Why Do Orchid Leaves Turn Yellow? Should I Be Alarmed?

yellow orchid

People who love to beautify their homes with wonderful plants and colorful flowers often include orchids in their gardens because of their exotic beauty. Orchids are not your typical garden plants, they require time and attention to grow. Its natural growing process also confuses a lot of people.

Orchids are delicate, you can easily overwater or under-water them. These things are quite unusual especially for those who are not used to caring for such plants. What’s more, the leaves of the orchids can also turn to yellow and fall off one by one. If this happens, you need to inspect the plant carefully.

This condition can be considered a tell-tale sign that something is wrong with your plant. Although it can happen naturally, the orchid’s leaves will turn yellow typically when the plant is in distress. Understanding what can cause this problem is important especially if you want to save the plant’s life.

Why Do Orchid Leaves Turn Yellow? Should I Be Alarmed?Why Does The Orchid’s Leaves Turn Yellow?When Should I Worry?Other Factors To ConsiderConclusions

Why Does The Orchid’s Leaves Turn Yellow?

yeallow orchid leaf

One of the most common orchids that are being grown by gardeners all over the world is the phalaenopsis. This is because this orchid specie can provide you with flowers that are very vibrant and unique. This orchid’s flowers are typically in vivid purple, some of them also have mesmerizing patterns.

The leaves of the phalaenopsis will turn yellow over time. What most gardeners observe is that the bottom leaves will turn yellow first and then fall off the ground before moving on to the next leaf. In most cases, this is just a normal process of the plant’s growth especially in mature ones with new roots.

Gardeners say that you should not be worried if the yellow color develops from the bottom. But just to be sure, you might want to check the condition of your orchid. Your orchid’s leaves can also turn yellow if there is something wrong with its roots or when the leaves are exposed to something harmful.

When Should I Worry?

orchid leaves

If you suspect that the orchid’s leaves are turning yellow because it lacks your care and attention, then you might want to check if the plant is being given enough water. Without water, these plants will dry out and its leaves will wither. This can also happen if the orchid has been exposed to low temperatures.

Overwatering the orchid can also cause yellow leaves. It can cause root rot, too. You can avoid overwatering your plant and should only put as much as three ice cubes in its pot per week. This will give the orchid enough water and also allow the plant to slowly absorb the water.

During summer, you can water your orchid when at least an inch of the soil or medium on top of the roots is already dry. You can also put some water if the roots of the orchid are already white. If root rot is present, you should try to trim off the rot and transfer the orchid to another pot.

white and purple orchid

If the yellow leaves can be seen on top, or if too many of its leaves turn yellow at the same time, then your plant might be sick. You should check its roots to see if it has been damaged by fungi, insects or other pests since your plant might have root rot.

You should also check your orchid during the day time. Orchids that get too much sunlight will also develop yellow leaves. You need to make sure that your orchids will only get a little bit of sunlight as too much sunlight will cause their leaves to wilt and fall off especially during hot summer days.

Other Factors To Consider

purple orchid

Aside from all the causes mentioned above, there are also other minor factors that can make the leaves of your orchid turn yellow. You should try to check if the orchid is exposed to too much heat not just from the sunlight, but also from fires that are lighted outside for cooking or warmth.

Chemicals can also turn the leaves of the orchid to yellow. Since these plants are sensitive and fragile, they might get chemical burns if you use a fertilizer product that is too strong. You should also avoid using pesticides or insecticides and you should try not to spray perfume near the orchids.

You should consider using slow release fertilizers for orchids that have yellow leaves because of the lack of proper nutrition. Some orchids will have yellow pseudobulbs and leaves as a result of nitrogen deficiency. You can use diluted fertilizers or liquid fertilizers to remedy this.


orchid leaf

If your orchid is a phalaenopsis and if its leaves have turned yellow from the bottom, you should try not to worry since it might just be the orchid’s natural growth process. But if the orchid is having yellow leaves from the top, or if the orchid is developing too many yellow leaves, then your plant might be sick.

You should check if it is getting enough or too much sunlight. Try to see if the orchid is getting too much water and inspect its roots to see if there are any signs of rot. Keep your orchids in areas that are not directly touched by sunlight, and try to remove the parts of the roots that have rot.

The best way for your orchids to recover from having yellow leaves is by giving it adequate water, making sure that the soil has good drainage and adding slow release fertilizers especially if the orchid is in need of nitrogen.

Have you seen yellow leaves on your orchids? Tell us how you helped your orchid recover in the comment section.

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