Orchids with yellow leaves: causes and how to cure them

Orchids have a reputation for being plants that require a lot of care, but they are not. Their needs are not more complex than those of other more common species in your environment and they can also suffer from problems typical of other plants and to the same degree.

With this GreenEcology article we intend to answer questions such as: why does my orchid have yellow leaves? What happens to the orchid when the leaves turn yellow? What to do when the orchids turn yellow? To do this, we have prepared the most complete and detailed list of possible causes of orchids with yellow leaves and how to act in each specific case. In addition to talking about the causes and how to cure orchids with yellow leaves , we also attach a final section to give you a couple of tips and indications to improve the health of your orchid and even tips on how to revive orchids.

Orchids with yellow leaves caused by bad lighting

The orchids should be placed in a place where the sun never hits them directly , either inside your house or in the garden. This does not mean that they do not need good lighting , since they are tropical plants. Due to the latter, you can make the mistake of exposing it too much to the sun so that it is in a warmer temperature and causing, as a result, that its leaves turn yellow; this can also affect your flowers which will start to darken.

An easy way to get rid of these sunburns is to cut the part of the sheet that is yellow with the right tools. It is very important that you know that orchids need their leaves to store water and nutrients, so we do not advise you to prune them completely. 

Orchids with yellow leaves: causes and how to cure them - Orchids with yellow leaves caused by bad lighting

Orchids with yellow leaves caused by poor watering

The appearance of yellow leaves on your orchid can be due to both excess and lack of watering. This will depend a bit on the specific variety but, in general, it is more common that it is due to an excess of watering . A very simple method to make sure that the problem comes from an excess of watering is to observe if there are specks or black spots on the leaf and, in addition, they have lost vitality. We remind you that, although they prefer humid environments, it is not advisable to water them excessively. For this reason, we recommend that you water the leaves with a diffuser, even the roots themselves. In the same way, make sure that the container or pot where your orchid is found has good drainage.

If it is due to lack of irrigation , something easy to appreciate in Phalaenopsis orchids when their whitish roots show, you will only have to do the watering by immersion and let the plant itself release the excess water.

Finally, and also related to irrigation, there is the problem of the use of hard water . That is, those that have excess calcium and other salts. Remember that you must water your orchids with mineral water to prevent traces of these salts from remaining in the substrate, which will seriously harm the health of your plant.

Orchids with yellow leaves caused by improper use of fertilizer

Another of the most common possible causes that you have your orchids with yellow and wrinkled leaves is a poor use of fertilizers or fertilizers . It is very important that you only fertilize them with specific products for them and that you do not abuse them. Always stick to the proportions set by the different manufacturers.

Likewise, it is good to know that, on a regular basis, you only need to fertilize your orchids during the growth period and that this should always be given after watering or diluted properly with the water of its irrigation dose. It is also not advisable that if you have just transplanted your orchid, you fertilize it during the first days.

In the same way, the leaves can also yellow if they are not properly fertilized. It is very important that they do not have a lack of potassium or an old and nutrient-poor substrate. 

Orchids with yellow leaves: causes and how to cure them - Orchids with yellow leaves caused by improper use of fertilizer

Orchids with yellow leaves caused by disease

Orchids can also be affected by fungi, bacteria, and viruses. In fact, this is one of the first symptoms of sick orchids with yellow leaves . In these cases, the first thing you should do is isolate your orchid from the rest of the plants to prevent the disease from spreading.

  • The appearance of fungus in the orchid is usually closely related to poor ventilation, lack of lighting and excess humidity. Here first, small yellow spots or specks appear with a black dot in the center. We advise you that, in addition to improving its environmental conditions, you use a systemic fungicide to treat it until it fully recovers.
  • In the event that the orchid has been attacked by a bacterium, you will be able to see its symptoms after the appearance of small yellowish necroses that secrete a kind of oily substance that, over time, ends up darkening. You can combat it by improving its growing conditions, especially irrigation, and using a cut of the affected area with previously disinfected utensils.
  • Orchids that are attacked by viruses tend to die during the process, so what we can do is try to improve their conditions at all levels and wait patiently for the virus to subside and see if it manages to survive. Unfortunately, even if the plant survives, it will not flower again.
Orchids with yellow leaves: causes and how to cure them - Orchids with yellow leaves caused by a disease

Orchids with yellow leaves caused by age

Although you can always go through another of the options explained, this is one of the most natural causes if you have lovingly cared for your orchid during its life cycle.

So, remember that this plant loses its leaves also at the end of its life cycle , so it is very normal for yellow leaves to appear on orchids before they wilt and fall off.

How to cure an orchid with yellow leaves

After knowing the causes of yellow leaves in orchids, we can make a list of basic cares to improve your health:

  • Make sure it gets sunlight all day, but never directly.
  • Use specific fertilizer for orchids .
  • Cut only the yellowish parts of the leaves.
  • Do not water them too much, use the coloring of their roots as a symptom of the need for irrigation and let the plant manage the amount of water it needs.
  • In case of disease caused by fungi, bacteria or viruses, isolate it from the rest and try to be more aware of it by improving its conditions or applying specific products so that it can fight the disease.

One of the main questions that arise when you are not yet used to having an orchid at home is to get nervous and wonder what to do when an orchid is drying . It is true that this is the first sign that something is wrong, but as you may have already read in this article, you just have to make sure that it has all the necessary care for it to recover.

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