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The graceful orchids are not very easy to care for and diseases can quickly develop on the decorative houseplant. These include above all problems with the leaves caused by fungi or other diseases and pests. However, it is often due to the wrong care that the plant does not have enough antibodies and can no longer defend itself against an infestation. Proper care is therefore particularly important for a strong plant.


wrinkle growth

Accordion or wrinkle growth

Some types of orchids react to the wrong care by stopping growth. As a rule, this means that the leaves continue to grow wrinkled and not straight. This creates the typical picture of accordion growth. In retrospect, this growth can no longer be corrected, the affected leaves are no longer smooth, even if measures are taken directly. The wrinkled leaves of the orchid cannot harm, but the overall picture suffers. Therefore, as soon as accordion growth is detected, the following measures should be taken immediately.

  • check the conditions for the orchids
  • the location is ideal
  • change if necessary
  • the plant gets enough light
  • Check watering and humidity

Once maintenance is correct, the new leaves will grow back smoothly. Once enough new leaves have grown, the damaged ones can be removed for a nice, attractive overall look. Even if the wrinkling does not damage the plant, you should react immediately, because incorrect care can also lead to other, more serious diseases.


Black Spots

If small black-brown spots appear on the leaves and stems, then this is a fungal attack on the plant, the black spot disease. This can spread quickly and go deep if action is not taken immediately after sighting. The reasons for this lie in the wrong care, the orchid was watered too often during the rest period, sprayed too often or there is too much humidity at the location overall. The following action should be taken immediately against this.

  • remove any damaged leaves
  • cut them carefully at the base
  • also cut damaged stems
  • always use disinfected, sharp tools
  • Use fungicides
  • Spread the cinnamon-water mixture on the leaves
  • Dust dark spots with charcoal powder
  • Change location if humidity is too high
  • less watering and spraying
black spots on the leaves of an orchid

The fungal infestation and further spread can be prevented in this way if too many places on the orchid were not already affected. It is therefore important to keep looking at the plant during the resting phase in order to identify possible damage to the leaves at an early stage.


Brown lumps or spots

If thick brown clumps suddenly appear on the surface of the leaves and stems of orchids, which are not just spots but a real growth, then the plant is too much in the blazing sun. The plant has sunburn, which shows through damage to the leaves. The following actions should be taken immediately against these injuries.

  • change location
  • Place with less direct sunlight
  • remove damaged leaves
  • however, these do not damage the plant
  • only the attractive appearance suffers
brown spot on an orchid leaf in the top left of the picture

Sunburn is one of the most common diseases affecting orchids and causing damage to the decorative foliage. If you don't act in time and put the plant out of the sun, it can be damaged overall by drying out and dying.

Small holes

Small holes on the leaves indicate an aphid infestation. But this can already be recognized before the leaves are damaged. Because if you look at your orchid often, you will easily recognize the small black or green pests on your plant. The plants that are usually affected are those that are in the flowering phase and where new buds are forming. Because these attract the aphids. If an infestation is detected, action must be taken immediately, because the pests also spread to other nearby plants.

  • Carefully shower the orchid with a jet of water
  • Remove aphids like this
  • Then quarantine the plant
  • check daily for new infestations
  • otherwise shower off again
  • fight with alcohol
  • Mixture of spirit, water and washing-up liquid
small holes in orchid leaves top left

During the quarantine, the orchid should be in a dry place so that the water can dry off quickly. If it is too moist, there is a risk of black spot disease from fungi, which can develop on the leaves due to too much moisture in the air.

aphid infestation

Small Nets

Small nets and silvery shine

Anyone who discovers small webs on the underside of the orchid leaves is dealing with a spider mite infestation. The pests show up first through the fine nets, the mites themselves cannot be seen with the naked eye. However, a spider mite infestation poses a great danger to the graceful orchids, as they release a substance that dissolves the cell membrane of the leaves. This allows air to enter the leaf cells, resulting in a silvery sheen. If an infestation is discovered, immediate action must be taken.

  • Wipe leaves gently with water
  • all nets must be removed
  • Spider mites do not tolerate high humidity
  • Therefore keep the orchid very moist for a short time
  • a humidifier next to the plant can help
  • alternatively water and put the bag on
  • remove them after three days
Spider mite infestation

The orchid should now be observed for further spider mites. It should also not be exposed to the increased humidity for too long, as this in turn can damage the plant in other ways. Too high humidity could lead to a fungus.

White topping

Even if powdery mildew is the first thing that comes to mind when there is a white coating on the leaves, the orchids are infested with mealybugs or mealybugs. The white spots, reminiscent of cotton wool and covering leaves, stems and buds, can be very damaging to the plant. Mealybugs are very small and hard to see, so just by showing the white fur is a massive infestation. The result is discolored, withered leaves that fall off. If such an infestation is discovered, action must be taken immediately, otherwise the pests will also spread to the other surrounding plants. The affected orchid must therefore first be separated from the other plants and placed in quarantine. Mealybugs can be combated as follows.

white coating on orchid leaves often no powdery mildew
  • A mixture of oil, washing-up liquid and water helps
  • two tablespoons of olive or canola oil
  • a liter of water
  • a squirt of dish soap
  • spray affected areas
  • or apply carefully with a brush
  • Change the substrate and clean the pot thoroughly

If after a while there are no more pests on the orchid, it can be returned to its original location.

