Orchid leaves turning yellow is totally normal condition only when they are old leaves. Plant leaves have their life cycle after that they turn yellow and drop off. Then the plant uses its energy to produce more new leaves in their place.
If few of the bottom orchid leaves are yellow then no need to worry. Because the bottom leaves get older fast.
But if you see the top leaves or side leaves of the orchid are turning yellow. Then this is a signal of some serious problem.
Factors like temperature changes, humidity, overwatering, etc turn the new orchid leaves yellow.
All the common and rare causes are listed in this article. Identify your cause and read the solution to fix it. All causes are listed from most common to least common.
Orchid plants are sensitive to temperature changes. They like to live in warm weather. 60 to 80 Degrees F is the ideal temperature range for orchids. Generally, we have our home temperature in this range. But in winters when it drops below 60 Degrees F it causes yellow leave in orchids.
The good news is your outdoor growing orchids can tolerate the sudden temperature changes. Because the garden soil and companion plants support their immune system. But indoor growing orchids are alone in their pots and have limited soil in their pots.
Therefore, keep the plant in a warm location to prevent yellow leaves. Also do not put the orchid plant in front of the air conditioner or heating vents. Sudden hot or cold air speed up the process of orchid leaves turning yellow.
Correct the growing room temperature and your orchids will turn green again. But remember one thing you cannot turn yellow leaves green. It is best to remove them from the plant and let it spent its energy to produce more green orchid leaves.
Change in room Humidity
Humidity plays important role in orchid plant care. If the grow room’s humidity is too high or too low, it turns beautiful leaves yellow. You can save your yellow orchid by adjusting the moisture level. Orchids need humidity between 40 to 70 % depends on the variety of orchids. Hybrid orchids need less humidity than naturally found species.
Install the hygrometer to measure the air moisture. Because the indoor humidity levels are not stable, they change every day. This triggers the discoloration of orchid leaves.
Most of the time people think that using an electric humidifier will solve the problem. But there is only one problem with it.
Plants like orchids do not tolerate humidity above 70%. You can turn on the humidifier in the morning for few hours. You will measure too much humidity in the room for the next 12 hours. This increases the chances of yellow orchid leaves.
Therefore, use the traditional methods instead of humidifiers. The Pebble tray technique is best to provide adequate air moisture to the growing plants.
Extra water in the plant pot
Orchid plants do not like wet roots. They like to grow with little dry roots. When you water your plants heavily the roots become wet. The soil becomes heavy and the air pockets get closed.
This cuts off the oxygen supply to the plant roots. Hence the roots start dying with fungus and the orchid leaves start turning yellow.
To prevent yellow orchid leaves due to overwatering you need to know how to water perfectly. Firstly, check the soil condition, the top 1 inch of the potting soil has to be dry before watering. You can also knock the pot if it sounds hollow then it needs immediate water.
Also, take the plant out of its container and check the orchid roots. Because roots are the first part of the plant that suffers from extra water. Once they get infected then the roots signal with yellow orchid leaves.
To prevent it, use well-draining soil with the right plant container. The plant container should have draining holes to remove excess water. Terra cotta or clay-made orchid plant pots are best to use. They are made to save your plants from overwatering.
Underwatered orchids develop yellow leaves. In some cases, they lose all their leaves. But the good news is you can revive your underwatered plant with good care. Underwatered leaves turn yellow and also develop wrinkles on them.
Help your plant by watering it with clean drinkable water. Also, keep the humidity high when you water the plants. This helps orchids absorb moisture from the air and quickly produce healthy leaves.
This part applies to the plants that are growing in an outdoor garden. The changes in the weather also change the outdoor humidity, light, and temperature. These 3 factors highly impact plant health and leaf health.
You cannot do anything for the ground rooted plants. But you can bring the outdoor containers inside to save your orchid from turning yellow.
When you bring them indoors give them care like you give your indoor growing plants. Put the plant pots in a warm location with high humidity and save them from sudden hot or cold air.
You cannot control the outdoor weather but indoor growing conditions are totally in your control.
Too much light is responsible for the yellow orchids. This plant is a tropical plant and we all know how they receive light in their natural place. The large group of tall trees does not allow much light energy to fall on the ground. So, the growing orchids only get a limited amount of indirect light.
