Aug 13th, 2010

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE LIMP LEAVES ON YOUR PHALAENOPSIS ORCHID PLANT

A phaleanopsis orchid plant that has pale, limp leaves are suffering from heat and over watering. The phaleanopsis likes to be in indirect light, such as north, northeast, and northwest. It really doesn’t like being close to a window. Glass will magnify heat and cold, which causes harm to the phaleanopsis orchid plant. It will thrive even in the darkest corners of your home or office.

Remove the badly damaged leaves that are very soft. The leaves that are still firm to the touch may plump back up with some TLC. If you have healthy roots, they are rounded and firm to the touch and grayish in colour with greenish tips.  This orchid plant might bounce back, but it may take a few weeks to see some real improvement.

If the potting medium (moss) is very dry and crusty, it can be re-hydrated by soaking the whole pot in clean room temperature water for 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to drain and dry any wet leaves. Only do this when your orchid plant has been severely dehydrated.

An orchid plant with limp, yellow leaves is showing signs of cold damage and/or over-watering. Cold damage can be caused by being in a cold spot; a cold breeze from an open window or fan; or the temperature of the water, used for watering is too cold. Watering too often and keeping the moss wet all of the time will cause limp, yellow leaves too.

It is very difficult to save this poor plant. Remove the damaged leaves and check for healthy roots, by pulling the plant out of its pot and gently removing the moss. If the roots are healthy, the plant can be saved. Allow the wet moss to dry out a bit, or replace the wet moss with fresh, dry moss; then carefully arrange the moss around the roots before replacing the plant into its pot.

If the roots are soft, mushy, and breaks easily, then a burial must be scheduled. It will not revive.

Phalaenopsis orchid plants are very hardy with a strong survival instinct. One that is stressed may still strive to produce new leaves and roots, so don’t give up on it. Put it in a quiet corner, away from direct light and forget about it. Check on it and occasionally water it with a weak fertilizer solution. A quarter strength of a flowering plant food or orchid plant food will keep it healthy and also, help it to regenerate healthy roots and leaves. This fertilizer solution can be used for every watering, unless your plant has dried too much. In this case, soak; and fertilize a few days later or at its next watering.

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