Orchid Leaves Turning Yellow: Why & How to Fix It 

 March 27, 2022

By  admin

Orchid leaves turning yellow is a common problem that can easily be corrected. Follow the steps below to understand how and why this happens, in addition to learn how you could prevent it from happening again.

When orchid leaves turn yellow, it can be a sign of many different things. However, the most common cause is due to over-watering. If your plant has been watered too much, you will need to cut back on watering.

There are affiliate links in this post. We may get a commission if you click and purchase, at no extra cost to you. For additional information, please visit our disclosure policy.

Your plants may not be able to vocally explain any pain they are experiencing, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t communicating. Your plants’ leaves may reveal a lot about their health. Brown, rustling leaves, for example, suggest that your plant is thirsty, pale ones indicate an iron deficit, and no leaves indicate that it is underwatered.  

Another typical sign we see, particularly in orchid plants, is yellowing leaves. Orchid leaves becoming yellow is usually a natural aspect of the plant’s life cycle. However, it is occasionally a cause for caution. 

Fortunately, most of the causes of your orchid leaves becoming yellow may be remedied. If you’re interested in learning more about yellowing orchid leaves and how to treat them, you’ve come to the correct spot. 

What’s Causing Your Orchid Leaves to Turn Yellow? 

Your orchid’s leaves might turn yellow from the bottom up or from the top down. It is not a reason for worry if the leaves turn yellow from the bottom of the plant; this is a normal occurrence. However, if the tops of the leaves are becoming yellow, there is an issue with your orchid. 

The yellowing of the leaves might be caused by one of the following factors:

1. Too Much Sunlight 

Phalaenopsis orchids need a lot of indirect light to thrive. Their leaves, however, will be harmed if they are exposed to too much direct sunlight for a lengthy period of time. 

Gardeners may identify their sunburned orchid by observing a few simple symptoms:

  • Leaves that are yellowing and fading 
  • Marks of scorch
  • On the leaves, there are cracks growing. 
  • Tips that have been burned 

You may find out the issue by observing sunlight patterns where your plant is positioned, in addition to looking for indicators. This is most certainly the cause of your plant’s demise if the location receives too much direct sunshine. However, bear in mind that this is only true in really hot conditions. Orchid leaves becoming yellow are unlikely to be caused by cool weather with direct sunshine.

Even the plant’s roots might be affected by extended sun exposure on rare occasions. In such instances, if the plant is not transferred quickly, it may die. 

Solution to the Problem

You should gradually acclimatize your plant to changing lighting settings to avoid damaging fresher leaves. While your orchid adjusts to these circumstances, keep an eye out for any changes in the color of the leaves. 

At the same time, feel the leaves to check whether they are heated to the touch. If the leaves seem to be too hot, move the plant to a location with less sunshine and better air circulation. To obtain the best illumination, consider putting it on a north-facing or west-facing windowsill. 

Although you won’t be able to save the damaged leaves, you may trim them to enhance the look of your plant. When your plant isn’t flowering, it’s better to trim it. Even while the plant is in bloom, you may gently pluck on a few wilted leaves to remove them. 

Add solar screens to your windows to minimize the amount of sunlight that enters your house as a bonus read. 

2. Excessive moisture 

Your plant’s limp and yellow leaves may indicate an overwatering issue. Other indicators include black and rotting roots, as well as blackened and fading flower buds. 

Velamen is a kind of velamen that covers the roots of orchids. It’s a felt-like substance that aids the roots in rapidly absorbing water and storing it for lengthy periods of time. As a result, orchids don’t need to be watered as often. 

If you water your orchid more than it needs, the roots are likely to grow rotting. When roots get rotten, their oxygen supply is cut off, causing your plant to shrivel away. 

Following two fundamental watering principles will help you avoid overwatering your orchid:

  • Only water until the top inch of your soil is dry. 
  • Instead of watering, add three ice cubes once a week. 

Also, check for holes in the pot that will let excess water to drain, avoiding waterlogging. 

Solution to the Problem

Overwatering-affected orchids may, thankfully, be repaired. However, the procedure requires some effort. The orchid will need to be replanted in a new potting medium. 

To gently transplant your orchid, follow these easy steps:

  • Hold the pot upside-down while tapping the bottom of the pot with a firm object. 
  • Using your hands, scoop the dirt and plant from the pot’s surface.
  • If the potting material is too firm to remove, loosen it with a knife. 
  • Remove any debris from the pot and the draining tray before wiping them dry. 
  • Fill the container halfway with water and a low-draining potting mix. 
  • Allow any extra water to drain into the drainage hole. 
  • Using a sterile knife, cut off the damaged roots. 
  • Spread the roots of the orchid outwards in your pot. 

