Facts and How-to's

How to Revive an Orchid: 6 Best Tips to Keep Orchid Healthy

Orchids are a diverse group of flowering plants that belong to the family. Orchidaceae is one of the most prominent plant families in the world with more than 25,000 species and over 100,000 hybrids. Orchids are known for their intricate and strikingly beautiful orchid flowers which come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes.

Sharing with you all the step-by-step guide on how to revive an orchid. Continue reading.

Orchids are found all over the world from tropical rainforests to the arctic tundra. They are adapted to a wide range of environments from wetlands to deserts and have evolved a variety of strategies for pollination and reproduction. Many orchids are epiphytes which means they grow on trees and other plants without taking nutrients from them using their roots to anchor themselves to the host plants and absorb moisture and nutrients from the air and rainwater. Other orchids are terrestrial growing in soil.

Orchids have a long history of cultivation for their beauty and rarity and many species are endangered due to chronic loss, over-collecting and other threats. They are also important commercially with orchid trade and sales reaching millions of dollars each year.

1. How to Revive an Orchid?

Overwatering is a common mistake that can harm orchid flowers. When orchid roots are overwatered, the roots can become waterlogged which can lead to root rot, a fungal disease that can kill the plant. With proper care and attention, most overwatered orchid roots can recover and thrive. Here are some steps to revive an overwatered orchid:

  • Remove the Orchid from the Pot- Gently remove the dying orchid from its pot and impact the roots are brown and mushy they may be rotting.
  • Trim the Roots – Use a sterile pair of scissors to trim off any dead or dead roots. Healthy roots should be firm and white or green.
  • Let the Orchid Dry Out- Allow the dying orchid to dry out completely before watering it again. This can take several days to a week depending on the humidity and temperature in your home.
  • Repot the Orchid- If the orchid is severely overwatered and potting mix is waterlogged, it may be necessary to repot the orchid in a fresh potting mic. Use a pot with good drainage and fill it with a well-draining orchid mix.
  • Water the Orchid Sparingly- Once you have repotted the orchid or the potting mix has dried out, water the orchid sparingly only when the potting mix is almost completely dry. It is important not to overwater the plant orchids again.
  • Provide Good Air Circulation- Healthy Orchid need good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases. Place the orchid in a well-ventilated area with good airflow.

1.1. Identifying an Under-Watered Orchid

Identifying an under-watered orchid can be a bit tricky as symptoms can vary depending on the orchid species and the environmental conditions. To confirm that your orchid’s roots are watered you can gently insert your finger into the potting mix up to your second knuckle.

If the mix is dry at this depth your orchid leaf growth needs watering. Keeping in mind different watering needs so it is essential to research the specific requirements of your orchid to avoid over or under-watering. However, some signs that your orchid may be -water include:

  • Shriveled Leaves-   The leaves of an under-watered orchid can become soft and wrinkled or dry and shriveled.
  • Yellowing Leaves- The leaves of an under-watered orchid may turn yellow and fall off prematurely.
  • Dry Potting Mix- The mix of an under-watered dying orchid may be completely dry or very dry to the touch.
  • Slow Growth- An under-watered orchid may show little to no growth as the lack of water can stunt its development.
  • Dehydrated Pseudobulbs – Some orchid species have pseudobulbs which are specialized stems that store water and nutrients. Underwatered orchids can cause pseudobulbs to become dehydrated and shriveled.

1.2. Best Practices for Watering and Fertilizing an Orchid 

Here are some best practices for watering and fertilizing your orchid:


  • Use the Right Water- Orchids prefer filtered, distilled or rainwater. Tap water may contain minerals and chemicals that can harm the plant.
  • Water Sparingly- Overwatering is a common problem with orchids so it is essential to water sparingly. Wait until the mix is almost completely dry before watering again.
  • Water Thoroughly- When you do water make sure to water thoroughly allowing the water to drain out of the pot completely.
  • Avoid Wetting the Leaves- The risk of fungi illnesses can rise if the leaves are watered. Don’t water the orchid leaves; instead, focus on the roots.


