Droopy Orchid Leaves

Droopy Orchid Leaves – 5 Problems Solved + Solutions

Not sure why the leaves on your moth orchid or phalaenopsis are drooping and maybe even wrinkled? and you don’t know how to fix it?

Read on to find out the many reasons why this problem is happening and the one thing you can do to fix it!

Orchid leaves that are droopy and wrinkled are caused by a key mistake in their care. And it’s raining!

Causes of Droopy Orchid Leaves

To put it simply, most drooping and wrinkly orchid leaves are caused by your plant not getting enough water.

This could also happen if your Phalaenopsis orchid is kept both too dry and too wet.

So, how do you know which one is which? The answer is given further down.

Droopy Orchid Leaves

Keeping Your Orchid Too Dry – Underwatering

The answer is easy to figure out. If you keep the bark mix or sphagnum moss in your orchid too dry for a long time, it will dry out, and the lower leaves will be the first to show signs of trouble.

If you keep doing this, the whole plant will fall over in the end.

Phalaenopsis orchids don’t like being dry for long periods of time, especially if it’s for a long time.

Keeping Your Orchid Too Wet – Overwatering

On the other hand, if you leave the soil in your orchid’s pot wet for a long time, it can get root rot.

Once the roots of an orchid start to rot, the plant can no longer take in water through its roots. This causes the plant to dry out and its leaves to droop and wrinkle.

It makes sense if you look at it this way, doesn’t it?

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Droopy Orchid Leaves

Too Dry or Too Wet?

When you notice that the leaves of your orchid are weak and wrinkled, I’ll tell you exactly what to do.

I want you to put your hand in your soil. Whether it’s bark or sphagnum moss Put your finger inside the pot.

Is everything dry? Does it rain or not? Keep in mind that if you keep your orchid too dry or too wet for too long, the same problem can happen.

That’s great if you already know how to keep it from getting too dry or too wet. If you don’t know, please look at the roots. Take the plant out of its pot and, if you can, look at the roots.

If you use clear plastic pots, which I highly recommend for orchids, you can check the roots by looking through the pot. I get mine from Amazon.

I like them because you can look at the roots of your orchid to see how healthy they are and if anything strange is going on.

If the roots inside the pot are dry, wrinkled, and shrunken, this means you have kept your orchid too dry.

I’m not talking about the roots in the air…

Droopy Orchid Leaves

I’m talking about the roots inside the pot. Aerial roots will need additional care since they may rapidly dry if not watered as well.

If you don’t water the aerial roots, you might end up with an orchid whose roots are dying inside the pot but whose aerial roots are dry. Don’t confuse the two! There’s a difference!

I’ll talk more about how to water an orchid later.

If, on the other hand, your plant’s roots are brown, soft, and easy to pull off, it has been sitting in water for too long.

Next, I’ll discuss what you can do to revive your drooping, wilted orchid before delving into the reasons why your plant remained either too dry or too wet for too long.

Reviving Your Orchid

How to Properly Water an Orchid

If you think your orchid is too dry, the “cure” is easy! You’ll need to improve your watering technique.

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You have two options for watering:

  • Your plant should go in the sink. Soak all of the potting soil in lukewarm water for 15 to 30 seconds. Don’t forget to water the tops of the roots as well. To keep the roots from rotting, make sure to move any water that has gotten stuck between the leaves.
  • The second way to care for your plant is to soak it. Put your orchid in another pot or even a bucket that doesn’t have a drainage hole. Fill the pot with water all the way to the top. Give your plant 15 to 30 minutes to soak. Take away any extra water.

If your orchid is really thirsty, use the second method, but let it soak for a long time or overnight.

Don’t worry, your plant will not die! Make sure to get rid of any extra water if you do this.

Droopy Orchid Leaves

You might have to do this every time you water your orchid until it gets better.

When I got the orchid below to fix up for a friend, it only had two leathery, drooping, full-sized leaves.

Since this plant was very dry, I used method 2 to water it.

After a lot of care and time, it grew new leaves that are beautiful, strong, and straight, and it is even blooming today!

Even though the bottom leaves are still lower, they are no longer wrinkled, and the plant is strong.

What would happen if you overwatered your orchid and most of its roots died?

Reviving an Overwatered Orchid

If most of your plant’s roots have died, you’ll need to clean out the roots and repot the plant.

Most likely, you’ll need a smaller pot. If it is already in a smaller pot, like a 3.5- or 4-inch pot, you can keep it in the same pot.

Instead of going over all the ways to repot again, check out my blog post, “Illustrated Guide to Repotting an Orchid,” where I show you step-by-step how to do it!

Last, I’d like to talk about some common reasons why your orchid might have stayed too wet or too dry.

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Droopy Orchid Leaves

Causes for Dry Orchids

  • You might not be giving the plants enough water. Even worse, you’re watering your plants with ice cubes! I am so sure of this that I wrote a blog post about why you should never water orchids with ice cubes.
  • You put your orchid in a new pot, but you didn’t soak the bark mix in water first.
  • You may have put bark pieces on your plant that were much too big. Or maybe you didn’t pack the potting mix down enough, leaving a few holes.
  • Your bark mix may have broken down and been washed away, leaving just the roots in your container. In this state, it is hard to keep an orchid moist.
  • Lastly, you might have let the soil dry out for too long between waterings.

And it’s often a mix of the things we’ve already talked about!

Causes for Overwatered Orchids

If your orchid died, it could have been because of a lot of different things.

  • You may have forgotten to water your plant for a long time (days or weeks). This is not what orchids want.
  • Your bark mix may have broken down, which is why the medium has been wet for a long time. Orchids need to be moved to new pots often.
  • If you only water your plant once a week and it is growing on sphagnum moss, it may get too wet. Use your finger to tell you when to drink water, not a calendar.

Droopy Orchid Leaves

Frequently Asked Questions

Can wrinkled orchid leaves recover?

Yes, they can make some progress. If your leaves are still green, they can grow back if they get enough water (and patience and time).

But it’s going to take a while. Orchids respond more slowly than most other plants, but you can get there with care and patience.

Should I cut off wrinkled orchid leaves?

Only cut them if they have turned yellow all the way through. Since moth orchids only get one or two new leaves a year, keep the green ones on, even if they’re wilted.

This is good for the plant.

See more articles in this category: Outdoor Plants

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