When a healthy Phalaenopsis orchid is in bloom or is preparing to bloom, its leaves should be the color of healthy grass, a bright medium green with yellow undertones. As Phalaenopsis orchids finish blooming and enter their dormant stage, the plant’s leaves will lose their luster, turning dull and taking on a somewhat grayish cast. When leaf color deviates from these norms, it is usually a sign that your Phalaenopsis orchid is under duress. Knowing the problems associated with different leaf colors can help you pinpoint and correct orchid problems before they affect the health of your plant.
If the leaves on your Phalaenopsis orchid begin to change color, the following guide will help you determine the most likely cause of the problem and recommended corrective measures to return your orchid to good health.
- Dark green leaves indicate that your orchid is not getting enough light. Move the plant to a brighter room or closer to a window, but avoid direct light. Phalaenopsis orchids grow best in south and east-facing windows. North-facing windows may be too dark, while west-facing windows can admit too much light.
- White leaves, particularly if they subsequently die and turn black, indicate that your orchid is getting too much light. Overexposure to sunlight bleaches the color out of plant leaves, initially turning them white, then black as they die. Move the plant out of direct sunlight and away from west-facing windows. Hanging sheer curtains at bright windows can help diffuse sunlight and protect orchid leaves from sunburn.
- Yellow leaves don’t necessarily indicate a problem. If only the bottom leaf is turning yellow, your orchid is probably sloughing off a mature leaf to make room for new growth. You can leave the leaf in place until it withers and falls off the stalk or you can remove it using a sterile knife.
For answers to your orchid questions, join our online orchid care forums.