All Orchid Leaf Diseases: Identify, Treatment, Care

orchid leaf diseases

Orchids are characterized by strong adaptability and due to this, in most cases, they turn out to be hardy and not too capricious plants.

However, a systematic violation of normal conditions of detention, care errors and negligence can cause orchid leaf diseases and loss of decorativeness, the appearance of pests, illness, and even death of the plant.

Below you can read about the main diseases and problems with the leaves (photos and videos will help determine the diagnosis).

main orchid leaf diseases and methods of treatment

In monopodial orchids, the main storage organ is the leaves. This is where the plant stores water, energy, and nutrients. Thus, any problems with the leaves signal a more serious problem than it might seem at first glance.

orchid leaf turn yellow

Most often this orchid leaf disease is due to insufficient watering and keeping the plant too dry. Also, the cause may be too bright lighting, leading to burns, an overabundance of nutrients, or certain problems with the root system. Often the leaves turn yellow due to lack of moisture.

orchid leaf Wither

At high ( more than 27-28 ° C ) temperatures, tropical orchids experience shock and begin to actively evaporate moisture in an attempt to cool. Thus, the leaves lose turgor, shrivel and look lethargic. Lack of watering and moisture also applies to this.

Somewhat less commonly, the disease can be the cause of wilting, such as soft bacterial rot or tracheomycosis wilt.

orchid leaves have Spots

Transparent Spots On Orchids Leaves

They are a symptom of a disease or pest invasion. First, you need to determine the nature of the spots for accurate diagnosis and recommendations. Because it could be:

  • black bacterial spot;
  • alternariosis;
  • moniliosis;
  • burns;
  • bacterial cancer and many others.

Attention! It is obvious that for proper treatment, it is first necessary to establish the root cause of the present situation. And only then start taking action. Incorrect use of any drugs for the purpose of treatment can lead to serious complications.

Complete guide on Spots On Orchid Leaves.

Why are my orchid leaves soft?

The normal state of all orchid organs is elasticity and sufficient rigidity to maintain shape and position. Softening, lethargy, and the appearance of folds can be regarded as a deviation and called a symptom.

The cause of this symptom ranges from lack of watering or overheating to lack of roots and severe diseases caused by fungi. Actually, it is installed directly on the spot, based on the conditions in which the plants are located and a visual assessment of its condition.

After the diagnosis is established, the orchid is determined by the method of how to treat (you can see a photo of such soft leaves below).

Leaf lethargy is a deviation from the normal state.

treatment for soft Orchid Leaves

After the cause of the deviation is established, actions to correct it begin. In most cases, it is enough to water the plant abundantly, soaking it in a basin for 20 minutes.

However, this applies only to those orchids that have complete order with the roots. If this is not the case, it is required to perform a transplant, start treatment, or resuscitation.

Orchid leaves Lost turgor

Turgor depends on the internal osmotic pressure in the cell, the external osmotic pressure, and the elasticity of the cell membrane. Thus, the loss of turgor speaks of dehydration. Accordingly, replenishment of moisture reserves corrects the problem. Check the detailed guide on Orchid Leaves Wrinkled And Limp.

Dry Orchid leaves

dry orchid leaves

Drying is the life phase of a leaf before its final shedding. The plant can dry off excess foliage, using the moisture accumulated in them, if for some reason water does not reach the plant.

Sometimes they can dry out from sunburn or disease.

Attention! It must also be remembered that aging, yellowing, drying and shedding of the lower foliage are a natural process of growth and vital activity of orchids, including deciduous species.

treatment for orchid dry leaves

First, you need to establish the cause. As a rule, normalization of care and conditions of detention stops the drying process. Already dry areas must be removed from the leaves. Dry patches of leaves should be removed.

Causes of leaf pathologies

Orchid leaves are a kind of indicator of the state of health of the plant. As soon as some kind of disease begins to develop, the leaves, first of all, react to this. Orchids have a lot of diseases. All of them can be divided into four main types according to pathogens and features of the course of the disease:

  • diseases caused by non-infectious means;
  • infectious;
  • bacterial;
  • viral.

