Why is My Orchid Wilting? What To Do!

Dense, slick, and lustrous leaves characterize an orchid that is well-developed and healthy. Phalaenopsis can, however, suffer from severe leaf or bud wilting, which jeopardizes its survival.

On your orchid, wrinkly and limp leaves are a sign of stress. Overwatering, extreme cold or heat, an outdated or inappropriate growing medium, or even rot may be blamed for this. Each situation has a diagnosis that you must learn to make as well as a fix.

Continue reading for tips on how to read the symptoms, diagnose the issue, and revitalize your orchids back to their previous glory. A few potential causes could result in your orchid’s leaves becoming limp and wrinkled.

What Causes Orchid Leaves To Wilt?


Orchids are susceptible to underwater in the same way that we are. Your orchid’s leaves will become withering, wrinkled, and droopy if the moss or bark mix is left too dry for an extended period.

Given that the plant’s lower leaves will fall first, you ought to be able to recognize underwatering quite early on. The entire system will eventually wilt if there is a sustained lack of water.

Why is My Orchid Wilting? What To Do!

What To Do

Simply do the following if your orchid is only exhibiting a few signs of underwatering and you only see tiny portions of its roots that are dry:

Give your plant a 20-minute soak in dechlorinated water. Ascertain that the water is at room temperature.

Before putting the container back in the saucer, make sure it is thoroughly drained.

Don’t put water in the saucer if you want to give your orchid some more air humidity. The roots of orchids dislike being sopped in water. Instead, place a giant saucer underneath the one in the container and fill it.

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Inappropriate Temperature

Despite being a tropical flower, an orchid can be dangerous in cold and high temperatures.

If you put an orchid in your window throughout the year, the shaded glass may become warm at midday on a hot day. If a plant’s leaves are exposed to such intense heat, the soil will heat up, and evaporation will start in the bloom container.

The Phalaenopsis plant’s rhizome will start to cool down if it doesn’t get enough moisture. The evaporation will absorb the substrate’s heat.

What To Do

Take the following actions in this situation:

It’s ideal to leave it in the space for at least a few hours to give the plant’s leaf plates and roots time to steadily acclimate to the environment.

When the orchid has completely cooled down, spritz it with water, clean the leaves with a damp towel, and, if the soil is too dry, lightly water it.

Select a place for the plant that prevents overheating and subsequent death.

You can irrigate your plants with items that lessen plant stress (such as Epin or succinic acid).

Low winter temperatures can make the leaves of orchids sluggish. The leaf plates loosen and develop a rag-like feel as opposed to withering.


On the other side, root rot will occur if you overwater the potting medium for your orchid.

You are also drying your plant, which will lead to droopy, wrinkled leaves as the orchid roots begin to decay because they can no longer absorb water through their roots. When you put it in this light, it makes logic, right?

What To Do

If the majority of the roots of your plant have rotted out, you will have to clean them up and repot your orchid. There’s a good chance that a smaller pot will have to be used. You can leave it in the same-sized pot if it is already in a smaller one, such as a 3.5 or 4-inch pot.

Root System Disease

The rootstock of the orchid is the most delicate portion of the plant, so it must be handled with the utmost care. Despite your best efforts, if the plant still drops its wilting leaves, a root issue must be addressed.

Phalaenopsis is a tough plant, nevertheless. It may literally “revive” with only 5 cm of fertile roots remaining. There is hope where there is green! That is my experience and belief.

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Even when no roots exist, a flower can survive and grow with the appropriate plan.

What To Do

Wilting and deformed leaves could indicate that the rhizome is deficient in calcium and phosphorus. If the plant in the pot trembles, like a toothache, this means the roots are ill, and you need to do anything about it: 

  • Examine the orchid’s roots after removing them from the pot.
  • All rotting, dry, and mucus-covered components should be removed using a sterilized pruning shear.
  • Cleaning the cut regions should be done with an antiseptic solution free of alcohol.
  • Use no fertilizer while the orchid is recuperating.
  • Use extra caution when fertilizing Phalaenopsis to prevent the withering of the plant’s leaf plates.

Cold Draft

This component is closely related to temperature variations. The orchid is extremely sensitive to temperature changes because it is a tropical plant.

Keep your orchid out of drafts to prevent the rhizome from rotting and the leaf plates from withering.

What To Do

Orchids are pretty susceptible to changing environments, so be sure you understand how to care for them. When you purchase an orchid from a flower shop or center, you put it in a brand-new environment that may affect how healthy it is.

Do Droopy Orchid Leaves Need To Be Removed?

Droopy orchid leaves don’t need to be taken off. Because, as we’ve already indicated, there are still ways to restore your orchid’s limp leaves to their previous healthy state, depending on the underlying cause. Droopy orchid leaves only need to be removed if they have a bacterial or fungal infestation.

Are There the Same Causes For Soft Orchid Leaves?

Yes. The leading cause of your orchid’s leaves drooping and becoming flimsy is that the foliage doesn’t have complete access to water. And this occurs either as a result of soil drying out or infections that harm the root system. Similar causes apply to both.

When Should You Repot An Orchid?

There are two approaches to transplant orchids: proactively and ad hoc. Simple planting requirements include replacing compacted, salty soil every two to three years after flowering. In the case of disease and plant destruction, it is an emergency.

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Will Wilting Orchid Leaves Grow Back?

Why is My Orchid Wilting? What To Do!

Yes. Wilting orchid leaves can still be recovered. That, however, will rely on what the issue is. Your prospects of restoring your wilted orchid leaves to their original health are excellent if all that happened was for them to just submerge. On the other hand, if the root rot is severe, your plant may be dead.

In our experience, recovering droopy orchid leaves from underwatering is considerably simpler than retrieving them from overwatering.

Your plant may not survive if the root system has suffered significant harm. But if the foliage has indeed dropped and withered, it won’t revive even if the roots are still healthy.

Wilting Orchid Leaves Following Transplant

A frequent query on orchid communities is, “I transplanted an orchid, and it wilts!” Why is this taking place? Inadequate root trimming and care, inappropriate substrate composition, and inadequate flower pot size all impact the turgidity of the leaves.

Because the orchid’s root system isn’t functioning correctly, it removes minerals from the leaf mass, making the leaves less elastic. The most frequent cause of issues for flower gardeners is picking the incorrect container.

The roots aren’t getting enough oxygen, which impacts the leaves. Large pots may cause the free substrate to become acidified, which could affect plant problems with their roots and leaves.

Can I Fertilize Wilting Orchid Leaves?

It’s best to fertilize a plant just when it is getting bigger. We heartily recommend the fertilizer listed below if you need one for orchids.

Both the amount of fertilizer used and the regularity of applications need to be decreased while the plant is in its resting stage.

You should cease fertilizing your orchid if it isn’t growing correctly despite your efforts, especially if the leaves are getting dark green, drooping, or brown at the tips.

This can point to a fertilization issue. You can be using a potent fertilizer or fertilizing too frequently.

What Nutritional Deficits Lead to Wilting?

Nutrient deficiencies frequently result in limp, lackluster, or wilting leaves. Most often, a potassium and phosphorus deficit is at blame. Lack of cobalt, iron, magnesium, sulfur, etc., can also impact the state of the leaf plates. As a result, based on my observations, I usually advise utilizing compound fertilizers to provide additional nourishment for orchids.

Final Remarks

The first sign of a root system issue is withering leaves, so you should be mindful of this. The only way to conserve the tropical plant is through immediate action. When leaf withering occurs, check the maintenance conditions to see if root damage is the culprit.