Orchid Leaves

Asked April 12, 2017, 11:34 AM EDT

I've had these Orchids for about a year now. We got them from a local store, we have since re-planted them and they have done great. They even rebloomed. But since they lost their 2nd blooms this past month their leaves are looking like this. I'm not sure if it is too much water, not enough, lighting, etc? Some have spots others are droopy and crinkly. Please help.

Campbell County Kentucky

1 Response

These are Phalaenopsis orchids. I have several of these myself. The fact that you have been successful in re-blooming them means you must be doing something right. I am less concerned about the mottled foliage, some Phalaenopsis exhibit mottled foliage normally and this trait is even desired by many people because the give the foliage a variegated appearance. However the shrunken aspect of the older leaves is concerning. This is evidence that the plant is dehydrating. This could be caused by several things: lack of water, breakdown of the potting medium (probably not since you recently reported them), poor drainage, or too much water (either of the last two may cause root damage which leads to desiccation). I suspect poor drainage or too much water. Do the pots contain drainage holes? Many orchids are sold in combination pots with a standard plastic pot enclosed by a decorative ceramic or plastic pot. The outer pot often does not have drainage holes. This is not a problem if you are careful with watering. If you lift the inside pot, do you see water in the bottom? If so, this can cause the roots to suffer and die and cause wilting (shrivelled leaves in the case of orchids)--even though you are watering the plant. Without functional roots the plant will dehydrate and die. Each time you water, it is a good idea to check the pots after 30 or so minutes to see if water has accumulated in the bottom. If it has, poor it out. If find it useful to occasionally take the plants to the sink and allow excess water to flow through the pot occasionally. Also, make sure you are using a potting mix designed for orchids. Bark pieces should be the main ingredient and the mix sould drain very quickly. For the plants with shriveled foliage, it may be useful to remove them from the outter pot entirely for a while to allow the potting mix to more quickly dry out between waterings and prevent additinal rotting of the roots if this is occuring. You want to see plump roots (almost the size of pencils) in the pot that are white or light green. The presences of areal root from the stems above the potting mix is desirealbe as well. Good luck, if you have more questions simpley respond back to the messge using the link provided.