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Why Are My Orchid Leaves Drooping: 6 Truths You Need To Know

The drooping of your orchid leaves is usually due to improper watering. Besides, water is not the only problem, there are several other factors such as light or temperature that affect the health of your orchid.

By following up, learn the causes of orchid drooping and draw on these tips and experiences to help recover and prevent these problems. In this article, we will help you answer the question “Why are my orchid leaves drooping?” We will provide you with detailed explanations as well as solutions for you to fix and tips to avoid it.

Problem TypesProblem DescriptionsHow To Prevent
Improper wateringOverwatering or underwatering can cause orchid roots to rot or become dehydrated, leading to drooping.Water orchids thoroughly but allow excess water to drain. Adjust your watering schedule.
Light levelsInsufficient or excessive light can stress orchids, causing them to droop.Place orchids in appropriate lighting conditions. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.
Temperature and humidityOrchids are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and low humidity. Extreme conditions can lead to drooping and stress.Maintain a consistent temperature range. Use humidity trays or misting to increase humidity levels.
FertilizationOverfertilization or improper fertilization can harm orchids that results in drooping.Use a balanced orchid fertilizer, and follow the recommended dilution and application frequency.
Air movementInsufficient air circulation can create stagnant conditions around orchids, lead to fungal issues and drooping.Ensure gentle air movement by using fans or opening windows periodically. Avoid strong drafts.
Diseases and pestsOrchids are susceptible to diseases like root rot and pests, which can weaken the plant and cause drooping.Regularly inspect and isolate affected orchids to prevent spreading issues, and use appropriate treatments if necessary.

Why Are My Orchid’s Leaves Drooping? 

The main cause of orchid leaves wilting and drooping is due to insufficient water supply properly or temperature changes. 

In addition to the main factor above, other factors such as fertilization, light condition, air circulation, or diseases and pests can make drooping orchid leaves. Here I will provide detailed information from my experience as well as what I have learned:

Improper watering

Regarding watering, check to see if your plant is underwatered or overwatered. I usually press the ground with my knuckle to feel if it’s too dry or if it’s wet. Moreover, to make it easier to observe, I ordered more transparent plastic pots for growing plants for easy monitoring and care.

If the roots inside the pot are slightly wrinkled and shriveled, it means your plant is lacking water. Furthermore, you will most clearly see the lower leaves being affected, such as drooping, color change, feeling dry to the touch, or wilted. If the time is prolonged, it will affect all leaves of the orchid. 

Additionally, I observed that the roots were brown, mushy, and easily broken when repotted. The reason is because I watered too much and left it for too long, causing the plant’s roots to rot, leading to the plant drooping and wilting. 

To remedy the above situation, I will give you the solutions that I have tried and succeeded to get you to revive your soul.

For orchids that lack water

Method 1: You put your plants in the sink, and rinse with warm water to soak the potting medium and leave them for 15-30 seconds. During watering, you must remove all standing water to avoid root rot.

Method 2: You put your orchid pot in another pot, or you can find a bucket to put it in. Then, add more water until it reaches the edge of the basin or bucket. Let your plant soak for about 15-30 minutes then remove it.

Note: If your plants are severely dehydrated, I recommend using method 2, because I have tried it on my plants and found that when using method 2 my plants recovered and grew back compared to method 1. 

For flooded orchids

At this point, your plant’s roots are almost rotten. Therefore, you need to clean the plant’s roots and replace it with a new pot. When buying a pot you should choose a size smaller than the older one. Also, if your old pot is between 3.5 inches and 4 inches, use a new pot of the same size.

Choose a pot made from materials like terracotta or a specialized orchid pot with extra drainage holes, preventing overwatering.

Orchid Leaves Drooping

Light levels

Orchids need the right amount of light to thrive. So, too much or too little light can cause the leaves to droop

Lacking light 

When plants do not receive enough light, the photosynthesis process will not be effective, leading to growth of the plant slowing down, causing yellow leaves. Overtime, it may fall off on its own. For leaves that are only slightly discolored, they can be recovered.

To solve this problem, you should move them closer to the window or to a place to meet their lighting needs better, or I recommend that you equip a grow lights to support the plants during the growth stages. I often buy LED and Fluorescent lights because these light have full spectrum, as well as save energy during use. 

