19 Culprits: Why Orchid Leaves Turning Yellow + Fixes

Yellowing leaves on orchids aren’t always indicative of an issue. Your orchid’s leaves could be turning yellow due to old foliage, but yellow leaves may also be a symptom of a disease.

A skilled eye can quickly distinguish between the two, but novice gardeners can struggle to say the difference. The most popular reasons for yellow leaves in orchids are discussed below, along with basic and actionable solutions.

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There are many reasons for an Orchid Leaves Turning Yellow, but the main causes are Low Temperatures, Overwatering, Underwatering, Humidity, Too Much Or Little Light, Nutrient Deficiencies, Potting Stress, and hard watering.

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  • Why are my orchid leaves turning yellow after repotting
  • Orchid leaves turning white

How Do I Know If Orchid Yellowing Is Normal?

Many orchids are deciduous, like some Dendrobiums (nobile), Catasetum, and Lycastes. It means the phalaenopsis leaves will turn yellow, fall off, and become dormant in the winter. The orchids then begin to develop new leaves, roots, and flowers in the spring.

The reality that the leaf’s yellow discoloration before dropping off means that you’re growing a deciduous phalaenopsis, as contrasted to all of the leaves becoming yellow at once and then dropping off, which might indicate a problem.

19 Reasons Why Orchid Leaves Turning Yellow And Wrinkled With Brown Spots?

Why Orchid Leaves Turning Yellow And Wrinkled
Why Orchid Leaves Turning Yellow And Wrinkled

Phalaenopsis turning yellow is very common, but it may indicate that your plant requires some aids. Some causes of leaf yellowing can endanger the plant’s survival, but they are all reversible if detected in time. We’ll go through 19 of the most popular reasons that are causing yellow discoloration of your orchid leaves.

1. Low Temperatures

Most orchids thrive at fifteen to seventeen degrees celsius. This temperature is similar to that found throughout many homes, which is one of the reasons so many orchids are good houseplants.

The plant will be stressed if the temperature falls below 15 degrees Celsius on a regular basis. As a result, you will observe gradual yellowing leaves on the orchid, as well as leaf drop. This can progress to orchid brown leaves or blackening of the leaves, which can ultimately lead to plant death.

2. High Temperatures

Even though many orchids are found in tropical areas, they are found under the tree canopy, where they can find a fairly mild temperature. This results in surroundings with a fairly constant temperature and high air moisture content levels, with a slight drop in temperature during the night.

When caring for orchids at home, you should try to create an environment similar as much as possible to their natural habitat. As the temperature rises above 27 degrees Celsius regularly, an orchid experiences undue stress, resulting in decreased effectiveness of its usual metabolic processes, and orchid petals wilting.

3. Humidity Levels

Orchids require humidity, but too much air moisture content will cause bacteria and mold to develop on their leaves. When high humidity and high temperatures combine, the orchid will easily yellow and which will eventually lead to the phalaenopsis leaves dropping. 

The issue is that indoor air moisture content varies from day to day and can change quickly. If you set up a humidifier on dry day morning, by the time you check back in the evening you might find your plant too humid.

4. Over-Watering

Orchids which are epiphyte species nestles in the tree stems and roots to keep their roots reasonably dry. The presence of too much water in your orchid’s pot will suffocate the roots and lead to leaves yellowing within days.

 You may first experience a slowing leaf development rate, or the yellow discoloration could be the first sign of orchid problems. Remove the growing medium and cut away any black and weakened roots to save the overwatered orchids.

To prevent this cause of yellowing, make use of a fast-draining pot with loose soil designed especially for orchids

5. Under-Watering

If you do not water your orchid when it is required, you will find weak and yellowing leaves.This may also result in dry, wrinkled leaves orchid, and the entire stem wilting or softening. Orchids do not usually recover quickly from underwatering problems so don’t give up if the plant drops most leaves before getting better.

Ensure that the humidity level remains constant and high during the re-watering process to ensure that the plant does not lose the majority of its water into the air.

6. Seasonal Changes

Seasonal changes are difficult on orchids because there are hundreds of different reasons for them to yellow. Temperature, humidity, light, and other factors naturally fluctuate as the seasons shift. If you can restore the proper conditions, little yellowing leaves on orchids from the transition will not last long. 

7. Too Much or Little Light

Shriveled orchid leaves in response to light levels is difficult to diagnose because it can be due to both too much and too little light exposure. Since they thrive in the shade of trees, orchids are not light-loving plants. Most species of phalaenopsis require only indirect sunlight to avoid burning out and yellowing.

Nonetheless, most orchids need sufficient indirect sunlight to develop. Most growers prefer shade sheets and screens to provide the light that isn’t too direct to burn.