You should periodically examine the condition of the soil by prodding it with your finger or with a wooden stick. Furthermore, stick to a rigorous watering schedule and avoid overwatering the plant. 

You may not even need to replant the orchid in certain circumstances. The issue might be solved simply by allowing the roots to dry out. Most crucially, only after the plant has finished flowering can it be repotted. 

3. Unfavorable weather conditions 

Orchids can withstand temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is precisely why they make excellent houseplants. Indoors, almost anybody can achieve these temperatures. Continued exposure to temperatures outside of this range, on the other hand, will kill your plant. 

Orchids in Winter & Make Your Own Terrarium!

Low temperatures are another factor that causes orchid leaves to yellow. You may not notice the symptoms straight away if the plant has been exposed to chilly weather. However, after the cold weather has passed, they will become apparent. Yellow spotting on the leaves is one of the first symptoms to look for.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of cold-related damage:

  • A higher death rate 
  • Large sunken regions, lesions on the surface, and discolouration 
  • Growth that is more gradual
  • Increased vulnerability to bacterial and fungal infections

If you have orchids growing in your yard, it is preferable to bring them inside during the winter. You might transplant the orchids in pots (these containers are ideal for orchid planting) and set the thermostat to a temperature that is comfortable for the plant. 

Solution to the Problem

It is far simpler to prevent your plant from being injured by the cold than it is to repair it after it has been damaged. If you reside in a colder climate, you should grow your plant inside. Keep it away from open fans and air conditioners as well. 

Another thing to remember is that orchids are sensitive to unexpected temperature fluctuations. As a result, keep the plant away from drafts while putting it. 

It’s difficult to transport orchids in the cold. Before the plant is potted inside your house, the chilly temperatures are likely to injure it. However, you may prevent this by wrapping the sapling in twin sleeves and transferring it. 

Controlling interior temperatures is within your power. However, if you have orchids in your yard, you may need to put in a bit more work. It’s important to remember not to water the plant before a cold night to help it survive. Wrapping the plants with insulating wraps and covering them with plastic coverings at night will also assist. 

Finally, if you live in a really cold climate but still want to cultivate tropical plants, you may want to consider building your own greenhouse.

4. Infections

One of the most prevalent concerns with orchids is root rot. It’s also one of the most prevalent causes of yellowing orchid leaves. 

When a plant is overwatered, it develops root rot. It becomes difficult for the roots to breathe when the soil is unable to drain the water adequately. As a result, they begin to deteriorate.

To elaborate, root rot is caused by a combination of factors other than overwatering. Other elements such as soil drainage qualities, drainage holes, and how firmly the plant is packed in the container may all contribute to this. 

Apart from yellowing and listless leaves, there are other symptoms to check for if you suspect root rot. These are the signs:

  • The plant’s buds are falling off. 
  • Bloom deficiency
  • Roots that have been exposed and have become brittle and withering 
  • Roots that are black and mushy 

Fortunately, if root rot is detected early enough, you can salvage your plant. 

Orchids are vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections as well, albeit the symptoms are not the same as root rot. Yellowing and black patches appear on the leaves. 

The cause of bacterial illnesses, on the other hand, is identical to that of root rots. It happens when the leaves are moist or when there is a lot of humidity in the air. Even worse, too much moisture encourages the growth of microorganisms. 

Solution to the Problem

Overwatering your plant is the greatest method to cause root rot. Not to mention that you should:

  • Mixing various sized particles lowers the spaces in the soil, making aeration more difficult.
  • Avoid cramming the dirt into the container too firmly.
  • Regularly repot your plant into a fresh soiling mix. 

When root rot isn’t severe, there are further options for treatment. The use of hydrogen peroxide is a frequent therapy method. 

To destroy the fungus and bacteria, combine hydrogen peroxide with water and pour it over the roots. While this isn’t a perfect therapy, it does a good job of cleaning out fungal infections in the roots. Cinnamon may also be utilized in this way. Remember that relying only on these items to treat root rot isn’t always the greatest approach.

The best strategy to assure the orchid’s life is to replant it. Before repotting, be careful to cut off the rotten roots with a sterilized knife. Before repotting, you may treat the roots with cinnamon or hydrogen peroxide for the reasons stated above. 

Pruning is the best technique to tackle the issue when your plant’s leaves show indications of fungal or bacterial infection. 

