The Q&A Archives: Orchids

Question: I have two different orchids that have developed brownish/black areas upon the leaves. Both plants seem to be quite healthy with the exception of these leaves. I'm fairly new at taking care of orchids and would like to take care of this. I'd also like to know if whatever this is, is contagious to my other plants. Thanks
Jerry Barnhart

Answer: I don't really know whether your orchids have developed a fungal or bacterial disease but I suspect there's something wrong. You might try cutting off the affected leaves until you can determine just what's happening. Maybe it is a cultural stress of some kind that will improve with good care. Orchids like a day temperature of about 70F during the summer and 60F during the winter, with a 10 degree drop at night. Cool nights are important to the health and flowering ability of your plant. Orchids require 10-15 hours of light each day, so you may need to supplement natural light with artificial light during the winter months when the days are short. Orchids like moist soil and appreciate being misted once or twice each day. To increase humidity around the plant, place the pot on a layer of rocks in a tray of water. As the water evaporates it will provide moist, humid conditions around your plant. Following the above advice should result in lovely blooms on your orchids!

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