How Long Do Orchids Live: The Life Span and What Boosts it

How long do orchids live is a common question that can trouble anyone who has yet to grow these plants. There is no specific answer about their age as the lifespan varies depending on species and growing conditions.

How Long Do Orchids Live

However, orchids can live up to 20 years on average. They can stay alive even longer if you follow the tips we have discussed later in this article.

How Long Do Orchids Live: The Exact Lifespan

Orchids live up to 20 years when they are in the wild, however, when they are growing in pots and indoors, they will grow on average 10 to 15 years long. Their lifespan depends on the orchid species and whether you provide ideal growing conditions.

– Life Cycle of Orchids

Orchids’ life begins with seed germination, and generally, the germination process is one that takes up to two months. Then, they will come to the vegetative phase until the end of their life cycle. When it comes to blooming, the orchids can take years to produce their first flower.

So, how often do orchids bloom? There are numerous flowering times throughout an orchid’s life. The plant enters a “time of rest” after its first bloom. Some inexperienced gardeners make the mistake of throwing the orchid after the first blooms because they assume the plant is dead.

In reality, orchids enter the dormancy stage after blooming because they need to save energy for their next blooming season and because they have plenty of energy when growing. This will continue for years until their lifespan ends.

– Growing Conditions of Orchids

There are three ways to do orchid gardening, the indoor ones, which would grow in pots, the outdoor ones, and the ones that live in vases for decoration purposes. All these have different living conditions and different lifespans.

How long do orchids live indoors? When kept indoors, orchids typically live for 15 to 25 years. Providing the optimal environment is easy when you grow them inside, increasing their lifespans.

How long do orchids live outdoors? An orchid can survive for around 15 years outside, on average. Real life depends on how well you protect it from external damage and the place that you locate your orchid is a determiner, which is why you must give it partial shade, such as behind a tree with dappled light, or consider using shade cloth to nullify the sun’s harmful rays.

Also, storing your plant in a place that shields them from wind and bad weather is essential to protect them from getting damaged. Furthermore, you have to control pest infestation too.

How long do orchids live in a vase? When placed in a vase or container, orchids can last 60 to 120 days. Their flowers in bouquets can stay colorful for one to two days, but then again, they will dry.

What Are The Lifespans of Different Orchids?

The lifespan of different orchids would differ, for instance, the phalaenopsis would live more than 10 years, and the epiphytic would live on average 10 to 15 years. Whereas, the Brassavola would live between three to five years and the mini orchids live from a few months to a year.

Lifespans of Different Orchids

Knowing the lifespan of different orchid plants or species is important, so you can easily choose which one you want to grow. It is only possible to discuss some species as hundreds exist. You will be surprised to know that an orchid has been blooming for more than 150 years in Singapore botanical garden. But for an orchid plant to live this much requires a lot of care and attention from its owner.

– Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis, or moth orchid, is the first choice of thousands of people. It is also recommended for novice enthusiasts to grow this one because it is easier to handle than others. So, how long do Phalaenopsis orchids live? These orchids can survive for more than 10 years if given proper care, and during their life, you will see beautiful moth-shaped flowers on them.

When you are growing them, you may also think, how long do white orchid flowers last? Well, they bloom for two to three months every season, but after this period the flowers weaken, but the plant would still be active.

– Epiphytic

A lot of gardeners prefer orchids on trees, and such are called Epiphytic orchids, and their lifespan is 10 to 15 years. However, you must be careful when attaching them to the tree bark. These beautiful orchids can die soon if you don’t place them perfectly on the trees. In short, they would live better, healthier, and a longer life when they are on trees.

– Dendrobium

Dendrobium orchids are another popular choice. Like epiphytic orchids, they can last 10 to 15 years. The blooming season of these orchids is from February until June. After flowering, the plant remains in its dormant stage. There is no growth during the inactive phase, but don’t worry. The cycle will begin again in the spring. If you take care of the orchid properly, this keeps happening for almost a decade.

– Chinese Ground Orchid

The most common terrestrial orchid is the Chinese ground orchid, known for its pinkish-purple blossoms, and it can keep growing for up to 10 years. Although this orchid requires you to keep caring for it, the flowering stage makes all the effort worth it. Fortunately, a Chinese ground orchid blooms repeatedly during its life, which means that it would keep on growing.

– Brassavola Orchids

Brassavola orchids are famous among those that like orchid trees. Its lifespan is shorter than many orchid species, which is living between three and five years. Still, people love it because it can blossom elegant flowers throughout the year, not just in one season.

– Mini Orchids

How long do mini orchids live? They can only thrive for a few months, while some can touch one year. A couple of these plant varieties like Laelia, Lepanthes, Tolumnia, etc. are the priority of indoor gardeners. They are short in size and require little care, and they will only stay alive for a short time.

How To Increase the Lifespan of Orchids?

To increase the lifespan of orchids, you should provide them with the most suitable growing conditions. Ensure they receive plenty of indirect light, adequate water, and timely fertilizer.

Increase the Lifespan of Orchids

In addition to this, you should also keep checking and tackling pests to protect them.

