Orchids are some of the most beautiful and delicate flowers on the planet. They have long been associated with love, luxury, and sophistication, and are a popular choice for gift-giving and décor. However, keeping an orchid alive and healthy can be a challenge, especially if it has been neglected or damaged in some way.
If you have an orchid that has seen better days, one that is wilting, yellowing, or on the brink of death, do not despair. In this article, we will take you through the steps on how to bring an orchid back to life, reviving it to its full glory.
How to Identify Signs of an Unhealthy Orchid
The first step in reviving an orchid is identifying the signs of an unhealthy plant. Wilting, yellowing, or drying leaves are usually the first indicators of your orchids’ ill health. The physical appearance of the orchid leaves gives insight into diagnosing the problem. The following are some of the reasons why an orchid might have wilting or yellowing leaves:
Overwatering: Overwatering is the most common mistake most gardeners make with orchids. If the leaves are turning yellow and becoming soft, this could be due to overwatering. To fix it, cut back on watering, and allow the plant to dry out a bit before watering again.
Underwatering: Insufficient watering can also cause your orchids’ leaves to wilt or become yellow. Water your orchids thoroughly, but do not leave them in standing water.
Bacterial or fungal infection: Sometimes, orchids fall prey to bacterial or fungal infections, leaving the leaves wilted and yellow. If this is the case, it is essential to cut off any diseased parts to prevent the problem from spreading throughout the plant.
Checking the Roots for Rot or Decay
It is essential to check your orchids’ roots to ensure they are healthy. Root rot is one of the most common culprits for an ailing orchid. When the roots are rotting or decaying, usually due to overwatering, the plant will wilt, and the leaves turn yellow.
The first step in checking the roots is to remove the orchid from its pot. Look for signs of decay or rot in the roots, such as black, mushy, or squishy roots. Healthy orchid roots are firm, light in color, or white.
If you find any decaying roots, cut them off using sterilized scissors and replant the orchid, using a well-draining soil mix to avoid overwatering.
How to Revive an Orchid: Pro Tips
Once you have identified the issues, the next step is to adjust the orchid lighting, water, and humidity levels to revive your plant. Here are some tips to help:
Light: Orchids love bright, indirect light. Place your orchid near a window or use grow lights to provide moderate or bright light to help it thrive.
Water: Proper watering is crucial to the survival of your orchid. Depending on your plant’s species, you may water it weekly or biweekly, only when the top layer of soil or substrate feels dry. Water it thoroughly, ensuring that the water drains well to prevent root rot.
Humidity: Most orchids require humidity levels between 50% and 70%. You can increase humidity by using a humidifier, a pebble tray, or by grouping orchids together.
Repotting and Fertilizing Your Orchid
Orchids require repotting every few years. If your plant has been struggling, consider repotting it in fresh, high-quality growing media with good drainage. Be careful not to damage the roots during repotting, and avoid burying the base of the stem or the pseudobulbs.
Fertilizing your orchids can also help revive them. Use a high-quality orchid fertilizer with balanced nutrient ratios, and apply it according to the instructions. Fertilize once every two weeks.
Orchid Care Maintenance: Keeping Your Orchid Healthy
The best way to ensure your orchid stays healthy after reviving it is by providing it with proper care. Inspect the orchids regularly, looking for signs of pests or diseases, and take action if you notice them. Replace potting mix regularly, and provide proper lighting, water, and humidity as required.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Caring for Your Orchid
Avoid common mistakes that can damage or kill your orchid, including overwatering, insufficient water, poor lighting, extreme temperature changes, and using poor-quality potting media. Also, avoid disturbing orchids during their dormancy period, when they may lose leaves, appear wilted, or look dead.
Bringing an orchid back to life requires patience and consistency in providing the right care. By identifying the issues and practicing proper care, you can give your plant a second chance, and in time, it could bloom once again, providing you with beauty and elegance. Remember to water your orchids correctly, use high-quality potting media, and provide the right amount of light and humidity. With these steps, you will have a gorgeous, healthy orchid to enjoy for many years to come.