flower appears.


Orchids after flowering

Optimal positioning and cooler temperatures during dormancy are important for the formation of new shoots. As soon as new shoots appear, the orchid is placed in a warm, bright place where the temperature is from 20 ° C to 25 ° C and there is no midday sun.

Additional Information! If the temperature and brightness are not correct, the plant should be moved immediately, but frequent location changes should be avoided. Perhaps it will still be possible to stimulate the growth of the plant in the current growing season.

If you moved an orchid from one window to another, and the leaves are in the process of developing, it may take some time for them to continue growing.

Even if the orchid does not give new shoots this year, despite the new location, they continue to care for it. The plant can recover and start growing.


If the lighting is strong, the orchid cannot grow more leaves than last year. Too much light interferes with leaf growth. Plant on a sunny windowsill, it is important to move a little further into the shade, or use a thicker curtain.

A flower needs sunlight to form chlorophyll, which converts light into energy.

Orchids on the window

If the orchid grows in a room that is too bright, the leaves will turn pale yellow with reddish-purple dots on them, chlorophyll will not be produced. It makes the leaf green, so with less of it, the leaf turns yellow.

Note! Healthy orchid leaves are usually lighter green. Too dark green means the orchid is not getting enough light.

Leaves that get enough light won’t be big because small ones produce enough energy, so why should they grow big?

Poor micronutrient potting medium inhibits leaf growth

The quality and composition of the soil substrate are important criteria that ensure the full development, growth and flowering of orchids. The substrate for orchids should be air, light and moisture permeable. How does it affect the orchid to grow with long full leaves? When the soil environment is depleted, the roots cannot carry out air exchange and absorb the right amount of nutrients necessary for them to flourish.

Changes in the potting environment are the worst for orchids. The substrate is changed every 2-3 years. If the orchid sits longer in a pot, where the air circulation is poorer and the pH rises every day (because the bark decomposes), not only the growth of the leaves, but the entire plant will stop.

Orchids need a fresh soil environment that is breathable (which also helps increase nitrogen) and allows water to escape quickly. If water accumulates on the surface of the medium, then the roots of the orchid will rot.

Each orchid has its own pH preference. If the orchid is a lithophyte that attaches itself to rocks, the pH will be higher. If you do not know which orchid, you need to strive for a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.

The development of the peduncle stops the growth of leaves

If an orchid develops new leaves and then begins to develop a flower spike, it may have to choose between the two,

The development of the peduncle

They often lack the energy to produce leaves and flower stalks at the same time. If the orchid focuses on the peduncle, the leaves will suffer (do not turn into an adult leaf). It will be a healthy leaf, but not full size.To prevent this from happening, you need to provide light, water and fertilizer to produce enough energy for the development of leaves and peduncle.

Environmental change stops leaf growth

Turning on the air conditioner or central heating changes the temperature dramatically and dries the air a lot. Orchids grow slowly and do not tolerate change well. Add some moisture with a water tray or humidifier.

They adapt, but this temporary stress will stop any current growth, the orchid will not adapt quickly. They are resilient, but they need time to get through the changes. Therefore, they are not transplanted when they bloom.

Proper watering of orchids

Dehydration hinders the growth of orchid leaves. It can also be due to improper watering, that the decorative flower does not form new shoots or they change color. The reason here can be two errors: too much or too little moisture. Orchids need to be watered very carefully.

Overflow is a problem, as is insufficient watering. If an orchid is accustomed to getting more water, and suddenly its amount has dropped, the leaves will stop growing. If this continues for a long time, the leaves will become wilted and leathery, with deep grooves on them.

Orchid leaves usually do not recover quickly, and damage to a particular leaf can be irreversible.

Yellowed leaves

Over time, this leaf will fall off and a new one will take its place, but this may take several years.

Note! It is advisable to spray plants daily over aerial roots and leaves. Once a week, briefly dip, after which the water should drain well.

top dressing

Lack of fertilizer will also hamper the growth of orchids because they need enough nutrients. If immediately, after the dormant phase, the plant is not fertilized, then new leaves will not appear, or only stunted, discolored shoots will appear.

Ideally, I use liquid orchid fertilizer from a specialized store. It already contains all the necessary nutrients. If you make fertilizer yourself, you should pay attention to the ingredients, otherwise discolored shoots may appear.

When fertilizing for proper care, pay attention to the following. Some orchids such as Cattleyas, Oncidiums, Epidendrums, Catasetums and many others have pseudobulbs. This thickened aerial part of an orchid’s stem serves as a reservoir of water and nutrients for plants, and they can withstand periods of lack of water or light.

If these pseudobulbs haven’t received enough nutrients in the past year, they may have trouble developing new leaves. In most cases, pseudobulb orchids have new leaves, but they are smaller than in previous years.

A sympodial orchid that does not have a pseudobulb, like Phalaenopsis and Vandas, is more likely to have an undeveloped leaf. The orchid does not have an additional storage capacity for nutrients, so at home, the orchid will depend on weekly feeding.

Sometimes fertilizer is applied correctly, but it is not suitable for a certain type of orchid.

  • Lack of phosphorus or nitrogen stops growth.
  • A bright yellow leaf along with stunted growth of new leaves means there is not enough air and nitrogen in the potting medium.
  • Phosphorus deficiency can be caused by incorrect water pH.

To correct these shortcomings, fertilizers with a higher nitrogen and phosphorus content in the NPK ratio are used. This designation is indicated on the fertilizer bottle/bag.

If the root system is completely destroyed due to root rot, the orchid cannot absorb the necessary nutrients and will not have enough energy to produce bright and healthy leaves.

If the orchid has not been fertilized, you need to start using this remedy as soon as brown or yellow shoots appear. Most likely, this year the plant will no longer produce flowers. It should not be thrown away, but should be continued as usual to prepare for next year’s flowering.

Too small capacity

The flowerpot should be checked immediately after the dormant phase. If the pot is too small, the plant needs to be repotted. Growth stops if orchids do not have enough space. The need for transplantation is shown under such circumstances: aerial roots protrude beyond the edge, roots grow through a hole in the ground.

  • Carefully take the orchid out of the pot.
  • Dried bulbs are removed so that new shoots can develop better.
  • Completely free the roots from the old substrate.
  • Fresh substrate is poured into a new pot.
  • Return the orchid to its place.

Orchid pots are available in a variety of materials.

Incorrect pruning of flower stalks

Phalaenopsis orchid varieties are often sold in the supermarket. The advantage of this species for beginners is that they do not take a break from flowering and therefore do not need a resting phase. This can lead to improper cutting and therefore yellow or brown discoloration of the shoots. Especially with this type of orchid, the following should be observed:

Do not cut dry flower stalks. Lateral stems develop on them: they begin to bloom and bloom.


Dry flower stalks

In other species, the stem can be removed and they only produce flowers on new shoots.leaf care

Do not neglect the care of the leaves, because the plant absorbs the necessary moisture from the air in order to be able to form new shoots. When caring for an orchid, dust off the leaves regularly using a damp, soft cloth. Care must be taken not to use hard water, which forms lime deposits on the leaves.

Sometimes with an orchid everything is in order – it’s just that by nature they grow very slowly. One must learn to wait patiently for the orchid to resume new leaf development.