Dyed Orchids

Updated 2/27/17

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!!

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?”

Below are pictures she sent me of her dyed blue orchid –

Pic of the dye on the bottom of orchid leaf. Can you see it at the bottom?

Pic of dyed liquid seeping out of orchid nodes

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 and 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, 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.

Do this;

  • Cut the bloom stem off at its base. This will save its energy and help transfer any energy to the surviving plant.
  • Repot it immediately in straight charcoal to pull all the toxics out of the crown and roots. If you don’t have charcoal then repot it in normal orchid mix.

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.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Hannah

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

45 Comments on “Dyed Orchids

  1. My husband brought me 2 beautiful orchids but they are u naturally bright blue! Will they come back white next time they flower?? Or is there something I can do to get rid of the horrendous blue colour

  2. My mother bought me a white phalaenopsis orchid with spotted purple on the petals. Did they do a crappy dye job? Did they do it on purpose for effect? Or are there some that look that way? Are phalaenopsis orchids only white? Or can they naturally be other colors?

    • that is a true orchid pattern. Orchids come in many beautiful colors but a true ink blue. The closest to blue would probably be the vanda blue magic, though it is more like indigo.

      • I have a blue Vanda but it has never bloomed. I won’t to see it flower so badly. It was shipped from Hawaii. Can’t wait!

        Hannah

  3. Hello my hubby bought me a gorgeous Mystique Blue orchid. I found out that it is dyed but I really love the color. Is there a natural way of dying my flower petals blue when my orchid blooms become white? I heard through the grapevine that you can use blue food coloring. Is this just a myth? Thanks for any advice on the matter.

      • Hannah the food coloring will not hurt the flower orchids are sensitive to direct sunlight and being over watered you can cut a 45 degree cut on the bottom of the stock you can flood the plant right at the base with food coloring without killing it.

      • Hello Plant Man,

        I am sure you can use some kind of food coloring that is safe. I don’t know what that is but every orchid that I have ever seen that was dyed had dye seeping out of its stems and was basically rotting from the inside.

        Maybe huge companies use something different then you use? Either way I prefer the natural orchids. They are so beautiful just in their normal state.

        Hannah

  4. I received a blue orchid as a gift from a client last christmas as she knew orchids were my fave. I have to be honest i was dissapointed it was blue! However i am over the moon to report its thriving with two new long and strong stems and today one of the many buds opened to reveal her true beatiful white flower. Gorgeous x

    • Yeah!!!!! That makes me so happy. So many people are sad when they realize blue orchids are really white. Thank god it survived the dye!!

      Best of luck,

      Hannah

  5. I have purchased a blue mystic orchid at home depot several months ago. All the blooms lasted for quite a while until last week the last bloom wilted. It is now growing a new leaf and I’ve repotted. It seems to be thriving, and I recently purchased hydroton to repot all my orchids (total of 5) into before the spikes grow.

  6. My husband delivered a dyed blue orchid to me last year for valentines day. He thought they were natural, but when I read the card, it did say that that they were dyed & that they would rebloom as white. Well…. They did! And they are large beautiful flowers…. It just took a year to water all the dye out and grow new leaves to replace the dyed ones. We were disappointed that the color was un-natural, but it didn’t seem to affect the plant…. It never looked sick.

    • Hi,

      That’s wonderful that is is healthy and I do love white orchids!! Sometimes though they really suffer but I am so glad yours is ok and thriving. If every case was like yours I wouldn’t have a big problem with it but unfortunately a lot of people have major problems afterwards,

      Hannah

    • If all of the companies that dye orchids were like this (telling people it is dyed and making sure the orchid survives), dyeing orchids wouldn’t be a problem! But this isn’t always the case. 😦

  7. Thank you for this great information! I had seen a gorgeous blue orchid in my grocery store and considered buying it but the color was a bit too brilliant so I was suspicious. They used to dye carnations in my high school to sell so I’ve seen dye injected flowers before. Now I’m so glad I didn’t buy it! I don’t want the disappointment of it dying or having white flowers next time. But mostly I don’t want to support the kind of industry that does this kind of thing to such already lovely living things!

