Phalaenopsis Orchid Problem

by Rhoda
(NJ, United States)


My Phalaenopsis orchid has wilted, lost its blooms, and the center extension that they were attached to, is also drying up. One of its leaves at this present time is also turning yellow and this all has taken place over 10 days.

I thought I was doing a good job in care, but there were 4 days when it got moved to a less bright area and I did not notice that it was closer to an air cond. duct than it should have been, thus less humidity.

Is this plant salvageable? If so, what can I do?



Hi Rhoda,

Thank you so much for visiting my site.

First of all, do not be overly concerned by the sudden dropping of Phalaenopsis blooms. This is the time of year that Phalaenopsis orchids drop their blooms and begin their growth season. They will spike again in early fall.

Phalaeanopsis orchids bloom in the spring, grow leaves in the summer, and grow spikes in the fall. After these orchids bloom, the spike should be cut back. This is usually indicated by the plant as the spike turns brown.

On most Phalaenopsis orchids the spike will turn brown and dry up after it is finished bearing flowers. There are two options:

The first option is to cut the spike above a node on the stem, allowing the orchid to rebloom again as
a branch off the existing spike.

The second option is to cut the flower spike off at the base after the flowers drop. Blooms take energy from the plant, so removing the spike entirely allows the orchid save its energy to produce large stunning blooms in the future.

Allowing the spike to branch might result in more blooms; however, the extra energy needed from the plant might result in smaller blooms.

If you have a large orchid with a large root system, you might consider allowing the plant to branch off from the existing spike. If your Phalaenopsis is younger or smaller, you should cut the stem at the base, which will allow the plant to gain strength and conserve energy.

Regarding the yellow leaf:

The solution to this problem depends on which leaves are involved. The yellowing of old leaves is a normal part of the aging process. If this is the case with your orchid, it should not be a concern.

However, yellowing of newer leaves is a sign of trouble. This could be an indication that the orchid is suffering from either insufficient lighting or feeding. Move the orchid to a location with that receives bright light (probably the original location), and apply orchid food (nutrients).

Other causes of yellow orchid leaves include loss of roots and plant stress due to low temperatures.

Good luck with your orchid!

Warmest Regards,


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May 23, 2012
by: Anonymous

Thank you for taking time to answer re: Phala orchids...I did take your advice and cut the brown stem at the base just above the notch to help conserve energy for the plant, as I was cutting I noticed bean shaped shoots at the base of the plant growing out of the pot . Are these the roots? Do I need to repot the orchid into a bigger pot? Please help, or email me at

Thank you.

Apr 18, 2012
by: Gaz

Great advice!

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