Orchid is one of the ornamental plants that many people love to grow in their homes. The beauty of this plant is hidden in the flower clusters of many colors such as white, pink, purple, red, yellow, or unique blends.
However, orchids are plants that require careful care and can face many problems throughout their growth. One of the most common problems that many people face is the split of orchid leaves.
This problem can cause you to ask a lot of questions about its cause. Why are my orchid leaves splitting? How to remedy this situation? Is there any method to prevent this? All information will be in the article below.
Why Are My Orchid Leaves Splitting?
There are many causes for orchid leaves to split. Some causes may be due to extremes of weather or living environment. However, most of the causes stem from improper care habits for orchids. Some common causes of orchid leaf splitting include improper watering, lack of moisture, sunburn, insects, leaf spot disease, leaf rot disease, or negative external influences.
Irregular watering is one of the leading causes of orchid leaves splitting. As you know, orchid leaves are relatively thick and hard to the touch. The reason is that the cells of the leaf are always filled with water and inflated in a normal state.
When an orchid is deprived of water for a long time, the leaves will begin to wrinkle and wilt when dehydrated. The cells will become empty and begin to shrink. Then, when you water it again, the orchid’s leaves will begin to swell from absorbing the water and try to return to their original shape. However, too much and sudden pressure will cause the cells to tear and cause the leaves to split. This phenomenon will occur mainly in the weakest part of the leaf, the part of the veins running along the middle.
Therefore, you need to keep a few rules in mind during watering as follows:
- Water when the ground is 1-2 inches dry or use a moisture meter to check the moisture in the soil.
- Do not water the leaves because dampness will create favorable conditions for the growth of fungi.
- Do not water at night. You should water during the day so that the sun will dry the leaves faster.
- Water slowly and deeply until the water is completely absorbed into the potting soil.
- Make sure the vent hole is not clogged with moss or humus.
- Watering depends on actual seasonal conditions and temperatures.
Lack Of Moisture
Orchid leaves will also split if there is a lack of moisture. Some orchids such as Phalaenopsis or moth orchids will often split leaves when there is a lack of moisture. Therefore, you need to maintain the right humidity for orchids so that they do not wilt or droop. Orchid plants will prefer humidity from 50%-60% for the best growth and development.
If you live in an area with low humidity, you can use a humidifier to maintain the ideal humidity for your orchid. In addition, you can do some of the methods below to increase moisture naturally.
- Place trays of pebbles or trays of water around the orchid. The natural evaporation of water will help increase the moisture content of the plants.
- Design a small fish tank in the room.
- Create a mini greenhouse to maintain ideal humidity without harsh environmental influences.
- Misting several times a day provides temporary moisture.
- Group plants close together to reuse evapotranspiration.
The leaves of the orchid will be constantly split if the plant is exposed to too much sun. The reason is that most orchids prefer to live in indirect sunlight and do not tolerate prolonged direct sunlight.
Sunlight causes cells to lose water and wilt. From there, they are destroyed and separated when encountering extreme weather conditions. Most orchid leaves will be torn or split in the middle. Direct sunlight can also cause leaves to burn, curl the tops and edges, and turn black or brown.
If the orchid gets sunburned in the early stages, when the leaves are faded but not damaged, they will recover in a dimly lit place in a few months. However, if the leaves have already developed scorch marks and cracks, they are irreversible and you should cut them off to avoid wasting the plant’s energy.
Therefore, you should limit placing orchids in a location with direct sunlight all day or for many hours. You should place the potted plant near the window and about 1 meter away, with a curtain so that the plants can absorb the sun without getting sunburned.
Orchid leaves are also split due to insect infestation. Some common insects such as spiders, aphids, flies, and leafhoppers will attack and create gaps in the leaves. They attack the leaves directly by sucking the sap. Therefore, the cells will be destroyed, shrink, and gradually lose their tight connection. Eventually, the weak cells will break and create tears in the leaves.
To limit the number of pests and insects that destroy plants, you should check for their appearance daily by looking at both sides of the leaves. In particular, insects often hide in the crevices of leaves or parts close to the trunk. Use neem oil to wipe leaves and clean daily. If the condition is more severe, you can use insecticidal soap or insecticide to spray the leaves.
The Impact Of The Outside Environment
Negative impacts from the outside environment such as destructive animals, high winds, or falling pots all affect the quality of orchid leaves. Pets such as cats, dogs, or birds can all cause leaf tearing. In addition, too strong and continuous wind also causes orchid leaves to tear and create gaps in the leaves.
