Orchid Leaves: Broken/Split

My orchid leaf split/broken? What do I do?

updated 12/11/17

Split Orchids
Some of my orchids have split leaves. They were either damaged before I got them or split from an already small tear (as shown above). They just keep growing with these splits and it does not affect any other growth. It’s slightly ugly but it will have no damaging effect to then orchid. The split leaf will continue to grow from the base but will always look split at the top – it will seal itself off and be kinda crooked. Don’t cut if off. It will still give the orchid energy even though its split.
Torn orchids
I have also had orchids that I dropped (as shown above)!! Yes dropped and broke… if this has happened to you then you know the awful feeling it causes!! I also have broken off the tiny baby leaf that was growing from the center of one my Phalaenopsis orchids… I about died.
I do a couple of things here
  1. I cut if off using sterile scissors to prevent any type of infection right at the tear.
  2. I sprinkle cinnamon (yes the common household spice) on it because it is a natural fungicide to protect it from any potential threat
  3. Then I leave it – as stated above, the leaf will continue to grow (however ugly) and still give the plant nutrients.

Hope that helps,


Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

14 Comments on “Orchid Leaves: Broken/Split

  1. Hannah,

    I was recently given an orchid, “Mystique by SV.” It is color infused an in full bloom. It is potted in a bark medium, plastic bot with drainage, and then in a decorative pot without drainage. I understand how to water them following these instructions: https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/hello-world/ But I have a few questions:

    1. It looks like during travel, one (see picture: Leaf 1) of the six leaves had the tip bent/broken and now has a brown crease. Should I cut the “tip” off just below the broken area, cut the whole leaf off, or leave it alone?

    2. Two others (see picture: Leaf 2, Leaf 3) were bent/broke and are split as well. How should I handle these leaves?

    3. Should I be misting the leaves of this orchid? It is sitting at my work desk. The environment is room temperature, it is sitting about 15-20 feet from windows, gets indirect natural light plus office light, and the air is dry (in my opinion).

    I have been doing a lot of research but you’re blog/answers seem to be the most thorough. I’ve never been one to have a green thumb so I am trying to Not follow my instincts but instead your direction. Helps, please.

    I have also sent an email to you labeled “Kendra Hayden, Orchid Questions & Pictures” as I cannot figure out how to put pictures into comments.

  2. Two of my leaves have gone brown and yellow, the plant is on a mottled sunny bathroom window ledge. I also have one bud left on it that I think has bud blast as its been weeks now. What can I do to help it, and do I wait until the bud falls to repot and cut it?

  3. Hi Hannah,

    My new leaf on my orchid (about an inch long) got a little nick in it and now it has spread down around half way.

    Will it continue to split? Is there anything I can do to hold it together so it can stabilize and avoid further splitting?


    • I hate it when that happens. There is nothing you can do except sprinkle a little cinnamon (natural fungicide) on the new open area to prevent disease. The leaf will continue to give sustenance to the plant even though it’s split.


  4. Thank you thank you thank you. One of the leaves off of my big beautiful new orchid has split down the middle because he was badly treated by a crappy supermarket chain :@ but I’m going to now use cinnamon to make sure he doesn’t get infected and then I can stop panicking like the parent whose child fell of the jungle gym for the first time!

  5. Hello Hannah, a big thank you for all the information you provide to us, specially for starters like me!
    I want to ask you about the brown/black lining of the leaves in the pictures you posted above. Is it normal? Because my orchids have that too and im kind or worried.


    • I have a small leaf that was knocked completely off one of the orchid plants. Is there anyway I can save it, or help it grow into a new plant?

      • Hi,

        Unfortunately not. When an orchid leaf comes off there is nothing you can really do except throw the leaf away. The remaining part of the leaf will always be shorter but it will still grow.

        I am sorry that happened – sounds super frustrating,


  6. Thank you! This post explained everything! Oh and my orchid a few months ago (3-4) had dropped from my shelf and had a split leaf I sprinkled some cinnamon and left it there… Looks like I did the right thing.

    • John,

      Yay!! I tried to put these two post up quickly (the other one is on aerial roots) but I may add to them later… I was getting a lot of questions on the two topics.

      Glad it helped,


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