Why are my Orchid Leaves Dropping (Prevention and Treatment)

Orchid leaves dropping means there is something wrong with your watering routine. Overwatering and dehydration are two main causes of dropping leaves in orchids.

At first, the leaves become weak, wrinkled, and then drop off.

In this post, I am going to cover all the issues that trigger dropping leaves in orchids. If your plant is dropping its leaves then you definitely read this guide to find out the treatment.

For prevention, please learn the correct watering technique. Everything is mentioned below read till the end and save your droopy orchid.

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Excessive use of Water

The very first reason for orchid leaves dropping is overwatering. The extra water blocks the normal function of roots.

As a result, your plant cannot get proper nutrition and the leaves become weak and fall off.

Orchids are succulents which means they can live without water for many days. This clears that they need less water.

But their tolerance to low water is lower than the cacti.

The excessive water in the potting soil triggers the formation of root fungus. These fungi attack the soft roots and start eating them.

Once the fungi eat up 70 % of the roots ball your orchids will surely die. You cannot revive your orchids at this stage of infection.

Nutrient deficiency and infected roots both conditions together speed up the decomposing of the plant roots and leaves.

The first sign of overwatering is wet soil, yellow leaves, and mushy roots.


Underwatered orchid plants become dehydrated and they die in a few days. I know your orchids can live without water for a long time.

But this does not mean do not give them water for months.

High temperature and low humidity in the grow room speed up the dehydration process. Therefore, first of all, maintain the right temperature and humidity levels.

Then inspect the plant for underwatering signs, unfortunately overwatering and dehydration signs are similar.

When you do not give proper water to your orchid plant, it starts using the stored water. Once it uses the entire stock the leaves start turning yellow.

Then after a few days, they become brown and crispy. This indicates the death of leaves.

To protect your plants immediately give water to orchids, once you see yellow leaves and dry soil.

This will prevent further dryness and your plant will heal in a few days.

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Dead Roots

This is the last stage of incorrect watering damage. If you do not fix the problem on time your orchid plant roots will die.

Dead roots mean your plant is dead and if the leaves are still green then you can propagate it.

Root rot is the main cause of dead roots. This disease eats up the entire root ball in 40 days. To save your plant immediately repot it.

First of all, take out the orchid from its current pot and cut the damaged roots. Then place the plant on the newspaper and throw the old soil.

Now wash the pot with dishwashing soap and fill it with new potting soil.

Then plant your orchid in this pot and do not water at this stage. You can mist some water on the soil if the soil is dry.

After 24 hours you can give some amount of water to it. Then place the plant pot in a good environment and follow regular care.

Can Orchid Leaves Grow Back?

It depends upon the root cause of the orchid leaves dropping. If underwatering is the cause then you can revive its health.

But on the other hand, overwatered orchids are a little hard to save.

In case of dehydration, you need to give a good amount of water to your dying plant and it will revive in a few days.

Then follow the general orchid watering routine.

But in case of overwatering, you need to inspect the roots and cut the infected parts of them. You can use sharp shears to do so.

Once you repot it in the new pot by using fresh soil your orchid will regrow its leaves in a few weeks.

Can you cut off the yellow and wilting Orchid leaves?

Yes, you should cut the yellow and damaged orchid leaves. The reason is they will not recover and become green again.

They only consume the plant’s energy to struggle to live.

By cutting them off you can save the energy of the orchid plant and your plant can use this saved energy to grow more new leaves.

Moreover, damaged and dead leaves invite many problems like fungus and bacterial infections. Which are deadly for short-height plants.

Is it okay to fertilize Orchids with dropping?

No, you should not fertilize your orchids that are dropping their leaves unless you fix the problem. Fertilizers are only nutrient boosts for slow-growing plants.

Only healthy roots can absorb and transfer them to different parts of the plant. But in the case of orchid leaves dropping your plant is already suffering from roots issues.

The roots ball is weak to absorb and transport any kind of nutrients. Fix the problem first and then you can supply a limited amount of fertilizer to grow orchids.

Generally, we use fertilizers to make our healthy plants strong enough to tolerate environmental changes.

Use liquid-based nutrient supplements to avoid overfertilization problems. Dilute the solution in the water as per the instructions of the bottle.


Now that you know the main cause of dropping leaves in orchid plants. You can easily address this common problem.

More or less water is the main cause of this problem. You can prevent such difficult times by limiting the use of water.

Also, use drinkable water to water your orchids. Heavy water is not suitable for them. It can clog the natural pores of roots and they become unable to absorb water and nutrients from the soil.

This results in nutrient deficiency. Therefore, learn how to water orchids correctly before growing them.

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