To prevent these causes, you should place the potted plant in a safe area and limit contact with pets. Use hanging and fixing orchid pots to avoid strong winds and breaking pots causing leaves to tear.
Leaf Spot Disease
Fungus is also one of the leading causes of severe damage and tearing of orchid leaves. You can observe both sides of the leaf, especially the back of the leaf. Yellow, brown, or white spots may appear on the underside of the leaves.
Leaves with leaf spot disease will not be able to recover and grow back. So, when you spot these leaves, you should remove them immediately to avoid the fungus from spreading and destroying the entire leaves on the plant. In addition, you should also move the pot to another location with good light and air circulation because fungi often thrive in humid environments and stagnant air.
To prevent leaf spot disease, you should not mist your orchid daily because it will create favorable conditions for fungal growth. Furthermore, misting only provides temporary moisture and cannot sustain it for long. Ensure ideal humidity for your orchids by using a humidifier or by traditional methods such as a pebble tray, water tank, or using a mini greenhouse.
Every day, you can use a solution of water and baking soda to clean the leaves and clean both surfaces of the leaves, especially the interstitial leaves. Or you can also use solutions containing copper octanoate and sulfur for best results.
Bacterial Brown Spots
If you observe brown streaks on the leaves, it could be a brown spot caused by bacteria. This type of bacteria will cause leaf rot and cannot be reversed. These bacteria will thrive if you continue to water the leaves. They will spread quickly and rot the entire leaves of the plant.
When you discover this condition, you should remove the diseased leaves quickly to limit the spread of the condition. Once you have removed all the rotten foliage, you should apply a treatment to prevent infection in the remaining healthy parts of the plant. Some solutions include copper and sulfur-containing fungicides, neem oil, or baking soda. Don’t forget to use a natural solution like neem oil or baking soda to clean the leaves daily.
Black Rot Disease
Leaf rot will also cause leaves to tear, severely damage, and become soft. The leaves will be purplish-brown initially and then turn completely black. Leaf rot can spread to the roots and cause the roots to rot. So if you catch this disease early, your orchid will have a good chance of surviving if the roots are still healthy.
The best way is to remove the leaves that rot and turn black. Make sure the root system is healthy and undamaged. Then there is black rot, which leaves complete rot. They will be purple-brown at first and then turn almost completely black. The leaves will also be soft.
Like some other foliar diseases, black rot can be detected early if you know how to look. For example, the edges of the leaves will turn yellow. Treat black rot as soon as possible as the disease can spread to the orchid’s rhizome and eventually the roots. By then, it may be too late for the flowers.
If black rot hasn’t spread to the roots, you can try to save your orchid. Cutting off darkened leaves or other parts of the plant is the best way to do that. You can use a knife or cutter to slice. Make sure you cut a bit more leaves than the black part.
Including some healthy leaf tissue can potentially prevent the infection from getting worse. You can even save your orchid if black rot has entered the rhizome. You must cut off each infected growth. Remember that you also want some healthy tissue.
You can then use a fungicide to prevent the spread of bacteria and fungi. Also, a great alternative (no chemicals) that you can use is cinnamon. Cinnamon will be effective in the prevention of fungi due to its natural active ingredients.
Read more: Orchid Growing New Leaves But Not Flowers
Some Tips To Prevent Orchid Leaves From Splitting
When orchid leaves split, they are severely damaged. So the ability to recover and grow back is very difficult. To prevent this situation, you should change some habits while caring to limit leaf separation.
- Adequate watering, avoid over-watering causing waterlogging.
- Clean the drain hole regularly to avoid clogging.
- Avoid direct sunlight for many hours.
- Place the potted plant away from children and pets and have a sturdy stand.
- Do not mist frequently and place the potted plant in a place with good air circulation.
- Maintain proper humidity and avoid getting the leaves wet as the fungus will grow rapidly.
- Ensure adequate nutrition for your orchid.
- Clean both sides of the leaves regularly and use neem oil to prevent insects and pests.
Splitting orchid leaves can be related to many different causes. Some common causes include erratic watering, lack of moisture, excess direct light, leaf spot disease, leaf rot, insect infestation, and negative environmental influences such as pets and children. or fall apart.
To limit this situation, you need to provide the ideal habitat for plants such as water, light, nutrition, and humidity. You should also regularly check and clean the leaves to avoid mold and insects hiding in the leaves.