Orchids are very easy to grow and maintain. They are popular houseplants that are visually exquisite if you place them appropriately in your home. They come in various shapes and colours so that they can survive under different conditions.
Although they are easy to grow, you can notice their leaves discoloring. This is one of the frustrating problems that most gardeners go through when growing the plant inside their houses. And, is an indication that something is wrong, but it is a natural life cycle.
The yellowing of orchid leaves shows that this plant needs help because it is a sign of serious trouble. Wrinkled and weak leaves can also signify illness due to natural consequences. The weak leaves finally drop, and new ones start to appear.
Fortunately, the orchid leaves turning yellow is a common problem, so you don’t have to worry about that. Therefore, it is not hard to understand why your orchid plants their natural color; you only need to know how to treat them. Some causes of leaf yellowing can threaten its life, but they are reversible if you notice them early enough.
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Happy Hydro - Trimming Scissors
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Table of Contents
- Causes of Orchid Yellow Leaves
- Best Pruning Shears for Orchids
- Bottom Line
Causes of Orchid Yellow Leaves
There are various causes of your orchid leaves turning yellow. So why are the leaves turning yellowish? If you know how to maintain them, you cannot have the challenge we are yet to highlight. Please continue reading this article to know some common causes of yellow leaves on your orchid
Overwatering the Plant
Overwatering is the most common cause of the leaves turning yellow. You should be aware that orchid species mostly depend on tree trunks and roots to keep their roots quite dry. Adding water smothers the roots resulting in their rot and eventually death.
The plant is then unable to absorb adequate water and sufficient nutrients. Most gardeners always tend to over-water their plants. It’s a normal thing because it’s a way of nurturing them. Nevertheless, you can overwater these plants easily because they need a relatively small amount of water.
Therefore, it is imperative to water your orchid after you have confirmed that the potting medium is dehydrated. Poke your finger in the potting medium to test if the plant is dry or wet. But be very careful not to damage the leaves and roots,
Weighing the orchid is another way of testing if it is wet or dry. You can know the right time to water your orchid plant if you test using these methods continuously. You can also save the overwatered leaves from discolouring by trimming softened roots.
Sudden Environmental Changes
Your houseplant can experience stress due to environmental changes or changing its location, resulting in blooming or dropping leaves. Stress causes the yellowing of leaves in most of the orchid species. Stress happens when you move the plant from the store to your home or when you shift from one house to another.
Stress also occurs during transit when it is being supplied to the particular gardener. Don’t panic if you find yourself in this situation; instead, ensure that the home environment has appropriate growing and survival conditions. You can also ask epiphytes experts how they are cared for and enquire if they have any existing problems.
It can be challenging to prevent such a problem; therefore, it is upon you to provide the right climate and location for your orchids. Proper care reduces stress allowing the plants to grow strong and healthy.
Lack of adequate nutrients cause yellowing of plants if you don’t fertilize them properly. The potting medium does not contain enough nutrients to sustain your plant for a long time. Therefore, it starts to show signs of deficiency if the nutrient reserve gets depleted.
Orchids commonly have nutrient deficiencies in iron, zinc, manganese and nitrogen, required for ideal growth. Therefore, to salvage the situation, start applying the right amount of fertilizer.
Applying Excess Fertilizer
Just like overwatering, some gardeners have developed a tendency of applying excess fertilizer to their houseplants. Adding excess fertilizer results in additional nutrients in the soil, for instance, zinc, manganese, copper, and calcium. Excessive intake of these nutrients inhibits proper absorption of iron, resulting in iron insufficiency symptoms such as chlorosis, described as yellowing of leaves.
This plant requires irregular and dilute concentration of fertilizer because it is a light feeder. You should use water-soluble fertilizer that is particularly formulated for orchid plants. Fertilize it in the vegetative stage at least every 2 weeks.
Once your orchids bloom, stop fertilizing them until the blooming is complete. To enable it grow strong and healthy, alternate watering them with fertilizer solution and water. It also helps prevent the build-up of excess nutrient salts in the potting medium, resulting in toxicity difficulties.
High and Low Temperatures
Orchids should be kept in temperatures that range between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the average temperature inside most houses, so it is favourable for this houseplant. It is found in a tropical climate with stable temperatures and a high level of humidity.
When it is subjected to high temperatures exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it experiences extreme stress levels, hence reducing metabolic processes’ efficiency. This results in discoloration, drop, and eventually death if the problem is solved straight away.
On the other hand, if you subject the plant to low temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, it results in continuous yellowing and dropping of the leaves. This can further lead to the blackening of leaves, resulting in the death of the orchid plant due to temperature stress.
