Help, My Orchid Is Rotting: Tips On Treating Crown Rot In Orchids

Orchids are the pride of many gardeners’ homes. They’re beautiful, they’re delicate, and at least as far as conventional wisdom is concerned, they’re very hard to grow. It’s no wonder that orchid problems can send a gardener into a panic. Keep reading to learn more about crown rot in orchids and orchid crown rot treatment.

What is Orchid Crown Rot?

Crown rot in orchids is very common. It occurs when the crown of the plant (the area where the leaves join with the base of the plant) starts to rot. It’s so common because it’s pretty much always caused by human error. Crown rot occurs when water is allowed to pool at the base of the leaves. It can come from allowing the roots to stand in water, usually if the saucer isn’t drained after watering.

Saving an Orchid with Crown Rot

Orchid crown rot treatment is, thankfully, very easy and usually effective. Simply buy a bottle of full-strength hydrogen peroxide and pour a small amount onto the crown of the plant where the rot is. It should bubble up and fizz. Repeat this every two or three days until you no longer see the bubbling. Then sprinkle a little cinnamon (from your spice cabinet) onto the offending spot. Cinnamon powder works as a natural fungicide.

How to Prevent Crown Rot in Orchids

As with most things, the best method of orchid crown rot treatment is prevention. Always water in the morning to give the excess water a chance to evaporate during the day. Try to avoid pooling water at the base of the plant's leaves. If you do notice pooling, blot it away with a towel or tissue. Always empty the saucer under your plant’s container if it’s full of water. If you have several orchids packed closely together, spread them out to give them good air circulation.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.