Why Do Orchid Leaves Get Limp?

Written by amanda bell
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Why Do Orchid Leaves Get Limp?
Several factors can cause your orchid to develop limp leaves. (Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

While the majority of orchids are relatively easy to grow once you get the hang of it, most growers encounter a few problems along the way. One of the most common is limp or droopy leaves. The most likely culprit is too much water, which can lead to more serious issues, such as the development of a fungus.

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Overwatering an Orchid

Giving your orchid too much water is the most likely reason its leaves are becoming limp or droopy. When an orchid is watered too often or given too much water at once, the roots fail to absorb all of the liquid, leaving the growing medium soggy and waterlogged. The best way to rectify the situation is to withhold water from the orchid until it appears to have dried out; this typically takes about a week. Take note of how often you watered the plant. If you were doing it once a week, try stretching that to every week and a half. Keep watering to a minimum until you determine how much your orchid actually needs.

The Orchid Needs Repotted

An orchid that has been overwatered for too long may require repotting. Once the moisture in the growing medium becomes too much, the roots begin to rot, resulting in wilting leaves. Gently remove your orchid from its pot and carefully shake loose any attached bark or moss. If any roots are visibly waterlogged or rotting, gently remove those, taking care to leave healthy roots intact. Replant the orchid in a fresh pot, using a quality orchid potting mix. In most cases, you will need to use a stake to support the orchid until its root system is healthy enough to support the plant.

The Orchid May Be Sick

Orchids that are left in too much moisture are prone to developing a fungus or a bacterial infection. After repotting your orchid, treat it with a disinfectant meant for orchids once a month. This will help to take care of any existing infection, as well as prevent the growth of additional fungus and bacteria.

The Orchid Is Not Receiving Enough Water

As orchids tend to require less water than most house plants, it is relatively uncommon for an otherwise well-cared-for orchid to suffer from insufficient watering. However, if the roots of the plant are intact and healthy and the medium is not waterlogged, this may be the reason for limp leaves. If this is the case, slowly begin to increase the amount of water you give your plant or how often you water. While doing so, keep in mind that overwatering can produce the same effects.

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