  8. Hubby and I were in Lowe’s the other day and up on a tall shelf I noticed some blue orchids. I pointed at them to my hubby and he said did they paint them? I thought it was their true color. After taking a closer look I thought maybe something happened to them because they just didn’t look natural. I also saw some redd-ish phals which didn’t look natural in color to me, are they dyeing them red too?

    Rhonda

    • Hi again,

      Yes they dye them all sorts of colors. They take white ones and inject them. I have only seen blue ones that were dyed. I have yet to see red, yellow or orange but I have heard of this.

      Hannah

  9. JOAN
    my daughter has just bought me a blue orchid, it upsets me to think that this beautiful plant may be being poisoned and i know it would upset her. i hpoe that mine survives and grows back to its natural colour.

    • Joan,

      If it’s actually dyed then it will eventually turn back to its original color which is white when it reblooms. I have seen many be just fine afterwards but some have suffered a lot. And many people are very upset the next year when it blooms and it’s not blue.

      I just got a naturally blue blooming Vanda and it’s gorgeous. People don’t know they are buying dyed orchids and I don’t blame them for buying. I get frustrated at growers who know they are injecting dye into orchids. That is what frustrates me.

      Good luck,

      Hannah

  10. Hi

    I inherited my mums orchid and I’m worried I’ve hurt it. The bottom leaves are yellow which I have read is normal but then when I’ve had a look at the roots they seem a bit green brown and some which were above the soil are grey and have died. I don’t know whether I’ve overwatered and if so what to do now. Please help.

    I tried to attach some photos but it wouldn’t let me do you have an email I can send yo

  11. I could not be more angry at those who are ruining beautiful plants, beautiful w/o the dye, just to make extra money! I must confess to having bought one of these but I had absolutely no clue that the color was artificial…maybe I should have?! The plant did extremely well, the blooms lasted almost 2months, I was seeing good new root growth, all good signs. Obviously by now, much to my horror, I’d discovered it was artifically colored 😦 One day, as I was checking over all of my orchids, I noticed one of the leaves on the dyed orchid felt cold & strange ( I can’t really describe it). I took it over in the kitchen & told my daughter to feel it. She was scared I was playing some joke on her so she kind of flipped it up a bit & WOOOOSSSHH…. All this nasty bluish-green fluid came bursting out of the leaf. It is now down to one leaf, has mold on the crown & I’m working desperately, but probably in vain, to try & save it. The people who do this do not care one but about the plants, all they care about is the almighty dollar…what a shame 😥

    • Christine,

      I am so sorry!!!! That is just AWFUL!!! I was going to ask for pictures but I just saw that you sent them to me.

      Do you mind if I use the pics (on the blog) to warn others of this?

      And don’t feel bad because you didn’t know they were dyed. Most people don’t. But some of them can be saved! So don’t lose hope yet.

      Hannah

  12. Hi Hannah,
    I hope you can help me! I have an Oncidium Orchid that is NOT dyed, however, it is seeping liquid from all of its nodes. Please help??

    • Hi Mary,

      I would love to help but have some questions first.

      Is the liquid coming out of the actually orchid spikes – where the orchid blooms?

      Is it in bloom?

      Do you see any bugs on it?

      Can you see any liquid or a general mushy feeling around a the orchid base (right above its roots)?

      Can you send me a picture at myfirstorchid@gmail.com – if not that is ok but it’s easier to diagnose with a picture:)

      Hannah

  13. I purchased a blue dyed orchid. It has been in full bloom and adding new shoots Since Feb. 1th. As each of the blooms stays in bloom it looses it blue and are now almost white.

    Now However, the older blooms are are now developing small black spots on the pedals edges along with green almost mold look.

    I am very disappointed in the growers and will ever purchase another “Dyed” plant.

    What should I do about the green and black spots?

    • Hi Diana,

      Many times people purchase dyed orchids without even knowing it. Your orchid is probably just purging all the blue dye out it. Eventually the blooms with fall of naturally and then I would repot it.

      My orchids that I have rescued or have been through trauma will often have spots on them. As long as your not noticing mold at the base of the plant or around any greenery…your orchid should be fine in the long run.