– Make Sure the Potting Soil Is Suitable

It is one of the most important factors that the potting soil stays healthy throughout the year, as orchids depend on it for minerals and water. We all know that no plant can survive without these two things.

Therefore, when a potting medium degrades, it becomes harder for orchids to survive. Ensure the orchid pots are not broken from anywhere, as insects and pathogens can enter from the crack.

It would be great if you use an orchid mix as it is specifically manufactured to fulfill the needs of every orchid. You can also use any potting mix mixed with bark chips and sphagnum moss, and to specify further, these potting media are well-drained, nutrient-rich, and slightly acidic.

In short, orchid roots love these factors so that they will perform their role even better. Ultimately, it will be the orchids that will benefit and live for more time than average.

– Let the Orchids Enjoy Plenty of Indirect Light

They prefer something other than direct light that is not upon it exactly. Light is significant for orchids because they use it to perform physiological functions, and it helps it stay green and thrive. However, note that it is the indirect light that orchids desire.

Protect your orchids from direct sunlight because it causes leaves to evaporate water faster. It also burns the cells, which leads to yellow spots. With time, such leaves start to curl and cannot perform photosynthesis.

Furthermore, high-intensity light also dries out the soil quickly. This causes drought stress, and all the internal processes in the orchid slow down. If such a situation continues, the orchid cannot survive long, which is why indirect light is necessary for them to keep growing. Light is crucial for orchids to stay alive, which is why you will notice the wilting shortly if you leave one in the dark completely.

– Water With Care

Orchids grow best when you give them water at the right time, and it’s no secret that both overwatering and underwatering damage them severely. So, it’s a no-brainer that their lifespans decrease when you don’t water them properly. Always uproot the weeds because they rob the orchids of the water and nutrients you add.

When you are growing one of these graceful flowering plants, you would wish to increase their lifespan and watering is a key necessity, and the best way to water it is to let the soil dry first before adding water. This will reduce the chance of both over applying and under-applying water.

However, note that you should still apply water in controlled amounts even if the soil has become bone dry. The main reason behind adding more, both intentionally and unintentionally, can invite root rot disease to attack, which can kill an orchid, and

Therefore, let the soil become dry before you pour water again; don’t worry, as an under-watered situation only occurs slowly. This is due to how moisture would still remain in the plant. You may wonder, how long can orchids live without water? Well, they can easily sustain for three weeks with dry soil, but it would be best not to make them wait this long and apply water when you find out the soil has become completely or even partially dry.

– Fertilization Improves Health Too

A timely dose of nutrients helps the orchids to stay alive for a longer time than average. For smooth growth, we recommend you go for orchid fertilizers, and the ones that are specially made for orchids, as you can apply for other ones too.ž

Fertilization Improves Health Too

The best time to give fertilizers is when the orchids develop new growth; what you should do is to give a dose after every two weeks for better results. Stop fertilization before the flower spike development stage to fasten up orchid blooming. This will let the orchids focus solely on flowering and not growing more leaves, and this smart fertilization will keep the orchids happy and full of flowers.

– Keep Pests in Check

Pests are one of the main reasons behind an orchid’s sudden death. They feed on roots, leaves, stems, and even flowers. A little infestation of them does not hurt much. However, when you see dozens of them feasting on orchids, then their chances of survival go way low.

Insects, like larvae of fungus gnats, would eat the roots. When they are damaged, water and nutrient absorption cannot happen, and before you know it, the orchid is near to its death.

Similarly, feeding on leaves slows the photosynthesis rate, making orchids fragile and prone to diseases. Furthermore, when insects eat stems, they damage the water and food-taking vessels. That is why it is nearly impossible for pest-infested orchids to live a long life.

To deal with pests, you should take organic measures first. Try applying neem oil, cayenne pepper, baking soda, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol. If the infestation still doesn’t get under control, then use chemical insecticides.

Orchids can fall prey to lots of disease-causing bacteria and fungi too. This usually happens when you clean the garden and water the soil more than needed. Furthermore, a newly purchased plant can also bring diseases with it.

To protect your orchids from diseases, keep your garden free from dirt. You should also wipe out the spilled water as soon as possible. Also, always sterilize the tools before using them. If you do everything and the disease spreads, separate the orchid, cut off infected parts, and change the soil.


Long story short, there is no specific numerical answer to the “how long do orchids live” question. Let’s now sum up the whole article with these key points:

  • Different orchid species have different lifespans. Phalaenopsis can live for 10 to 15 years, while most mini orchids cannot even cross a year, so when growing orchids know the variety you picked.
  • An orchid lives longer if you provide them with optimal conditions. Don’t let pets near the orchids, as they can hurt them. Also, their feces contain bacteria too, which can attack orchids.
  • Protection from direct sunlight, pests, and diseases is critical, too, if you want orchids to stay healthy for years.
  • Usually, most orchid species stay alive for 20 years, but this lifespan also depends on two factors-nature and growing conditions.
  • Keep spraying water on orchids if the humidity level goes below 50 percent, and use heat or cold-resistant orchid varieties if you live in hotter or colder areas.

Don’t think that orchid gardening demands lots of effort. It is a highly rewarding hobby that gives immense peace and pleasure, so, go for it and have orchids for years in your garden.

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