Orchid naturally bloom in the most beautiful colors. Which is why injecting orchids, or any other plant, with dye is something I just don’t understand.
What makes me particuly frustrated is that as orchid consumers (and mostly beginners) we are buying these orchids without knowing they are dyed and then left with the consequences which can be pretty severe (as shown below). If you own one and stumble upon this post – I want you to know that this is not your fault!
I have found that the most common color orchids are dyed is blue (which is shown above in various stages of dye). And the reason I am posting this at all is that I had a really sweet girl email me the following question;
“I got a dyed blue orchid and all the leaves fell off and now it’s seeping liquid out of all the nodes. It is still in bloom but what do I do?”
Here are the pictures she sent me. The first picture shows the upper parts of the leaves had completely fallen off despite the fact that they looked very healthy. You can see in the second picture the blue dye at the bottom of the leaf. In the third photo you can actually see the dyed liquid seeping out of the orchid nodes. The final pictures all show the blooms still present but in various stages of falling off.
To be honest… I had no idea what was going on with this orchid (this was a few years ago). I am normally pretty good at answering questions from viewers (based on all the helpful advice I have gotten) but this one stumped me. First, I did not understand how every leaf could fall of an orchid and it could still “seem” to be alive. Second, I have NEVER seen liquid seeping out of orchid nodes.
So I asked one of my orchid gurus at Garden Heights Nursery (St. Louis MO), Barb Giblin. The following is what she said in a nut shell –
“This is a technique some of the growers have come up with to make the plants sell better because they look so different. We haven’t seen evidence that it hurts the plants (until NOW), but the reality is that the blue color will not reappear in future blooms. The flowers will return to their natural white color in the future. No special care is needed, but try to avoid getting the dye on you! It is hard to wash off apparently (which is a strange thought because if it’s hard to wash off, then how is it good for an orchid?).
She said whatever they dyed it with, they either used too much or it was toxic. This is probably the cause of the leaves falling off (leaves typically fall off if an orchid if it is over watered and/or if water pools at the top of leaves and it rotted) and the reason it’s seeping liquid. The plant is literally expelling extra toxic dye in an attempt to save itself!!
She said there is hope for these plant if you want it to try to revive it.
I hope this post helps if you are in a similar predicament and if not maybe it will discourage you from buying dyed plants in the future.
Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at email@example.com with pictures of your orchid.