Orchids are bright and graceful, with long stalks that support exotic flowers and oval leaves. Although these plants are native to rain forests and are classed as exotic plants, they do not require the hot moisture of that type of environment. In fact, too much heat and water may bring on problems such as root rot and yellowing leaves in potted orchids.
Orchids require some very specific care, including a pot with a drainage hole, non-soil growing foundations and moderate warmth. They do best in peat or fern moss and temperatures between 70 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to River Valley OrchidWorks, overwatering is the biggest cause of orchid death in a home growing situation. Orchids should receive only an inch of water every five to 12 weeks, and then only if the planting medium is dry. Overwatering leads to root rot, which causes yellow, shriveled leaves. Leaving an orchid in standing water may lead to the same situation.
Orchids prefer specific feeding schedules, with orchid-specific fertilizer mixed according to the directions. Overfertilization or fertilizer that's too strong burns the roots of the plant and causes leaf and flower death. Conversely, a lack of fertilizer restricts the plant's resources and may lead to leaf death and an inability to bloom.
Orchids do best in the bright filtered light of north-facing windows or under artificial lights. Too little light causes leaves to darken and cease to function, while too much light or light that is too bright burns the leaves and turns them brown or yellow.
Prevention and Solution
Follow some simple care guidelines to avoid or heal yellow leaves on orchids and to encourage blooming. Water orchids with only an inch of water when the planting medium is dry, and fertilize them once a month. Put them in areas where they receive morning light and afternoon shade, for protection.