Too much light

Depending on the type of orchid you grow, determine the amount of light that type receives. However, according to my observations, all plants grow well under indirect light (Using grow light to support). I tried placing them in direct sunlight or leaving them for too long. Unfortunately, the leaves were sunburned and crispy, and have black spots appeared on the leaf edges.

To help the plant recover, I move it to indirect light, and let the damaged leaves fall on their own instead of cutting them off. If you use a grow light system, please refer to it to adjust by timer and brightness modes.

An Orchid infected with a black spot 

Temperature and humidity

Orchids have an ideal temperature range between 50°F and 80°F. Therefore, if the temperature is too high (above 90°F) for a long time, the orchid will lose water and wilt. If the temperature drops too low (below 45°F), cold air will affect the plant’s cells, leading to weak and slow growth. This can also cause orchid splitting, which is a condition where the leaves of the orchid split open.

To avoid orchids from suffering heat shock, I often change the location of the orchids regularly to see where they grow best. You should monitor the color of the leaves, and the frequency of blooms to evaluate. In addition, of course, avoid placing orchids near heat sources such as radiators, vents, or stoves. Likewise, do not place them near air conditioning vents or drafty windows, to avoid sudden cold air shocking the plant.

Besides, the ideal humidity range level for orchids to grow well is between 40 and 70 percent. If you feel the air is balanced, I recommend misting the surrounding of the orchid instead of spraying directly. In case of low humidity, add a humidifier near the plants or place the pot on a layer of damp gravel.

Fertilization

If your orchids do not receive enough nutrients, it will lead to weak leaves, fewer flower blooms, and smaller plants. I often choose potting mixes, but it may be many nutrients, so adding fertilizer is essential during the plant’s growth process.

Therefore, you should increase the frequency of fertilizing plants, and use fertilizers specifically for orchids or balanced fertilizers for other indoor plants with dilution conditions from 1/4 to 1/2 concentration. degree. 

From my experience, weekly fertilization is recommended, however, it still depends on the plant species and cultivar. A small tip is that you should water before fertilizing so that the plant can absorb enough nutrients and avoid water shortage.

Applying fertilizer to orchid plants

Air movement

Orchids not only absorb water and nutrients through our daily watering and fertilizing. Furthermore, their leaves and upper roots also absorb moisture and nutrients from the air to grow. Therefore, air circulation is very important and helps the plant avoid drooping or wilting.

In addition, if you do not circulate air well, the plant will be attacked by fungi and bacteria, and dirt will accumulate on the leaves. So, to help circulate air, you can use a ceiling fan. If you use a floor fan, that’s fine, but don’t let the fan blow directly on the plant.

Diseases and pests

You also need to be careful of insects, they often suck sap from the plant, causing the leaves to droop and wilt. Signs include chlorine spots, darkening or wilting, and falling leaves.

To revive orchid, you should check regularly to prevent it. Also, look for cottony layers or discoloration often seen on the underside of leaves. When detected, isolate the plant and use horticultural oil or a mild soap solution.

How to Avoid Droopy Orchid Leaves

These tips help you avoid droopy orchid leaves by choosing the right potting medium, watering, placement, and light exposure:

  • Choose between organic (bark, moss) or inorganic (LECA) mediums based on your orchid’s needs.
  • Place the plant away from vents, radiators, or drafty windows to avoid heat stress.
  • Water when the roots turn from green to silver and also ensure proper drainage.
  • Use a ceiling fan on a low setting or a moving floor fan to circulate air.
  • Provides indirect light for 6-8 hours, you can consider using grow lights if natural light is not enough.

Conclusion

Caring for orchids seems complicated. Whether it’s drooping leaves or fewer blooms, the solution often lies in getting the water, light, and air conditions just right. Too much or too little of these can cause your orchid to grow poorly. Moreover,  it’s important to pay attention to your orchid’s needs, from the right amount of water depending on the season to the best location with indirect light.

FAQs

Kelly Lawrence

Kelly Lawrence

Kelly Lawrence is the CEO of Swipe Garden. Over 10 years in the writing and passion for gardening, she brings a wealth of expertise and creativity to the world of gardening. Kelly Lawrence has cultivated a community of plant lovers, making gardening accessible and enjoyable for all.