Orchid Care: When and How to Cut an Orchid Leaf

Orchid Care: When and How to Cut an Orchid Leaf

In the “Care” section of our Just Add Ice Orchids website, you’ll find a section that asks, “Having Trouble?” and it’s there that you’ll find advice on Discolored Orchid Leaves, Orchid Flower or Bud Loss, Orchid Pests and Orchid Diseases. But sometimes, the challenge you’re facing isn’t included on those pages, and that’s what our Orchid Care Forum is for! 

Our orchid-loving friends have experienced a few issues lately that require cutting off damaged leaves. Whether it’s a suspected disease or damage that isn’t healing but instead seems to be rotting, you want to cut the leaf from the plant. But you want to make sure you use a sterile knife or scissors.  This way you can be sure that you don’t allow a disease to pass from one plant to another.

What counts as a sterile cutting tool?  You could use a new razor blade from the pack, or maybe a new X-acto blade in your knife. Those are great for precision cutting. You might want to sterilize your tools using a bleach solution, as suggested by Hosta Growers in Delaware Valley. You could also do what any first aid guide recommends for tools used on people, and that is to sterilize them using rubbing alcohol.  Boiling water may work too, but could rust metal tools if you’re not careful, and using a flame may blacken the tool.

It’s also important that you don’t just cut your plant anywhere, since it might damage your orchid plant further. So be sure to cut the damaged leaf at the base, or the point where it joins the rest of the plant.

If you still aren’t sure what to do, feel free to write to our Orchid Care Forum!