The first group includes diseases that are caused by improper care of the plant.

Different Burns on Orchid Leaves

different burns on orchid leaves

orchid leaf diseases due to low temperature

If the orchid has been exposed to low temperatures for a long time, then the leaves of the damaged plant become covered with dark spots. The treatment process boils down to the fact that the affected areas of the leaves must be cut off and the edges treated with disinfectants.

And then return it to the usual conditions of life to light and heat. 

Thermal burns of Orchid leaves

Dry spots on the leaves indicate damage to the plant by direct sunlight or the plant being in a room with a high temperature for a long time without access to cool air. If the damage is significant, it is better to cut them off.

If the spots are small, then you can save the leaves with frequent spraying with water.

Chemical burns

Burns of this type appear as a result of frequent use of top dressing, excess doses or the use of inappropriate fertilizers. The plant loses its appearance and begins to wither. A transplant into a new soil that matches the type of orchid can help.

It turns out that non-communicable diseases arise only because of negligence and improper care of the flower.

Infectious leaf diseases

Infectious diseases of orchids are the second most common in orchids. 

The causative agents of diseases are fungi of various kinds.

Fungal diseases in orchids develop from strong and regular waterlogging of the soil, the lack of free air movement in the room. The disease progresses very quickly, especially if the living conditions of the plant do not change.

Rot begins to spread in the root system, which gradually passes to the stems and leaves. In the future, if action is not taken, the orchid dies.

Diseases caused by fungal infections develop a little more slowly, but cause more damage to the orchid, since the effects of toxins released from fungi are detrimental to the plant.

Bacterial diseases

The bacterial type of diseases arises from the presence of plant pests that settle on the leaves, in the soil of the plant, flowers or root system, stagnation of air and a humid environment.

Bacteria penetrate the plant through damaged areas of the flower with a weakened immune system. They disrupt the water and nutritional balance of the flower system, and therefore leaf necrosis develops and captures an increasing area.

Diseases of the bacterial type violate the integrity of the plant tissues of the flower, cause an unpleasant smell of rot or dampness, and wateriness appears. The progress of the disease is fast.

Symptoms of a bacterial disease are gray to dark brown spots on the leaves.

Viral leaf diseases

Viral diseases are quite rare, however, they are the most dangerous for the life of a flower.

If a viral disease is detected, it is recommended to destroy the plant, as there is a high risk of infection of neighboring flowers.

To determine the presence of a virus in an orchid, it is necessary to do special tests in the laboratory.

Orchids infected with viruses do not recover even after preventive treatment, since the virus is not completely destroyed, but falls asleep, and then manifests itself again. As a result, the orchid dies in most cases.

A viral disease manifests itself in the form of spots on the outside of a leaf or stem. Orchids that have weakened immunity are exposed to viral infection.

The most common viral diseases in a flower:

  • cymbidium mosaic virus;
  • viral spotting;
  • circular mosaic virus;

The mosaic is characterized by bright and pronounced stripes or spots on the leaves. Then, the affected areas die off, becoming dark brown with a touch of black. The flowers become smaller, and then the peduncle disappears altogether. Also, the mosaic manifests itself in the form of deformation of the sheet plate, the appearance of mottling.


In fact, orchids can have a huge number of problems with foliage, and each of them must be discussed separately. The easiest way is to follow the rules of cultivating plants, care for them and maintain their health. Then problems simply will not arise. Grow wisely and enjoy your orchids.

I am an avid plant enthusiast and horticulture aficionado with a deep passion for houseplants. With years of nurturing green companions, my expertise in caring for indoor foliage is well-rooted. Through my journey, I've cultivated insights into optimal plant care, propagation techniques, and creating vibrant indoor ecosystems. Join me as we explore the verdant world of houseplants together. Let's turn your living space into a thriving oasis of botanical beauty. Connect with me on and Facebook and explore more at Houseplantspro. 🌿🪴