      I am sorry you have to deal with this 😦

      Hannah

  14. My father recently bought me a Blue Mystique not knowing it was dyed until after he purchased it for me. When he came home after purchasing it I did research and found out it was really was dyed. Some say there dyed orchid lasted just as long as a regular Phal orchid. I am somewhat worried because he spent quite a few dollars on her. I love all 8 of my orchids and now I hope she doesn’t pass away that soon. You can see all the spots were she was injected. The injection spots still have some ink of coming out of her. It is in her stem and in the blooms. My question is how long do you think she will live? Also, when these blue blooms fall off will her blooms come back white?

    Jeneva
    Age 13

    • Jeneva,

      Your orchid may be just fine. I don’t like that they inject orchids, with dye, but they can live through this and rebloom next year.

      Hopefully this will be the case. The natural cycle if an orchid is bloom, blooms fall off, new leaves and new roots grow and then a new bloom spike and then blooms.

      So if your orchid drops its blooms – it is not dead. It’s just preparing for the next cycle.

      And your right – it will come back white next year…if it blooms again.

      Hannah

  15. I also look at rePotme.com. I have a Phal, my first one, for like one month, the blooms are yellow on the outside and red (red!) on the inside, I don’t think it’s dyed even though it looks better than the other orchids, even if it was dyed it dosen’t seem to harm it. I love this orchid.
    Just saying,
    John

  16. I’m glad I didn’t get one of these. I so wanted a blue orchid and that’s my husband’s favorite color. He even mentioned blue orchids the other day. I have told him about this and he seems kind of sad. Didn’t think I’d see that happen over a flower. Haha. I’m the flower person, not him.

  17. Sorry, Hannah tooke me a long time to get back to you, with so many things going on together in my life it has been hectic. Thank you so much!!! yes you are right my name is Tulika.

    Your baby is due in December right? You probably can’t wait for your little bundle of joy, that would be really great :=).

    My orchids as usual are growing really really long leaves, some two at once, today I saw the rescue is growing another new leaf. Another one that I brought from a local grocery store ( when i bought it they gave it away for $10 as the decorative pot was broken – meaning they dropped the orchid as a result two flowers were damaged too – I brought it home and it was so sad in a tiny pot, I kept it on the window seal and it fell again ( due to storm and I was not home), luckily the flowers were okay, so repotted it immediately and now it has grown a really long leaf along with beautiful new roots. Yes, I will let you know once I get hold of a blue orchid which i will order and buy from a local reputed nursery here in Toronto. I will also email you,sorry for the lengthy post.

  18. I hate when people do this to Orchids, they are gorgeous as they are, why put something artificial and you know that’s not going to stay, this is cheating as well. I myself am looking for a blue orchid and I am going to order it from a reputed nursery. Also, Hannah just wanted to let you know that I had posted in May that my rescue is shooting up what looks like a spike and you also said it seems to be a spike. You would be glad to know that now it is blooming and has not one but two spikes perhaps it’s way of saying “Thank-you for saving me”. When I got it I couldn’t look at the leaves they were so much discolored, I immediately repotted (seeing from the videos, how they do it) and now they are gorgeous green, there are new roots coming out all the time. My other ones are now growing new leaves and roots, a look at them makes my day.

    • Tulika,

      That’s is soooooo great! And I totally know what you mean by the leaves. When I rescue orchids and their leaves are all sad…I understand why people throw them away but how AWESOME is it when they come back. I have had a few that have not come back but it feels so good to save some:) I get 3 to 5 a month from people and repot them and now give them away I should start an official, “save the orchid” page:)

      I have been looking for the natural but rare blue, red and orange Phals as well. They are hard to find, I guess that is why people dye them. Tell me if you find one and where:)

      By the way is your name actually Tulika? Bc if it is – I love it. My husband has a friend name Troika and I love cool names like that!

      If you have any questions that are too long for the comment post email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com.

      Hannah

  19. thats awful.why destroy a beautiful plant like this?.if people don’t want a plain white orchid,just don’t but it.choose another type.it looks like it’s trying to save itself by trying to rid it of it’s toxins.ive only ever seen a green dyed orchid,and i’d never buy one.it looked ridiculous.

    • I did not know growers dyed orchids until now (orchids come in all sorts of colors naturally). There are actually some orchids that have a hint of blue, red and orange but they are rare.

      I am not mad at people who have bought dyed orchids…I am more upset that a grower, who knows plants, would do this.

      I want people to be aware that this is happening…in case their plant suffers like Marie’s did:(

      Hannah

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