Why Orchid Leaves Turning Red? Causes And Treatment (Guide)

A healthy orchid is characterized by light green leaves, which may have a slight red tint. If there is not enough light, the color of the leaves changes to dark green with an emerald hue. If it is excessive, the color becomes reddish.

Faced with the problem of changing the color of the leaves like orchid leaves turning red, they determine the cause: natural – genetic predisposition, improper care, pests, or diseases. Follow the simple steps to resolve the issue below.

orchid leaves turning red

Why are my orchid leaves red?

The leaves may turn red due to the genetic predisposition of the species. Florists note that Phalaenopsis with green leaves can grow a dark red, brown-burgundy peduncle. This situation is explained by genes.

The color of the leaves, depending on the variety and genetics of the orchid, is marble: light green on dark green, white on green, red on green, yellow on green.

Are you facing problem of Orchid Leaves Splitting Down The Middle.

Why My Orchid Leaves Turning Red?

When changing the color of orchid leaves, first of all, they check compliance with the rules of care. So, under the influence of direct sunlight, burns appear, which are characterized by the reddening of the leaves. This is because the leaf produces a protective red pigment to prevent scorching.

For reference! With sunburn, yellow spots may appear on the leaves .

The orchid is shaded from direct sunlight with blinds and a sheet of paper. The sun is especially dangerous in the spring when the orchid is no longer artificially illuminated, but exposed under the sun. During such a transitional period, the window should be shaded, for example, with tulle. Orchid is fed to strengthen immunity. The lack of phosphorus is also one of the possible reasons for the red color of the leaves.

For reference! The orchid is rearranged to another place if the change in color is followed by the death of tissues. This indicates a burn. However, if the leaves do not curl, do not lose turgor, the plant blooms, then this is a natural color.  

Before the actual burn, the leaves are deep red to inky black. Found most commonly on Cattleyas, which are prone to red leaf pigmentation. There are varieties that do not bloom without first darkening the leaves. In this case, a change in color indicates sufficient lighting.

In low light, the leaves stretch and become light green. The orchid is weakening. This state of the plant is ideal for the appearance of pests and diseases.

fungal Diseases are main cause of Orchid Leaves Turning Red

One of the symptoms of fungal diseases may be the acquisition of leaves of a red-brown hue. The difference from an ultraviolet burn is the presence of small specks that eventually combine to form large spots.

Anthracnose is a disease caused by a fungus. It manifests itself with high humidity and the accumulation of fluid in the axils of the leaves. Inspect the lower part of the leaf, shoots for spots. They will be with a dry, often cracked to holes, core, and a clearly visible border around the edges. The color of the border will be dark pink and lilac. The disease sometimes affects pseudobulbs. Over time, the spots increase, become depressed, a yellowish or pinkish coating appears.

Brown rot is characterized by dark brown spots, but depending on the original color of the leaves, the spots may have a red tint. The affected areas soften and die. If the lesions are minor, the orchid can be helped. Otherwise, it remains discarded the plant.

Orchid leaves turned red due to Pest attack

The orchid reacts to a lack of nutrients by reddening of the leaves. However, the reason may be hidden in the presence of pests, which, damage the roots, trunk, and leaves, and do not allow nutrients to reach the plant cells from the substrate.

The presence of a spider mite is manifested by a silvery coating on the reverse side of the leaf plate. The color gradually changes to red-brown. The spider mite enters the room and settles on orchids from an open window, is brought in with potted indoor roses. The pest loves dry warm air.

An atypical, but possible symptom of the appearance of a scale insect is small red dot spots that change color to brown or black.

Is your Orchid Leaves Turning Black?

What to do if Orchid Leaves Turning Red? Treatment

There are varieties of orchids with red shades of leaves: Ludisia, Phalaenopsis Schiller. In this case, the red color is natural, and nothing needs to be done.

In order to avoid burns, diffused lighting is organized, and the pot, if possible, is placed on the western window. Some types of orchids are placed under the direct sun in the morning and evening hours when the sun’s rays are not aggressive.

If the redness of the leaves is caused by pests or diseases, chemicals are used. Processing is carried out on the balcony or on the street, personal protective equipment is used: a mask and gloves. After the procedure, the face and hands are thoroughly washed.

treatment for orchid leaves turning red

Treatment of diseases

If there are suspicions of diseases and/or pests, the orchid is isolated from other indoor flowers. The plant is carefully removed from the flowerpot, the roots are immersed in lukewarm water. With the help of tweezers or hands, pieces of bark and other components of the substrate are taken out of the roots. Next, the rotten parts of the orchid are cut with sterile instruments, the sections are sprinkled with cinnamon, activated or charcoal.

Important! In the treatment of anthracnose, treatment with a systemic fungicide is required. This guarantees the neutralization of fungi in the depths of the tissues.

After all the procedures, the plant is transplanted into a new pot, the soil is changed. The container for the orchid is taken transparent, with smooth walls. Be sure to have drainage holes. In almost all varieties of orchids, the roots are involved in photosynthesis, so light access to them is necessary. The volume of the pot is selected according to the size of the root system. The plant is not left much freedom, the flower loves a cramped room. The soil is used special, for orchids. Collect yourself or buy in the store. Watering after recovery is reduced, and the orchid is not fed.

Getting rid of pests

From spider mites, acaricides or insectoacaricides are used. The orchid is transferred to the street or balcony, and sprayed with a solution. Use gloves and a mask, and remove people and pets from the premises. A plastic bag is put on the plant, and left for several days. During the day, a homemade greenhouse is ventilated for 10-15 minutes. Processing is carried out with an interval of 3-5 days, at least 3 times.

