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Why are My Orchid Leaves Drooping? Aha!

Why are My Orchid Leaves Drooping? Aha!

If you grow orchids you may encounter drooping leaves on the orchids at some point in time. I can easily spot the condition in my plants or another person’s orchids.

Multiple factors could cause the leaves of orchids to droop.

In this article, I will discuss why my orchid leaves are drooping and help them look healthy.


Why Are My Orchid Leaves Drooping?

A drooping orchid leaves appear limb and leathery. There are 3 possible reasons why orchid leaves could be dropping. The first two reasons include under-watering and over-watering the orchids. Orchid leaves could also droop if the plant loses its roots. 


3 Main Reasons Why Orchid Leaves Droop

The three main causes of drooping orchid leaves are under watering, overwatering, or rotten roots.


1. Under Watering the Orchid

Underwatering my orchids easily leads to dehydration. I can tell that my orchids are dehydrated if I spot dry media.

The remedy for dehydrated orchids is simply watering my orchids.

It is important to water the orchid as soon as the potting media dries out.

However, orchids do not like to stay dry for long. Therefore, water them as soon as the potting media dries out.

Also, it helps to transplant dehydrated orchids into a big plastic see-through box.

The box creates a humid environment which can help orchids struggling with severe cases of dehydration to recover.

The orchids will absorb water from the roots and humidity from the air, which helps them recover.


How To Fix Underwatering

If a see-through plastic box is not available, I can settle for a plastic bag. Ensure I place the plan inside that plastic bag and close it well.

Also, let some fresh air in the bag by opening it every few days. Transplanting my orchids is usually a temporary solution in extreme cases.

Another option is to mist the dehydrated orchids gently. Normal spray bottles help me mist my orchids well but spray bottles with a fine mist work better.

Also, I can make a humidity tray or place a humidifier close to the dehydrated orchids to help increase the humidity around these plants.

I will also need a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels. Ensure that the humidity level is always above 40%.


2. Drooping Leaves Because of Over-Watering my Orchids

Over-watering is another common cause of drooping leaves on orchids. It happens when I leave the potting media soaking wet.

New orchid growers often make the error of over-watering their orchids.

I can tell that I’ve been overwatering my orchids if the leaves droopy and the roots are mushy and with little substance.

Also, the roots will appear bright green even when I haven’t watered the orchids recently.

Bright green roots indicate the presence of water, while silver-green roots indicate the roots need watering. 

Over-watering also causes roots to rot, making them unable to deliver water to other plant parts and offer support.


How To Fix Over-watering

I can fix this issue by simply leaving the media to dry out. It takes about 1 to 4 weeks for the media to dry out.

The period depends on various factors such as the type of soil, weather, and more.

The most effective way to prevent or control overwatering my orchids is to make sure my pot has good drainage holes at the bottom to release excess water.

Also, transplant the option and use a pair of scissors to snip out rotten roots. I ensure I sanitize the scissors with rubbing alcohol.

If I have a few roots left, increase the humidity to help grow new roots.

It is also important to avoid leaving my orchids standing in water for a long time because it easily causes overwatering.

Be wary about overwatering my orchids because it can ultimately kill them.


3. Drooping Leaves Because of Loss of Roots

The leaves of my orchids may be drooping because of damage or loss of roots.

There are two types of orchid roots. They include aerial roots which grow outside the pot and terrestrial roots which grow inside the pot.

Roots have a significant influence on the health of my orchids.

The root system provides other plant parts like flower spikes and leaves with energy because they absorb water and nutrients. They also support the plant itself.

Many factors could lead to the damage and loss of roots. The damage could come from the poor airflow in the pot and insufficient watering.

Sadly, it is hard to tell the health state of my roots because the potting media usually hide them.


How To Manage the Loss of Roots on My Orchids

The best way to manage root rot is to cut out the rotting or dead roots.

However, as I cut out the roots, I need to be careful not to cut too deep into the healthy parts because it could harm the entire plant.

There is also a risk of infecting the plant with a dangerous virus if I cut out healthy parts or use unsterilized tools to cut out the roots.

I may have to throw out the entire plant if it fails to grow new roots.


Frequently Asked Questions About Why My Orchid Leaves Droop


Will droopy orchid leaves recover?

It is hard for the old leaves to recover from their droopy appearance. However, there will be new leaves that will grow to replace them. The new leaves will be wrinkle-free and turgid.


Should I cut out droopy leaves from my orchids?

I need to remove the droopy leaves from my orchid plants carefully. New ones will grow in their place.


What is the watering schedule for orchids?

I should water my orchids about once every four days or week, depending on the species of orchids. Drought-tolerant orchids can survive well if I water them once a week.