Orchid Leaves Splitting or Cracking?

Question of the Week:

“Hi Ryan,
Thank you so much for all of your info and expertise. split leaves
My Orchids are all healthy and happy, except for a mealy bug now and then, but my real problem is on my Phalaenopsis. Some of the leaves have split down the middle. They are still nice and green they just look sick with the split down the center. If you get a chance and can tell me why, I would appreciate it. Thanks again.”

-Leslie Fortner
Lake View Terrace, CA


Ryan’s Recommendation:

Hi Leslie,

That’s good news that your Phalaenopsis leaves are looking nice and green—it’s a sign that they are doing well. Many other orchid growers have experienced Phal leaves that split down the middle, but it’s a bit of a mystery as to why this happens and what, if anything, you can do to prevent it. There are certainly some theories about what causes splitting leaves, so let’s dig into the mystery…

First, note that splitting leaves is not usually an indication of a leaf getting ready to fall off. As an orchid leaf ages, the whole leaf begins to shrivel and turn yellow, and eventually falls off on its own. A split leaf is also unlikely to indicate disease, but you do want to keep an eye on it to make sure that it doesn’t develop an infection from the open “wounds” along the exposed surface. Here’s the “treatment” method for these wounds: Green Thumb Club Members Only
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