Yellowing Orchid Leaves: Causes and Treatment

Our grandmothers thought that every time a new flower of this plant bloomed, a dream came true! Let’s talk about the beautiful Orchid: anyone who has ever tried to grow it knows how much effort it takes to keep this plant lush and healthy. Its most popular variety, which we commonly find at the nursery but also at the supermarket, is the phalaenopsis characterized by beautiful butterfly- or moth-shaped flowers that sprout in the spring and summer period. In autumn and winter, however, this plant falls into a period of hibernation, known as vegetative rest. During this period, as a rule, no new flowers bloom, but the leaves must still remain healthy and green. That is why, if we notice yellow leaves, even during periods with low temperatures, it means something is wrong. Let’s find out together what the causes may be and how to solve it and get back to having a healthy and beautiful orchid.

The potting soil has compacted

Sometimes, after the most frequent and intense summer watering, it can happen that the orchid’s potting soil becomes compacted and loses its natural draining ability. In such cases, it happens that the now-poor potting soil can smother the roots or retain water too long with the risk of root rot. The solution is very simple and consists of repotting the plant using new potting soil that allows the roots to breathe more easily. Remember that orchid soil should not be the classic universal potting soil, but you need a specific soil made of bark, bark, expanded clay and sometimes perlite.

Light is too bright

This is a basic rule of orchid care, yet many people forget: this plant should never be exposed to direct sunlight. In fact, the sun’s rays are too violent and can burn the plant’s leaves causing them to turn a classic yellow or rust color. Always remember that this plant is accustomed to growing in rainforests, in the shade of trees or taller plants and in a humid environment: this is precisely why many people prefer to grow it in the bathroom. It is important, therefore, to keep the plant in a place where there is indirect light, preferably filtered. Also, when the plant has soft, as well as yellow leaves, you must immediately take the right action to avoid unpleasant consequences.

Rest is late in coming

As we have already mentioned, starting in the fall, the orchid should enter a vegetative rest phase in which it recovers its strength in anticipation of the following spring. Sometimes, however, the orchid remains awake: this is not an overly serious phenomenon but, in the long run, the plant may begin to lose its strength and its leaves turn yellow. This happens when the orchid does not feel the drop in temperatures. Although indoors, the plant should feel that cooler weather is coming (always remember, however, that it is always optimal for the plant to be exposed to a temperature no lower than 55 °F). Also, stop all fertilization immediately.

There is the presence of pests

This is an unlikely scenario since we keep the orchid indoors, protected from external agents. However, it may happen that some insects or pests have managed to get to the plant and are infesting it. Among the most common are mealybugs and aphids: both attack the plant, often hiding between the stem and the underside of the leaves and sucking out the sap. Over time, the leaves begin to yellow. To solve this, we need to use a specific product or try a natural DIY remedy. It is important to remember that the best solution is prevention: we always keep the orchid’s leaves clean to prevent pests from spreading.

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