Discover the four most common reasons your orchid’s leaves are turning yellow, and learn how to nurse your plant back to health.
When you buy your orchid, it’s a beauty. It’s in full bloom and its foliage is lush and green. You find the perfect spot for it in your living room, and you admire it daily. It lights up the whole room.
In a few weeks, you notice some leaves turning yellow. You start to panic a bit. You know yellowing leaves means the plant is trying to tell you something.
But you’re not quite sure what your orchid is trying to say. Does it need more water? A new pot? Different potting mix? Is it sick?
Ultimately, you wish you knew the answer to one simple question: Why do orchid leaves turn yellow?
If this sounds familiar, we’re here to remind you not to panic. You can tell a lot about your orchid’s needs by the condition of its leaves. And, with a few simple steps, you can help your orchid return to its lush, green state.
Below, you can find the four most common reasons your orchid’s leaves are turning yellow, and learn how to nurse your plant back to health in no time.
Reason #1: Your orchid is over-watered.
Some plants love to sit in damp soil and will die quickly in drought conditions. But not your orchid. When your orchid isn’t happy, over-watering is likely the cause.
For a tropical orchid, too much water leads to root rot, a condition that causes your orchid’s roots to decompose and become mushy or damaged. An orchid without healthy roots cannot absorb nutrients and will surely suffer.
If your orchid’s leaves are yellowing, it might be because its roots are waterlogged. Try repotting your orchid, and use a new batch of orchid potting mix to encourage the roots to dry out and heal. Rotten or mushy roots should be trimmed away with sharp shears so that new, healthier roots can replace them.
Professional Tip: To prevent root rot from over-watering and encourage a hearty, healthy root system, use a Root Supplement so your plant can stay healthy and boast beautiful, thick green leaves.
Reason #2: Your orchid is getting too much direct sunlight.
Most orchid types don’t do well in all-day sunlight. In the wild, orchids are usually shielded from strong, direct sunlight by a thick tropical canopy. Orchids rely on large trees, palms, and jungle foliage to block or filter the harsh sun rays.
Telltale signs of too much sunlight are yellow leaves, reddening stems, or burnt leaf tips.
If your orchid’s leaves are yellowing, check if it’s positioned in full sun. Eventually, too much sun will kill your plant, though yellowing leaves are an early warning sign, so there’s likely still time to nurse your plant back to health.
Professional Tip: Set your orchid back a few feet from the windowsill, or use a sheer curtain to filter the sunlight. This way your orchid can enjoy a bright environment without being subject to direct sun.
Reason #3: Your orchid is in a low-temperature environment.
Think of an orchid’s natural habitat. Though orchids grow all over the world, typically orchids are found in the tropics of Costa Rica, South America, and Asia. For the most part, orchids thrive in hot, humid conditions.
If you’re keeping your orchid in a low-temperature space, you may notice its leaves turning a pale yellow color. Eventually, the yellow leaves will wrinkle and wilt.
If your orchid’s leaves are yellowing, check the temperature of the room. Ask yourself if the thermostat is set too low. Generally, keeping the room between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit will keep your orchid thriving.
Professional Tip: While airflow is a good thing for your orchid, it won’t enjoy being too close to a vent, open window, or fan. If your plant is positioned near direct airflow, consider repositioning it.
Reason #4: Your orchid is sick.
Orchids are prone to both fungal and bacterial infections. Diseases can spread to your orchid for a number of reasons, but the most common cause of infection is using a growing mix that retains too much water.
If your orchid is showing yellow spots on the underside of its leaves, it may be suffering from a fungal infection. Eventually, the infection will worsen and your orchid’s leaves will turn brown or black.
If your orchid is showing yellowing toward the base of its leaves and it smells funny, there’s a good chance your orchid has a bacterial infection.
Professional Tip: In both cases, move your orchid away from other plants so the infection won’t spread. Then remove the infected area with sharp, sterile shears and spray the plant with a fungicide to safely kill the infection.
Now that you know the answer to why do orchid leaves turn yellow?
How do I fix my orchid’s yellow leaves?
The most important thing to do when treating your orchid’s yellowing leaves is to make adjustments in your care routine one at a time. Otherwise, you may not know what’s working and what’s not.
Remember the four most common reasons your orchid’s leaves are turning yellow: Either your orchid is over-watered, getting too much direct sun, in a low-temperature environment, or your orchid is sick.
Then, as you troubleshoot, treat your plant with these easy steps:
- Repot your orchid in new orchid potting mix and use a Root Supplement to ensure your orchid maintains a healthy root system.
- Set your orchid in bright, indirect sunlight. Ideally, place it a few feet away from a window or use a sheer curtain to filter direct rays.
- Move your orchid away from airflow sources like vents and fans.
- Nourish your plant with Premium Orchid Food to ensure your plant is healthy with lush, green foliage and big, bountiful blooms.
To keep things simple, you might consider keeping a notebook with progress reports on your orchid’s leaf health. This will help you make effective changes that’ll lead to a thriving orchid that you’ll love to show off to your friends and family.