Why are Your Orchid’s Leaves Limp?

Question of the Week:

“Hi Ryan,

limp leavesI received the Orchid as a gift five years ago. Over each
of those years, it has been very prolific with its blooms. Usually with two stems and a total of 50 to 60 flowers.
To the best of my knowledge and observation, it is a Phalaenopsis. It had never been repotted during the five years and basically was watered once a week with a cup and half of water year round.

Before the end of the last bloom cycle, the lower leaves began to wither. limp leaves After the plant dropped its flowers in June, I repotted with bagged material specifically for Phals that was available in local store. The potting material I removed was very dense and mostly moss. Roots were not in great shape and I had to remove many.

Since repotting leaf situation has continued to worsen, although new leaves are appearing and as you point out aerial roots also. Attached are several photos of the limp and wrinkled leaves. limp leavesAlso is a photo of the plant when it
was in bloom last winter. Not the best photo, but gives idea of how beautiful it was. What do you think is going on? Would like to save it.”

Robert Smith
Salisbury, MA

Ryan’s Recommendation:

Hi Robert,

That’s quite an impressive array of blooms that your orchid has been producing! First of all, I’d like to confirm that, as you suspected, your orchid is indeed a Phalaenopsis. Second of all, it’s great that your orchid is growing new leaves. However, from the photos you sent, the plant does look quite dehydrated. So let’s go over some ways you can perk up the orchid and make sure it continues to lead a healthy blooming life…

Because the bottom leaves are limp, wrinkly, and thin, it means the orchid is not getting enough water to sustain it properly. I’m guessing this is due to a combination of factors: Green Thumb Club Members Only
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