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Sticky leaves on orchids – are they harmful? Possible causes and what you can do about it

Your problem child, the orchid has once again a problem and you do not know how to help? If this problem is that the orchid leaves stick, this does not necessarily have to be a cause for particular concern. Because not always a disease or a pest infestation is the cause, but a normal process of the plant, but you can and should stop. But why do orchids have sticky leaves and what can you do? We explain in which cases sticky leaves occur in orchids and why it is important to prevent the leakage of liquid.

Sticky leaves on orchids are completely normal

Sticky leaves on orchids - Where do the drops come from?

Whether you’ve noticed sticky drops on orchid leaves, flowers or flower sprouts, when orchids get sticky, it’s no reason to panic at first. “Resinification” is what it’s called. But why does it happen?

What is the best thing to do about the leakage of the sap from the plant

It’s a natural process of many plants to release moisture into the air. In the process, droplets form. If the sugar content of the plant is very high, as is the case with the Phalaenopsis, for example, these droplets are just sticky. Especially the edges of the leaves are affected by this process. However, orchids can also get sticky flower shoots, while in the case of a pest infestation, the undersides of the leaves are sticky.

My orchids have sticky leaves – Why does the plant do this?

Sticky leaves on orchids and flowers - Too much water or wrong location.

There are several theories that try to explain this process of the plant. The following could cause sticky orchid leaves:

  • The plant has stress. Just as stress can cause us humans to sweat more, so do plants. Have you noticed the droplets in the fall or winter? Then larger temperature fluctuations could be the reason. The orchid does not like them, so the difference between day and night should not exceed 5 degrees. In general, an unfavorable location is a great stress factor for the plant. Thus, drafts can also cause fluid excretion, as well as dryness and too hot environment.

Waterlogging leads to resinification of the plant


  • Your orchid is too wet. Waterlogging does not agree at all with the Phalaenopsis as well as the other orchid species. This applies not only to too much water in the substrate, but also to too much humidity. The flower can no longer transpire properly, but to ensure the healthy exchange nevertheless, it just presses water through the stomata of the leaf, so to speak, as a compensation and to get rid of the excess.
  • It is infested with aphids. In this case, not the orchid itself secretes the liquid, but the aphids injure the undersides of the leaves to get to this very juice. After eating it, they excrete it again and this causes sticky leaf undersides on orchids. Scale insects also cause sticky plant parts.

What to do about sticky orchid leaves?

Sticky leaves on orchids are not the result of disease

If your orchids have sticky leaves – what is the best thing to do? Even if the sweet droplets of water do not harm the plant itself, you should try to identify the cause and naturally act against it. Only in this way can the flower stop excreting in the first place. On the one hand, this is important to stop the stress so that it remains healthy. On the other hand, only then can you prevent any future problems. Because a weak plant will sooner or later also get sick. Here’s what you can do, depending on the cause:

Wipe or rinse off.

Wipe off sticky leaves on orchids to remove liquid


Surely you have already noticed that white spots appear. Orchids get white, sticky leaves when the excreted liquid dries. It is the sugar that can be seen. Since it is a bit more difficult to wipe off when dry, you should already wipe the affected areas clean regularly beforehand. This is very important, because these sweet spots are rich in nutrients and also attract pests, which would be the real problem of liquid excretion.

Change location and watering amounts

The drops on the leaf contain sugar, which is why the surface is sticky

If the location is the problem, which is why sticky leaves appeared in orchids, the solution is simple: move your flower, and in a place that suits your needs . If you overwatered it, the exotic plant needs new and especially dry substrate as soon as possible. However, if it is in bloom, wait a little longer, because it is not in such a hurry. During flowering, repot only in an emergency. Instead, simply stop watering immediately and temporarily until the substrate has dried sufficiently. After that, water less frequently than before.

Control pests

Treat sticky leaves of orchid due to pests.

If you have noticed aphids on orchids, treat them immediately by wiping the undersides of the leaves well. By doing this, you will not only remove a louse or two, but also the sweet liquid that would otherwise only attract more aphids. After that, you should isolate the Phalaenopsis to prevent the aphids from spreading to other plants as well. Then you control such pests with a solution of a liter of water, a tablespoon of soft soap and a teaspoon of methylated spirit, which you spray on the plants every 2 or 3 days.

Orchids have sticky drops on the stem when stressed