The best way to solve this problem is by acquiring a room thermometer. This device is handy at showing you the current temperature levels in your house. It also records the highest and lowest temperatures, which can help you set the required range of the room temperature to maintain your orchid.
Excess Direct Sunlight
Indirect sunlight underneath the tree canopy is the most favourable growing condition for orchid species, so it is rare to be exposed to strong direct sunlight. Therefore, if you are growing it at home, ensure that it gets adequate indirect sunlight. All plants require light, but direct sunlight is not the best choice for your orchids.
Direct sunlight causes yellowing and fading of leaves. You can also observe cracks and scorch marks on the leaf surface, and their tips are burnt. Therefore, when choosing the right place for your houseplant, you need to consider this.
During summer, place your plant on the north-facing window. When the sun is less intense in the winter, you can move it to the south or east-facing window. If your houseplant receives excess direct sunlight, use a sheer curtain or place it away from the window.
The Natural Death of Old Foliage
The normal cause of orchid yellow leaves is the death of old foliage, and mostly, it is part of the life cycle. When it wants to develop new leaves, the last set begins to turn yellow, die and eventually fall off. Orchid species always prioritize new growth, so the lower leaves become useless, and it starts the process of naturally shedding-off the leaves.
If you notice the lower leaves of your houseplant are turning yellow, don’t trim them. They will slowly wither and become extremely yellow and naturally fall off. To reduce the risk of infecting other healthy leaves, treat the yellow leaves with a dilute hydrogen peroxide solution. You can also use a sterile sharp object such as a knife to cut the plant’s base to remove the damaged leaves.
Bacterial or Fungal Infections
The orchid plant is open to attack from bacteria and fungus due to changes in temperature and humidity levels. The leaves turn yellow on the surface or at the tip due to these attacks. Bacteria cause irregular brown spots on the leaf surface.
Fungus infection can cause a fungal leaf spot that causes yellowing underneath the leaves. If left untreated, the spots enlarge and turn black or brown, damaging your plant’s leaves. Bacterial brown spots and fungal leaf spots cause stress to your houseplant.
Therefore, if your orchid leaves are greatly affected, treat them by spraying affected leaves with ideal fungicide. But if the infection is extreme, use sterile scissors or blades to trim the affected leaves. Cut orchid stem yellow carefully to prevent the spread of these diseases into healthy tissues.
Alternatively, you can use hydrogen peroxide because it is a natural bactericide. The broad-spectrum spray also prevents fungal contamination. If the two methods are not suitable for you, you can apply cinnamon along the cuts to cause dehydration and eventually reduce the risk of infection.
Best Pruning Shears for Orchids
You need the best pruning shears to remove excess growth and keep your indoor plant well-kept in the ideal size. It is a matter of personal preference when purchasing the right pruner for particular jobs. Below are some of the best pruning shears for trimming your orchid:
1. Happy Hydro Titanium Coated Trimming Scissors
Happy Hydro Titanium Coated Trimming Scissors have a great advantage when it comes to trimming your houseplant. It is made of stainless steel to give it massive strength. The titanium coating allows you to remove sticky liquids easily.
The soft rubber padding in the handle reduces fatigue. The springless action minimizes hand strains. The short sharp blades of the scissors enable you to prune delicate yellow leaves.
2. Mockins Indoor Pruning Shears
Mockins pruning shears are known for their comfortable and firm grip. It has a great design and is made of high quality for general use. Therefore, as a garden pruner, you can use this tool comfortably.
Their handles are made of robust stainless steel, and it has a rubber cover for a firm grip. It has a covered spring to provide you with heavy recoil; thus, it saves you from scissoring action while pruning. It enables to reduce the force required to cut through the thick stems of your houseplant.
3. Fiskars Pruning Shears
Fiskars pruning shears is considered to be one of the best pruners in the market. It has thick grip handles that give you maximum comfort during pruning operations. Safety locks prevent accidental cuts on your indoor plant because the blades don’t move.
It enables you to cut through branches up to about 4 to 8 inches using its extensive jaws. The non-stick coating protects the cutter.
Don’t allow your orchid plants to decolorize from their natural green because of petty mistakes. You can prevent orchid yellow leaves if you pay close attention and provide them with the necessary care. As your houseplant gets old, you should expect its leaves to turn yellow.
Maintaining suitable temperatures and proper fertilization cannot stop your plant from being yellowish. Don’t panic if you see this happening; instead, take your time and determine the cause before offering a solution. Lastly, your houseplant should have several leaf replacements before old ones turn yellow by providing them proper care.