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Limp leaves on orchids, what to do? Diving in sugar water and other tricks that help

If the orchids turn yellow, limp leaves, then it is a sign of incorrect water supply. It is first noticeable on the leaves, as they react most quickly to deficiency or over-supply. Then it is important to act quickly, otherwise the exotic will drop its leaves and may die. But what can help? For other plants, watering with sugar water has a refreshing effect. Can a dip with sugar also save the popular houseplant? We explain in which cases this makes sense and when such an immersion bath can be harmful.

Limp leaves and dry aerial roots: the orchid was watered incorrectly or too little

Limp leaves on orchids wrong watering

If the orchid has dry, ashy aerial roots and limp, soft leaves, then it may be due to incorrect watering. New plants can dry out during transport, and it may be that the new orchid is in desperate need of a dip. However, if you have the orchid for an extended period of time and notice that it is not forming flowers, the leaves are becoming soft and floppy, and the aerial roots are turning gray and shriveled, then ask yourself if you have made one of the following watering mistakes.

Common watering mistakes: how to save the plant.

  • Did you water the orchid or submerge it in water? It is much better to submerge the orchid in water. But this should be done only when the substrate dries.
  • Did you submerge the entire pot in water? A common mistake when immersing: you should immerse the entire pot in water, not just the bottom. This is the only way for the roots to become fully soaked.
  • Did you drain the orchid after the dip? There should be no standing water left in the saucer, as this will cause rot to form. With rot, the leaves also become soft and droopy because the roots die and can no longer absorb water. With rot, pests can also infest the plant or mold the substrate.
  • Did you water the orchid in the evening? In the evening is not a good time for a dip. Much better is to wait until the weekend and dip the orchid in the morning.

The first step is always to check the orchid for signs of mold and for pests. If these are ruled out, the substrate and root balls are dry, then you can use sugar water.

Sugar water as a first aid for water shortage?

Limp leaves on orchids what to do how to save the plant

In the case of water shortage, the exotic saved the water for the roots, and the above-ground parts of the plant were hardly supplied with water. Withered flower buds and limp, yellow leaves are the result. The situation is further complicated by the fact that indoor humidity is often below 40%. This means that even the aerial roots cannot absorb moisture through the air and become ashy gray and dry out.

A dip in sugar water can help. Fill the bathroom sink with lukewarm, decalcified water and add a teaspoon of sugar to the water. Stir gently until the sugar dissolves completely. Carefully loosen the root balls from the substrate. Cut off completely dried roots – they will not recover and may rot. Also cut off any flower buds, the orchid will need the water for roots and leaves.

Then submerge the root balls in water and wait about 20 minutes for them to soak. Then rinse the root balls with lukewarm water without sugar and then plant them in new substrate. Fertilizing can be completely omitted for the next two weeks.

After about a week, you can again immerse the orchid in the decalcified water, including the pot and substrate.

By the way, when it comes to immersion with sugar water, opinions differ: some amateur gardeners swear by it, others see no benefit and more damage. Supposedly, the sugar water promotes rotting and attracts pests. But of course, this also depends on the location and substrate.

Limp leaves: other tricks that help

Orchids have limp leaves what to do

In addition to the sugar water dip, other tricks can help with soft leaves. For example:

  • Change the location. Orchids do not like temperature fluctuations. So if you keep them in the living room, where you heat during the day, but then no heating in the evening, then the plant can quickly become limp leaves.
  • Water the orchids with rainwater or soak them in rainwater.
  • If the humidity is low, place damp river stones in the saucer. They will gradually release water into the air and the aerial roots can then absorb it.
  • Repot the orchids, cutting off the dry aerial roots and roots.
  • Attach the plants to a tree trunk (the so-called untying).