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Is your orchid plant looking pale and yellow and you’re wondering what’s wrong with it, or how to save it from completely dying?
I am here to help you get all the necessary information you’ll to help your orchid.
But before that, let’s see some information on orchids that may interest you.
The Orchidaceae, also known as the orchid family, is a large and diverse family of flowering plants with about 30,000 species all-over the world.
Orchids come in a wide range of shapes and colours.
The majority are beautifully coloured flowers with stripes, dots, and lines while others may appear ugly with hairs and bumps.
Before they were carried and planted in other areas of the world they were originally found in places like the Philippines, Australia, the Himalaya’s and Asia.
Now we’ve considered what’s an orchid, what’s the possible reason an orchid plant leaves might turn yellow?
These are the common reasons an orchid leaves turn yellow:
Common reasons your orchid is turning yellow:
- Root rot: The major reason an orchid can turn yellow is due to ROOT ROT. Root rot is generally caused by overwatering of the plant or slow water draining soils.
How then should the plant be watered?
Orchids should only be watered every 7-14 days.
When soil is Saturated it deprives the orchid plant roots of getting sufficient oxygen causing the roots of the plant to become weak and die.
The dying orchid roots can longer be able to send nutrients and water around the plant, causing its leaves to turn yellow.
- orchids being planted in pots with no drainage base. Orchids cannot thrive Without a drainage base, as water should be able to drain properly from the end of the pot.
- Orchids not watered enough or watered lightly: insufficient water to orchid roots can cause the orchid to no longer be able to provide nutrients to the leaves and cause them to turn yellow.
- Exposure to too much sunlight: when exposed to too much sunlight the orchid leaves get scorched and turn yellow.
- Harsh fertilizer: regular houseplant fertilizer may be too strong for the orchid leaves, and can burn them which can cause the leaves to turn yellow.
- When the temperature gets too cold, lower than 55°F it can turn orchid leaves yellow.
- Orchid plants can also turn yellow due to repotting or change of environment: This is because the plant becomes stressed in the process of moving from one pot to the other.
In a General review, orchid leaves turning yellow is because their roots are dying or they are being kept in an unconducive environment contrary to where they were originally bred.
Potting mediums also play a major role in the health of the plant. A potting medium that contains too much moisture in it such as moss or too much ordinary soil can have the same effect as does on the orchid plant.
Excess moisture or moss can choke the roots of the plants and can cause them to shrivel and die which will result in the leaves of the plant turning yellow.
A potting medium might not contain too much moisture but may lack essential porous qualities. It may be too compact for the plants to function properly.
What’s an Ideal potting medium for Orchids?
Pine bark is the ideal potting medium for orchids as it allows oxygen to circulate through the roots and has good drainage to avoid root rot that leads to the leaves turning yellow.
The big size of pine bark chippings allows sufficient oxygen to circulate to the plant and aids sufficient root respiration and serves and excellent drainage for the plant
Now you have seen the possible reasons your orchid may begin to turn yellow.
Let’s find out how we can save orchid leaves turning yellow due to overwatering:
How to save a Dying orchid
- Scale The Watering To Once Every Week: when an orchid is watered several times in a week, then it’s being over watered and this is what can cause the leaves to turn yellow.
The plant should only be watered when the top of the watering medium feels dry. So, you should try watering once every week during summer, and once the fourth night during fall and winter to be able to meet the watering needs of the plant without risking root rot.
- Remove The Orchid From The Potting Medium And Inspect The Roots: orchids usually appear looking green or slightly grey. They look plum which means they have water stored, they are properly hydrated and they can function properly.
If the roots appear thin and shrivelled or have a yellow or brown appearance with a foul smell, then the roots rot and the plants are dying!
Dead roots cannot be revived, so they need to be cut back from the others to prevent them from spreading.
- Snipp Off Diseased Or Any Dying Roots: when the leaves appear completely brown, yellow, papery or looking shrivelled, then the roots have to be completely cut off, to avoid spreading rot to other roots because they can no longer carry water or nutrient to the root of the plants.
- Cut the dying roots back In the tissue of the plant to health using pruners or scissors: putting back roots can feel like a drastic move to make.
Orchid plants are more resilient than their reputation suggests. They can be grown back into healthy roots that can adequately take in the moisture and nutrients that the orchid requires to revive.
Should You Cut Yellow Orchids Off?
It’s a general rule not to cut off the yellow leaves of Orchids. Why? Because these leaves fall off on their own because they lack nutrients. If you forcefully cut off the leaves from the plants, you might put the entire plant at risk.
The injuries caused to the plants by forcing or cutting the yellowing leaves off the plants can become infected by fungal pathogens, and this can cause damage to your orchid, so the best way to treat it, Is by allowing the yellow leaves to fall off by themselves
A healthy orchid plant’s roots should appear green after watering and turn a light grey colour over the week, with a plump feel to them.
Can a Yellow Orchid Plant Leaves Turn Green Again?
Chlorophyll is what gives a leaf its green colour.
When the leaf loses its chlorophyll, the plant abandons it and begins to absorb leftover nutrients from the leaf.
That’s why once the leaf turns yellow, you cannot turn it back to its original colour again.
In summary, we’ve seen that orchid leaves turn yellow due to the rotting or dying of the roots of the plants, usually caused by overwatering, a harsh fertilizer, a poor potting medium, too much sunlight, etc.
Furthermore, whatever causes the leaves to turn yellow can be solved by; removing the orchid and discarding the old Orchid media, using a pair of scissors or shears and cut cutting offer dead roots, Repotting your Orchid with a clear pot with good ventilation, and allowing the orchid come back to life at its own pace.