8. Nutrient Deficiencies

Orchids are not heavy eaters but if they go too long without food, they can turn yellow. To begin, you will notice a lack of flowering and slow to stalled leaf growth. Use fertilizers made specifically for orchids following the right dose prescription.

When there is an excess of nitrogen and magnesium in the soil, orchids often fail to absorb iron. This would result in yellowing from the center of the leaf outward. In this scenario, you have too much fertilizer rather than not enough.

If this is the case ensure to apply moderate fertilizer to your plant

9. Fusarium

The disease mainly leads to orchid red leaf, the newest leaves of Phalaenopsis turn a bright reddish color before falling off and causing the plant to die. Older leaves are prone to drying out.

Plants that are seriously infected should be killed and all dead roots should be carefully extracted to avoid the spread of infection to other plants.

10. Plant and Leaf Age

Yellowing is unavoidable as the plant ages and each leaf nears the end of its life. Both orchid leaves that turn yellow eventually die. Allowing a leaf to turn yellow and dry out does not hurt the plant.

If they begin to change color, you can always trim them off to keep the orchid looking new. Take a look at the newest leaves if they are dark green, well-formed, and steadily growing? The yellowing is most likely a result of the normal aging process. When no new leaves appear and the existing ones lose their color, the problem is most likely to be of a different cause.

11. Potting Stress

Don’t change the pot of your orchid more than required. Orchids prefer to be confined in their habitat. If you see closely packed roots that are green and healthy, you don’t need to move to a larger pot just yet. When it’s time to repot, you will notice dry roots turning white or dark.

Unnecessary potting sometimes results in dead and orchid brown leaves. Of course, putting off repotting for an extended period would stress the orchid. Try to schedule the repotting period to coincide with its growth such that it is crowded but has room to expand. Repot at least once every two years to replenish the depleted expanding medium.

12. Hard Water

The kind of water you use to water your orchid might seem not too important to take note of. This, though, will make a significant difference.

Many people live in places where the drinking water is hard, meaning it contains high amounts of dissolved minerals including magnesium and calcium. These will interfere with your plant’s ability to absorb nutrients. As a consequence, the phalaenopsis leaves will turn yellow.

Water the orchid with distilled water, which is very pure.

13. Too Much Fertilizer

 Excess fertilizer application is a popular mistake, mostly among beginners.fertilizers are designed to speed up the growth of your orchid, so it’s enticing to apply it every occasion you water it. 

Orchids don’t need much fertilizer, and excess nutrients are one of what causes orchids leaves to turn yellow, as well as absorption issues. This is like to the problem caused by hard water.

Ensure you’re following the directions for the fertilizer you’ve selected. If in question, “weekly, weakly” is a decent rule of thumb. This signifies that you aren’t overdoing it.

14. Leaves Yellowing & Falling Off Naturally

Many common orchids, like the Phalaenopsis, naturally produce yellow leaves as they grow older. If your plant is old then there is no reason to worry.

These leaves will break off and decompose over time. This is done by your orchid to make room for fresh leaves and to get nutrients from the old ones.

The best to do is to just wait for the plant to remove these old leaves. If you like, once they seem to be about to die, you can cut them off with a sharp razor. This, though, isn’t essential and, if done incorrectly, could damage your plant.

15. A Sudden Change In The Environment

When you move a plant to a different place or climate, it can become stressed, resulting in orchid leaves soft and droopy.

Yellowing leaves of plants are a more serious symptom of stress. If you first take your plant home from the supermarket or when you move it from one room to another, it will be stressed.

If the leaves on your orchid appear to yellow after you bring it home from the shop, don’t worry. There isn’t something you can do. Make sure you choose a suitable site for your new plant, and the rest will fall into place.

16. Fungal Leaf Spot

Yellow spots on orchid leaves underside and the bottom are common symptoms of this infection. If the fungal leaf spot is not handled, the spots may grow bigger and turn brown or black. 

17. Bacterial infection 

It might be a bacterial brown spot if you find wet-looking yellow or brown spots on your orchid leaves. This is more likely if your orchid is kept in a hot and humid setting. As the condition worsens, the leaves turn a uniform yellow color, indicating that the plant is stressed.

Also, read below bugs fixes.

18. Pest problem

Pest issues are another cause of yellowing leaves on orchid plants. The orchid can look natural in the initial stages of infestation. It’s possible that the visible symptoms of struggle will not show until the infestation has progressed.

 The Red and false spider mites, and scale are all pests that can damage your orchid resulting in spider plant yellowing. All of them will suffocate your orchid, quickly spread to other house plants, and are a pain to get rid of.