If the orchid leaves feel healthy but they are yellow then the problem is extra bright light. Because the direct sunlight will burn the leaves. The leaves are plump and firm this means you need to reduce the brightness of light in the room.
To correct the light issue, install the sheer curtain on the sunny window. So that the orchids can receive low intense light. This will also block the hot winds because light issues are common in the summer season. Because the sun emits high intense rays in summer as compared to the winter season.
There should be a safe distance between the plant and the sunny window in the summer season. You can use a plant light meter to measure the amount of light that it gets. Then make adjustments accordingly.
Light meters are inexpensive devices but are very important in indoor gardening.
Overfertilization and yellow orchid leaves
Overfertilization is common in houseplants. Because beginner growers think that with heavy nutrient boost. Their plants will grow fast and strong.
When a high dosage of fertilizer is given to the orchid plant. This increases the percentage of Nitrogen, copper, phosphorous, potassium, and many other elements in the potting soil. This prevents the roots from absorbing iron. It is required for the good health of plant leaves.
The deficiency of iron leads to orchid leaves turning yellow.
To fix it,
There is no method to take the nutrient back from the soil. But yes, you can flush the soil with water and then re-use it in the pot.
It is best to pull the plant out of its container and take out the soil. Then use water to flush the soil. Once it gets semi-dry put it back in the container and plant the orchid. This will save your yellow orchid.
The best thing is to know the right fertilizer technique. Always use liquid fertilizers, dilute them to their 1/3 strength. Use the limited amount only in the growing season of the plants. Stop using nutrient supplements on winter days.
Nutrient deficient orchids
Nutrient deficiency in orchids causes orchids leaves turning yellow. The first sign of deficiency is few flowers at the time of blooming, weak growth. When the plant absorbs all the nutrients from the potting soil. The soil loses its fertility. Therefore, you need to feed the orchids with their specific type of fertilizers.
Iron-rich nutrient supplements will solve the yellowing of orchid plants. Choose branded fertilizer packs. I use miracle grow liquid orchid fertilizers.
Quality of water
The quality of your tap water decides the health of your plants. In most parts of the country, the tap water is hard or is overly treated with Chlorine. Both the conditions lead to orchid leaves turning yellow.
You can prevent the yellow leaves on orchid plants by testing your water. There are many home water testing kits available on Amazon. You can buy one of them and test the quality of your tap water.
I use filtered water for my plants and never face any issues with them. Hard water contains many heavy minerals like magnesium, copper, etc. They are not required for short-height plant growth. Orchids are unable to process them. This causes yellow leaves on orchid plants.
For best flowers and orchid health use rainwater. Collect it in rain barrels when it rains in your area.
Use water that you use for drinking. If you drink bottled water then use the same for watering plants. Tap water is best for outdoor plants Because the garden soil absorbs all the heavy materials from the water. Whereas potting soil cannot.
Orchid diseases and fungus
Fungi and harmful bacteria result in the yellowing of orchid leaves. Firstly, the underside of leaves starts turning yellow. Then both sides turn yellow and black in few days. This is a rare condition and is only common in unhygienic plants.
If you grow your orchids in a hygienic place and keep the plant pot clean. Your plant will stay healthy and green.
You can treat the fungus by using fungicides. Firstly, use the fungicide soap to wash your plant. You cannot use commercial-grade products. Your orchids cannot tolerate them they will die due to the high-strength ingredients.
Leaf fungus is easy to treat. After using the fungicide, spray the neem oil and water solution on the treated part.
Neem has anti-bacterial properties it will cure your plant in few days. Also, the bacteria will stay away once it smells the neem on plant leaves.
Plant stress is of many types and they badly affect the plants. The common stress that orchids face is repotting stress. People like orchids for many reasons they like to grow them in fancy plant pots. After every 3 months, we see beautiful pots in the garden stores.
Growers want to use the new plant pot that hits the market for their orchids. In this race, they repot their orchids frequently. This triggers the shocking state and starts the process of orchid leaves turning yellow.
Stop unnecessary repotting and save your orchids from turning yellow.
This is all about yellow orchid and their causes with the solutions. If are unable to identify what turns your orchid yellow, write us. We will reply ASAP.