The Q&A Archives: Orchid Care

Question: The leaves on my orchid plant are, one by one, falling off. They begin to yellow where they attach to the stem. This then spreads out to the whole leaf and it eventually drops off. A close friend says it suggests watering problems but didn't know if it was too much or too little water. What are the symtoms for over/under watering? Or, is it a need for fertilizer?

Answer: Orchids are some of the most popular, and rewarding houseplants around! There are many, many kinds, each with different requirements, but here are some general care tips for orchids: They like daytime temperatures of about 70F degrees in the summer, 60F in the winter, and a drop of ten degrees at night. Cool nights are important. Give them bright light, 10-15 hours each day. Supplement with artificial light in the winter time. Keep the compost moist, but reduce the frequency of watering during the winter months. Mist the leaves occasionally. Keep them out of drafts and shade them from direct sunshine.

Yellowing leaves can indicate over or under watering, and poor fertility. Follow the guidelines above and your orchid should regain its health.

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