  • Use the Right Fertilizer- Because orchids have particular nutrient needs, it’s crucial to utilize fertilizer that has been specifically formulated for them. Look for a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as trace minerals.
  • Fertilize Regularly – Orchids should be fertilized regularly during the growing season usually every two or four weeks.
  • Follow the Package Instructions- Always follow the package instruction when fertilizing your orchid as over-fertilizing can cause damage to the roots and leaves.
  • Water Before Fertilizing- Water your orchid thoroughly before fertilizing to prevent fertilizer burn which can occur when the fertilizer comes into contact with dry roots.
  • Consider Using a Slow-Release Fertilizer- Slow-release fertilizer can provide nutrients to your orchid over an extended period reducing the need for frequent fertilization.
Image by Teona Swift from Pexels/copyright2021

1.3. Requirements for Reviving an Orchid

Reviving an orchid that is in poor health requires careful attention and proper care. By following these requirements for reviving an orchid you can help your plant recover and thrive. Here are some general requirements for reviving an orchid crown rot:

  • Identifying the Problem- The first is reviving an orchid is to identify the problem. Check for signs of overwatering, underwatering, pests or diseases.
  • Correct the Problem- Once you have identified the problem take steps to correct it. For example, if the orchid is overwatered reduce watering and improve drainage.
  • Repot the Orchid- If the orchid is severely damaged or the pot mix is old and depleted it may be necessary to repot the orchid leaves in a fresh potting mix.
  • Provide the Right Environment- Orchids require specific environmental conditions to thrive such as proper, temperature and humidity. Research the requirements for your orchid species and make sure you are providing the right conditions.
  • Provide Adequate Lighting – Most orchids require bright but filtered light. Make sure your orchid leaves are receiving enough light but not direct sunlight which can burnt dark green leaves.’
  • Water and Fertilizer Properly – Orchids require careful watering and fertilization. Water sparingly and only when the potting mix is almost completely dry. Use a balanced orchid fertilizer and follow the packet instructions.
  • Monitor for Pests and Diseases- Keep an eye out for pests and diseases and take steps to treat them properly.
  • Be Patient- Reviving an orchid can take time and it is essential to be patient and consistent with care. It can take several months for an orchid to recover fully.

1.4. Decide on a New Pot for Repotting 

When repotting an orchid choosing the right pot is important for the health and growth of the plant. By choosing the right pot for your orchid you can help provide the ideal growing conditions and ensure the health and growth of your plant. Here are some tips on how to decide on a new pot for repotting your orchid:

  • Chose a Pot that is the Right Size- Orchids needs to be in pots that are snug but not too tight. The pot should be just big enough to accommodate the indoor plants without cramping them. If the pot is too large it can hold too much water and lead to root rot.
  • Choose a Pot with Drainage Holes- Orchids require well-draining soil and excess water should be able to drain out of the potting medium. Look for a pot with drainage holes in the bottom to ensure good drainage.
  • Choose a Pot Made of Breathable Material- Orchids need good air circulation around their roots. Avoid using plastic pots as they can trap moisture and reduce airflow. Consider using a pot made of clay, ceramic or a porous material like terracotta.
  • Choose a Pot with a Clear Plastic Liner- If you choose a pot that does not have drainage holes consider using a clear plastic liner and drainage holes. This will allow excess water to drain out while still providing good airflow.
  • Consider the Type of Orchid- Different types of orchids have different root systems and may require different types of pots. For example, epiphytic orchids (which grow on trees) may prefer a pot with slatted sides that allow the roots to breathe while terrestrial orchids (which grow in the soil) may prefer a deeper pot.