Mealybugs and wool lice on an orchid flower

Stripe, ring, or arrow-shaped spots

If spots are found on the leaves of the graceful orchid, which are arranged in stripes, rings or even arrows, then the plant is infected with viruses. Unfortunately, viruses can hardly be treated, and the infected plant can usually no longer be saved. The reason for the penetration of viruses is usually always the use of unclean cutting tools. Therefore, each tool should be disinfected before and after use. Pure alcohol from the pharmacy or a special disinfectant from a well-stocked garden store can be used for this. If a virus is detected, immediate action must be taken.

  • Quarantine orchid immediately
  • adjacent plants could also be infected
  • Infested orchids must unfortunately be disposed of
  • don't put it in the compost
  • dispose of in a bag with household waste
Infection on the orchid leaf

If virus-infested orchids are disposed of on an existing compost heap, then the viruses can infect the entire garden via the compost as fertilizer.

dry leaves

Yellow dry leaves

If the leaves of the evergreen orchid turn yellow and fall off, this is usually not a cause for concern. Because this is a normal leaf shedding, as long as not too many leaves turn yellow. Especially in the dark season, orchids lose a leaf or two. However, if new leaves sprout at the top, then no action is required.

Yellow rotting leaves

However, caution is advised if there are many yellow leaves and no new ones are growing. Because then the orchid is most likely to suffer from stem rot. In such a case, the leaves will turn yellow and rotten from the start, since the trunk has already rotted as a whole. The cause is usually bacteria that have been transmitted with the irrigation water. Stem rot is also promoted by standing water that has settled in the heart of the orchid or the leaf axils. In such a case, the orchid can unfortunately no longer be saved and must be disposed of. However, the following can be done as a preventive measure.

yellow leaves on the orchid plant
  • pour properly
  • do not pour water into the heart of the orchid
  • moderate watering
  • Drain excess water from the planter
  • Also avoid waterlogging on the plate
  • Always choose a pot with a drainage hole
  • Lay drainage over the hole
  • only then fill in the substrate

Stem rot is a disease that can be avoided with proper care.

Dried flowers

The flowers of the orchids can also indicate a care error. If the flowers or buds have dried up and fall off, the plant is showing that it is not feeling well. The cause must be investigated here, because even if the drying up of the buds and blossoms is an optical problem, the orchids can suffer further, major damage if they are ignored. Therefore, the possible cause should be determined as follows.

dried up bud on orchid flower spike
  • Relocation due to purchase
  • no action needs to be taken against this
  • Orchid recovers by itself
  • exposed to drafts
  • Avoid open windows or heating air from below
  • lack of light
  • Brighten the orchid
  • avoid direct sunlight
  • lack of water
  • dry substrate leads to shedding of buds

The dried and falling buds and blossoms can indicate many grievances that the orchid cannot tolerate.

drooping leaves

If the leaves are hanging limp, this is a warning sign that something is wrong. But there are already signs that are announcing themselves. If soft, leathery or grooved leaves are recognized on the orchid, countermeasures should be taken immediately. As a rule, it is due to the wrong water supply that the plant lets its leaves hang limp. This can be due to too little or too much watering. The cause should be investigated here first.

lower left orchid leaf is wrinkled
  • not enough water
  • Roots conduct too little water
  • Cells of the leaves lose pressure and become soft
  • if the roots also dry up, the plant can hardly be saved
  • too much water and waterlogging
  • Roots can no longer absorb water
  • no water gets to the leaves
  • these show the same symptoms as with dryness

Therefore, if the limp leaves are discovered on the decorative plant, the roots should first be checked to see whether there has been too much or too little watering. If a few roots are already rotten, action must be taken quickly. The orchid is removed from the container and the substrate, damaged roots removed and then put back into new, dry substrate. However, the graceful plant cannot always be saved in this way. If it was too dry, you should immediately immerse it with the pot in a water bath. The damaged leaves must also be removed in each case.

Sticky Drops

Sticky drops can often be seen on the leaves and stems of the orchids. However, these are no reason to panic, orchid connoisseurs know that this is a liquid with a high sugar content that is excreted by the plant itself. However, it has not yet been possible to prove why these drops are excreted. However, it is suspected that some orchid varieties react to temperature differences between night and day with the elimination. The sticky drops can be dealt with as follows.

sticky drops on the orchid flower spike
  • the drops are very difficult to remove
  • with a cloth and lukewarm water
  • it will not harm the plant if left untreated

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