Note! The spider mite is dangerous because it feeds on plant sap and is the cause of bacterial, fungal and viral infections.

Scale insects and false scale insects parasitize on twigs or trunks of a plant and live on the back side of a leaf. It feeds on orchid juice, releasing a sticky substance on which a soot fungus forms. The fungus spreads throughout the plant, clogging the pores, thereby preventing the orchid from breathing. The plant withers and its condition worsens.

A sign of the appearance of a scab is sticky spots on the leaves. Females lay well-protected eggs. Young individuals spread throughout the orchid, feed on the juices of the plant, and look for a place of attachment. As a result, the orchid turns yellow, the leaves fall off.

When a plant is damaged, before being treated with chemicals, it is cleaned of scale insects and false scale insects. Use tweezers, cotton swabs, and a toothpick. Inspect the axils of the leaves, their reverse side, stem, and buds. Carefully, with the help of tools, individuals are removed.

Note! Be sure to sterilize instruments before use. Thus, in case of accidental damage to the plant, an infection will not be introduced.

When all individuals have been removed, the soil is watered with a systemic insecticide of contact-intestinal action. Orchid juice becomes poisonous, and the scale insect that feeds on it dies.

Advice! They also process a pot, a window sill where an orchid stands.

The treatment is repeated twice with an interval of 15 days. When all individuals have died, you can clean the plant from “cocoons” with a toothbrush.

Solution to Orchid Leaves Curling.

How to prevent orchid leaves turning reddish?

prevent orchid leaves turning reddish

The first rule that will prevent problems with orchids and other indoor plants: a freshly bought flower is quarantined. For a period of 1 month, the pot with the plant is isolated from other flowers. For the first 2 days the orchid is placed in a cool dark place. This prevents excessive stress. At the end of quarantine, the plant is transplanted into a fresh substrate. The pot is left the same (if it meets the above characteristics), but sterilized before filling the new soil.

Note! When transporting an orchid in cold and / or windy weather, the plant must be carefully packed in cellophane, paper, which is not removed for 1-2 hours after delivery to the destination. This is done to reduce stress and the risk of hypothermia.

Preventive measures are to create favorable conditions for the growth and development of orchids in accordance with its variety. The location is chosen western. If it is not possible to place a flower on the western window, then:

  1. On the north side, the orchid needs artificial lighting. Light day for all varieties should be at least 10 hours.
  2. On the south window, the flower must be shaded.

To strengthen the immune system, plants are treated with purchased preparations and homemade products. From home solutions, garlic water, and succinic acid has good reviews. To prepare the solution, take 1 clove of garlic, grind it, pour cold water in an amount of 1 liter, and leave for a day in a warm place. To enhance the effect, 1 tablet of succinic acid is added to the solution, which is previously dissolved in hot water. Mineral fertilizers are also applied.

Note! A healthy plant does not need to be fed. Fertilize a weakened, diseased orchid. The plant is fed during the period of active vegetative growth, in the first week after flowering. Before feeding, the flower is watered so as not to burn the roots.

For the prevention of brown rot and anthracosis, biological fungicides are used. In addition, it is recommended to treat the flower with copper sulfate once a month. Avoid mechanical damage to the roots, leaves, and buds, which can be penetrated by infection, or fungus. If the substrate was collected in nature, it is calcined before use. Often the bark, and moss, brought from the street contains fungi and insects.

To avoid rot and anthracnose, the orchid is watered only when the soil is completely dry. A wooden stick is used to check the condition of the substrate. It is placed at a depth of 2-3 cm. Then they take it out and see if it is dry or wet. Water when the stick is dry.

Important! Self-assembled soil components are sterilized at elevated temperatures, since anthracnose can withstand negative temperatures.

When watering, orchids avoid getting water on flowers and buds. The axils of the leaves are blotted with a dry cloth, the pot is left in the bathroom to drain excess liquid.

To prevent the appearance of spider mites, the air must be periodically humidified. Humidifiers are used, a container with water or wet expanded clay is placed next to the orchid. The plant is watered with a warm shower, and sprayed regularly. Orchids love fresh air, but ticks don’t. Therefore, it is important to carry out regular ventilation, while protecting the orchid from drafts.

Important! If the substrate elements were collected from nature, they are sterilized at high temperatures. An oven is used for this purpose. The bark can be boiled, left to dry completely, and soaked for 2 days before use.

To prevent the appearance of pests and diseases, the plant is periodically inspected. Pay attention to the roots (well, if the pot is transparent and the root system is visible). Examine the axils of the leaves and their reverse side. If there are even minor deviations, action should be taken. Often the plant cannot be saved due to the fact that the disease has developed too much.


The problem of orchid leaves turning red occurs for a number of reasons. Some (genetic predisposition of the species, color characteristics) do not need to be adjusted: the plant is absolutely healthy. However, a red tint can also signal that natural light is too aggressive. In this case, the orchid pot is moved to another window sill (ideally, the western one), and the window is shaded.

With an excess of moisture, orchid leaves become covered with dark brown spots, which are red in the initial stages. This is how brown rot appears. Damaged parts are removed, and the soil is changed.

When growing orchids, homemade dressings, and purchased preparations are used. The main thing is not to overfeed, so as not to burn the roots.

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 admin@houseplantspro.com and Facebook and explore more at Houseplantspro. 🌿🪴