1.5. Tips to Keep Your Orchid Healthy

Here are some of the tips to help keep your orchid healthy:

  • Water Your Orchid Properly – Orchids require everyday watering but it is important not to overwater them. Water your orchid thoroughly when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Allow the water to drain out of the pot completely to prevent standing water around the roots which can cause root rot.
  • Provide the Right Amount of Light- Most orchids prefer proper sunlight. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves and damage the plants. Place your orchid near a window that receives bright, filtered light. if your orchid is not getting enough light the plant may turn yellow leaves or drop off. If it is getting too much sun the leaves may appear scorched or bleached.
  • Maintain Proper Humidity Levels- Orchids thrive in high humidity levels environments with levels between 50 -70%. If the air in your home is dry you can increase humidity levels by placing a humidifier near your orchid, grouping plants or placing a tray of water near the plant. Avoid making your orchid as this can lead to bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Fertilize Your Orchid- Orchids require regular fertilizations to provide them with the nutrients they need to grow and bloom. Use a fertilizer specifically designed for orchids and follow up the instructions mentioned carefully. Overfertilization damages the roots and leaves.
  • Repot Your Orchid when Necessary- Orchids should be repotted every 12 years or when the potting mix has broken down and is no longer providing adequate drainage. Choose a pot that is the right size and made of breathable material.
  • Keep an Eye Out for the Pots and diseases- Common orchid pests include spider mites, scale insects and mealy bugs. Keep an eye out for signs of infestation such as yellowing leaves or sticky residue on the leaves. Treat pest infestations promptly to prevent damage to your plant.

2. What Materials are Needed? 

The materials needed to revive an orchid may vary depending on the specific needs of your plant. These materials can help provide the essential materials that your orchid needs to recover and thrive. Here are some general materials that may be helpful:

  • Potting Mix – A fresh potting mix that drains efficiently is necessary for rejuvenating an orchid. Look for a mix which is made for orchids or make your mix using materials like bark, perlite and sphagnum moss.
  • Pot- Choose a pot that is the right size for your orchid. Make sure the pot has drainage holes.
  • Fertilizer- Giving your orchid plant the organic nutrients it needs to recover might be aided by a fertilizer that is balanced for orchids. Find a fertilizer designed especially for orchids.
  • Watering Can or Spray Bottle- You can water your orchid with a watering can or spray bottle. Avoid misting the foliage with water as fungus could cause damage.
  • Insecticide or Fungicide- If your orchid is suffering from pests or diseases, you may use an insecticide or fungicide to treat the problem.
  • Humidity Tray- Some orchids require humidity levels to thrive. A humidity tray can help increase humidity around your plant.
  • Grow lights- If your orchids are not getting enough light you may need to use a grow light to provide supplement light.

2.1. Examine the Roots of Your Orchid

Examining the roots of your orchid plant is an essential part of caring for your plant. By examining the roots of your orchid plant and removing any damaged roots you can help your plants to recover and thrive. It is important to be gentle and careful when handling your orchid to the roots. Here are some of the steps to examine the roots of your orchid:

  • Remove the Orchid from the Pot- Gently remove the orchid from its pot being careful not to damage the roots.
  • Inspect the Roots – Look for any signs of damage such as brown or black roots, mushy or slimy roots or roots that are dry and brittle. Healthy roots should be firm and white or green.
  • Remove any Damaged Roots- If you find any damaged roots use a pair of sterilized scissors or pruning shears to remove them. Get away from any brown or black roots that are mushy or slimy. Be sure to sterilize your scissors or shears with rubbing alcohol to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Soak the Orchid- Once you have removed any damaged roots soak the orchid in orchid in the container of water for about 1015 minutes. This will help to rehydrate the roots and encourage new growth.
  • Repot the Orchid- If the potting mix is old or depleted it may be necessary to repot the orchid to a fresh mix pot. Choose a pot that is right for your orchid and make sure it has drainage holes.
  • Replant the Orchid- Carefully place the orchid in the pot making sure the roots are spread out evenly. Add fresh potting mix around the roots, pressing it down gently.
  • Water the Orchid- Water the orchid thoroughly allowing the water to drain out of the pot completely.
how to revive an orchid
Image by Cottonbro Studio from Pexels /copyright2020