19. Bud Blast

Orchid petals wilting is a typical occurrence at the end of a blooming period. The majority of orchid species only bloom once a year. Those blooms will inevitably begin to wilt within a week to six months and will gradually break from the plant and drop off. 

However, if before they open, they begin to wilt and wither, bud blast is the most probable cause. To preserve energy, stressed orchids can drop unopened buds.

Also find How to fix yellow pothos leaves.

How To Save And Care For An Orchid With Yellow Leaves?

When saving an orchid, the care to be given is dependent on the causative agent of the orchid’s yellow leaves. The remedy for many of the different causes will be enumerated below.

1. Low Temperature

This is a relatively simple issue to resolve since it should be evident if your plant is placed in a spot where the temperature frequently falls below 15 degrees celsius. If you’re unsure, you might get a room thermometer to check so you will know when to change the plant location.

2. High Temperature

PREVENTION is the first and only remedy. Never leave your orchid in a direct sunlight path.

3. Humidity Levels

You can set up sensors that monitor the moisture level in the air and regulate humidifiers or passive techniques like water trays which outperform continuous humidification. Many phalaenopsis need 40 to 70 percent humidity, but this varies by species.

4. Over-Watering

To prevent this cause of yellowing, make use of a fast-draining pot with loose soil designed especially for orchids

5. Under-Watering

 Ensure that the humidity level remains constant and high during the re-watering process to ensure that the plant does not lose the majority of its water into the air.

6. Bacterial infection 

The most effective cure is to cut any affected leaf sections or the whole leaf. Using clean and sterile scissors at all times!

7. Pest Problems

The first step is to separate your plant if this is the case. You will not want the bugs to attack your other orchids, which is a possibility. You would get rid of them with ready-made pest control solutions for house plants or with home remedies.

8. Fungal Leaf Spot

You may use a fungicide to treat minor infections by spraying or wiping the leaves with it. It’s common practice to eliminate all infected leaves before treating the good ones. 

9. Nutrient Deficiencies

If this is the case ensure to apply moderate fertilizer to your plant.

How To Identify Overwatered Or Under-watered orchids?

Why Orchid Leaves Turning Yellow And Wrinkled
Why Orchid Leaves Turning Yellow And Wrinkled

Since the effects of overwatering and underwatering can be somewhat similar, most phalaenopsis orchid farmers have difficulty diagnosing watering issues.

  • Both overwatering and underwatering can destroy your orchid’s root system and ultimately cause dehydration.
  • Green, plump, and stiff roots indicate good health. If your roots are brown and mushy, you’ve overwatered them and can wait longer between watering them.
  • Watering levels must be increased if the roots are very grey and shriveled, with small rising tips.

Should I Cut Yellow Leaves Off Orchids To Revive?

Allow one or two of the leaves on the bottom of your orchid plant to turn yellow. Do not attempt to detach them from the plant on your own! Yellow leaves are unattractive to certain people, so they are removed. Manually cutting the plant’s leaves raises the possibility of disease. 

Pest and disease control For orchid

Malathion, Orthene, or Safer Soap may be sprayed on plants as directed on the bottle. Repeat the process every four days until pest and disease are no longer present.

Infestation can be avoided by maintaining good drainage and eliminating weeds, as well as keeping plant hosts apart from your orchids.

faqs on Why Orchid Leaves Turning Yellow?


Q: Do Orchids Like Coffee Grounds?

Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen and other important nutrients beneficial to plants. Orchids do best in soil that is poor in alkalinity. As a result, adding coffee grounds to the soil will aid in the growth and blooming of your plants. 

Q: Are Eggshells Good For Orchid Plants?

 “Yes,” . When crushed eggshells are applied to the soil, they increase the soil’s calcium, potassium, and protein nutrients. 

Q: How Do You Fix An Overwatered Orchid?

Repot the orchid in a fresh potting medium after removing any mushy or injured orchid roots with a small, sterile knife. 

Q: Should You Remove Yellow Leaves From Orchids?

Do not attempt to detach them from the plant on your own. Manually removing the orchids leaves raises the possibility of disease. 

Q: Will Yellow Orchid Leaves Turn Green Again?

Yes” The yellow phalaenopsis leaves can turn green again if the cause of the problem is discovered early, but if the damage is serious, the leaves will die. 

Q: Best Season To Grow Orchid?

Winter” The winter season when they are about to bloom is considered the best period to plant orchids. 

The Bottom Line

As discussed above, there are a few possible causes for your Orchid Leaves Turning Yellow. Before you may apply some remedy, you must properly examine the condition and make a proper diagnosis.

Often the cause is just something easy that you can fix right away, and most times it can be an illness that has to be handled right away.

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