Cut off the diseased tissue and about an inch of the clean, greener area with a clean pruning shear. If the infected region is not removed, the virus will spread throughout the plant, causing it to die. Finally, if the illness is caused by a fungus, you should use a fungicide to protect the region. 

5. Fertilizer Overabundance

Excessive fertilizer, like too much water, may be harmful to your orchids. Regardless matter how much fertilizer is used, the plants will only absorb the quantity of nutrients they need. As a result, the additional mineral salts are left behind, which causes them to accumulate over time.

Overfertilizing the plant on a regular basis causes the salts to accumulate. This will eventually impair the plant’s health and contribute to the yellowing of orchid leaves. 

Dead root tips, discolored roots, and a salt coating on the soil top are all signs of fertilizer burn. DIY gardeners who do not respond quickly to address fertilizer burns risk losing their plants.

Solution to the Problem 

If you want to keep your plant healthy, you should fertilize it regularly. All gardening lovers who are having trouble feeding their plants should follow these six steps: 

1. Selecting the Correct Fertilizer 

Orchids grow well when fertilized with a 20-20-20 fertilizer. To clarify, they are fertilizers that are balanced in nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. In most cases, an all-purpose fertilizer will suffice. 

It’s even better if you can find a fertilizer with micronutrients like sulfur, manganese, zinc, copper, and other trace elements. 

Bonus Reading: For further information, check out our round-up of the top fertilizers on the market. 

2. Fertilize at the Appropriate Timing 

Fertilizing, like everything else, must be done on a regular basis. Fertilize your orchids after they’ve finished blooming since this is when the technique is most successful. This will aid in the development of new flowers. 

3. Fertilize on a weekly basis 

“Weekly, weekly, weekly” is a golden guideline that is observed when it comes to orchids. To clarify, this implies that if the plant is fertilized regularly, it will flourish. Anything more or less might upset the nutritional balance, resulting in an excess or shortage of nutrients. 

You may use a 1/4 strength 20-20-20 fertilizer and a 12 strength 10-10-10 fertilizer. For this reason, you may even use an orchid-specific fertilizer. 

4. Use a watering can to irrigate your plants 

Fertilizing using a watering can allows you to reach the spout closer to the plant’s bark. It’s simple to pour the fertilizing solution into the can for use. When you use it, you can be confident that no fertilizer gets on the leaves when you pour the solution into the plant. 

5. Pour the solution out. 

Allow the fertilizer solution to drain through the plant so you can check for any remaining fertilizer. The first and most important step is to inspect your pot’s drainage holes for any obstructions. The extra solution would be impossible to drain if the holes were blocked. 

6. After fertilizing, avoid watering.

Avoid watering the plant after it has been fertilized since the fertilizing solution already includes water.

Orchids are tropical plants that need fertilizer in order to thrive. Although it may seem to be a complicated operation, fertilizing your orchids may be mastered by following a few basic instructions. 


Anyone worried about the health of their orchid because of yellowing leaves should first figure out what’s causing it. Our list of issues and solutions is for all those do-it-yourself gardeners who wish to keep their plants healthy at all times.

The sooner you figure out what’s causing your orchid leaves to become yellow, the sooner you can cure it. As a result, keep a close check on your plant for any changes. You’ll have also taken the first step toward being a responsible plant parent.

Have you ever had a craving for crabapples? Well, this crabapple eating advice should help you decide whether or not it’s safe to consume them. 

Orchid leaves turning yellow is a common issue that can be fixed. There are many reasons why orchids turn yellow, and how to fix it. Reference: orchid leaves turning brown.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do when orchid leaves turn yellow?

A: Placing the orchid in an area with direct sunlight will help them turn green again.

Should you cut off yellow orchid leaves?

A: I recommend cutting the leaves off at a 45 degree angle.

How often should you water an orchid?

A: That would depend on your orchid and the conditions in which it is being grown. Some more, some less often. But you should be checking up on them regularly to make sure theyre getting enough water, even if that means watering daily for a week before returning to once every two weeks.

Related Tags

  • orchid leaves turning yellow and brown
  • orchid leaves turning yellow with black spots
  • old orchid leaves turning yellow
  • orchid leaves turning yellow and red
  • dendrobium orchid leaves turning yellow

Emil Schoene

Born and raised in Austin, TX I come from a background of home renovation. By helping my family in my younger years with their construction business, I learned the ropes quickly and as I grew it became my passion that I still do today. Looking to share my knowledge with others. I invite you to leave comments on any post as I know you will have questions that you are not finding anywhere else.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}