2.2. Trim the Dead Leaves and Stems Appropriately 

Trimming dead leaves and stems is an important part of caring for an orchid plant. It is important to be gentle and careful when trimming your orchid to avoid causing damage to the healthy parts of the plant. By removing dead leaves and stems you can maintain and impoverished the overall health and look of your orchids. Here are the steps to trim dead leaves and stems appropriately:

  • Identify Dead Leaves and Stems – Look for the leaves and stems that are brown, yellow or withered. These are likely dead or dying and should be removed.
  • Sterilize Your Pruning Shears- Before you begin trimming sterilize your pruning shears with rubbing alcohol solutions of one part bleach to nine parts waters. This will help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Cut Dead Leaves and Stems- Use your sterilized pruning shears to carefully cut away any dead leaves or stems. Cut the leaves or stems as close to the base of the plant as possible.
  • Monitor for New Growth- After you have trimmed away any dead leaves or stems monitor your orchid for new growth. New leaves or stems may appear in the same location indicating that the plan is healthy and recovering.
  • Dispose of Dead Leaves and Stems- Dispose of any dead leaves or stems in the trash. Do not compost them as this can spread disease.

2.3. Choose the Best Soil 

Choosing the best soil for your orchid is essential for its growth and health. Here are some of the tips on choosing the right soil, for your orchid:

  • Look for Well-Draining Soil- Orchids require well-draining soil that allows water to flow through easily. This helps prevent water from sitting around the roots and causing root rot. Look for a soil mix that contains materials like bark, perlite or sphagnum moss, which promote good drainage.
  • Choose a Soil Mix Formulated for Orchids- There are many types of soil mixes available, but it is best to choose one that is only formulated for orchids. These mixes are designed to provide a good amount of nutrients and drainage for your plants.
  • Avoid Heavy Soil- Heavy soils retains water and can be harmful to your orchids. Avoid using potting mixes that contain heavy materials like pest moss or garden soil.
  • Check pH Level – Orchids prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 5.5 bands 6.5. You can test the pH of your soil using a soil pH testing kit which is available at most garden centers.
  • Consider the Type of Orchid- Different types of orchids may have different soil requirements. While choosing the best soil for your orchid check the specific needs of your orchid. By selecting a well-draining orchid-specific soi; mix you can help provide the ideal growing conditions for your orchid.

2.4. Provide the Right Amount of Water, Sunlight and Humidity 

Providing the right amount of water, sunlight and humidity is essential for the health and growth of your orchid. Some pointers on how to supply the ideal quantity of these components include:

  • Water – Although orchids need to be watered, it’s crucial not to overwater plants. To avoid standing water around the water, let the water entirely drain out of the pot. The type of orchid, the potting mix, and the surrounding conditions will all affect how frequently to water it.
  • Sunlight- Most orchids prefer bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight burns the leaves so make sure that it does not get direct sun rays. Place your orchid near your window that receives bright filtered sun rays.
  • Humidity- Orchids thrive in high-humidity environments. If the air in your room is dry you can increase humidity levels by placing a humidifier near your orchid.  
  • Temperature- Most orchids prefer a daytime temperature between 65-85 °F (18-29 °C)   and a nighttime temperature between 55-65 °F (13-18 °C). Avoid exposing your orchid to extreme temperatures or drafts.

3. Final Words

In conclusion, reviving an orchid requires careful attention and proper care. By examining the roots, trimming the leaves and stems, choosing the right soil and pots and providing the right amount of water, sunlight, humidity and temperature you can help your orchid recover and thrive well.

It is very vital to monitor your orchid regularly and make adjustments as needed to provide the ideal growing conditions. With proper care and attention, your orchid can live for many years and gives you many beautiful blooms season after season.

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