Orchid Leaves: All GONE!!

Help! All my orchid leaves have fallen off?

updated 2/28/17

If you have a Phalaenopsis orchid (which is one of the most common orchids) otherwise known as a “Moth” orchid or a “Phal” and ALL of the leaves have fallen off then there is not a lot that can be done. I know this is heartbreaking, from personal experience, because the above orchid is mine and I had taken very good care of it.
You see with the absence of leaves the plant can not manufacture food. Orchids work in cycle between growing new leaves and new roots to new blooms. And without it having current leaves a new leaf cannot grow because leaves grow from the middle of existing leaves. Without leaves it can not produce new leaves, new roots and thus new blooms. The whole cycle breaks down.
In most cases this would be caused crown/root rot because of how it was watered. You would know for sure if it was crown/root rot by looking at the condition of the roots. If the roots are soggy/mushy and brown/black then you would know that it has succumb to root rot.
I always ask the following questions when I see this happen and I provide the suggested post below…
  1. Was it potted in a pot without a drainage hole? Please click on the post “READ THIS FIRST.”
  2. How was it watered? How much and how often? Please click on my post “How To Water an Orchid.”
If neither of the above questions are an issue (like mine) then I say the following (which is what happened with mine):
Many times when we get orchids into our homes they were mistreated before we got them. Mass production of orchids in green houses forces them into bloom (which in itself does not hurt orchids) and then they are shipped to stores. The shipping process can be taxing to orchids and then they are placed in grocery stores etc. that can over or underwater them and most times give them zero natural light.
And A LOT of places sell orchids in pots with no drainage which exacerbates all the problems stated above because the roots are basically trapped in water and begin to rot (even though the blooms may look beautiful at the time).
Then we get them, they begin to suffer and we think we have hurt an orchid when actually it was all the stuff that happened to it before we got it. It’s very frustrating but not our faults at all.
Hope that Helps,
Hannah
Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

8 Comments on “Orchid Leaves: All GONE!!

  1. i JUST had one that looked like it was healthy (producing new leaves and what look to be new roots in the stem) and very healthy roots have allof the leaves fall off at the stem in one clump. It’s like the stem rotted but the rest of the plant is fine.

    can i attempt to create new roots from the leaves clump that i have? how would i do that?

    since the roots on the original plant are still healthy how might i try to save them?

    this just happened yesterday and i am overwhelmed by the advice on the net, but none of it seems to pertain. any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi,

      You can send me a picture at myfirstorchid@gmail.com and I can take a look.

      Many times when we get orchids into our homes they were mistreated before we got them. Mass production of orchids in green houses forces them into bloom (which in itself does not hurt orchids) and then they are shipped to stores. The shipping process is taxing to orchids and then they are placed in grocery stores etc. that over or underwater them and give them zero natural light.

      And A LOT of places sell orchids in pots with no drainage which exacerbates all the problems stated above because the roots are basically trapped in water and begin to rot (even though the blooms may look beautiful at the time).

      Then we get them, they begin to suffer and we think we have hurt an orchid when actually it was all the stuff that happened to it before we got it. It’s very frustrating but not our faults at all.

      Hannah

  2. I had 30 orchids of different types, some were over 10 years old. They were so beautiful, and I always had at least 3 or 4 flowering at any point. Over the last year I have lost all but 3, (2 phals and a paph), even my really old dendrobiums died. For the phals it was extremely traumatic because the plant would look beautiful and fine, and I’d go to water it and ALL the beautiful green leaves would just fall off. Just a tiny part at the very base- the crown, I guess- felt a little soggy and had a few streaks of black. I isolated, I repotted, I cleaned and soaked and even bought African violets because a friend told me they may help and I was willing to do anything. The dendrobiums were the last to go and they went gracefully– got soggy at the base and then just died- even the babies. The etiology must be fungal- I’m not sure whether it was crown rot or black something, but I’m a) not sure why I have 3 who seem totally resistant to it, and b) afraid to water the remaining three because watering tends to exacerbate the black plague, and c) afraid to get anymore orchids- EVER. I slipped up and bought one a few months ago and put it in a completely different room. I’m guessing the damn thing is airborne, because that one met the same fate. I am moving soon, going to get rid of ALL the pots and moss and everything from my former brood. I’m wondering if I should even bother to attempt to rebuild? This seems like a particularly virulent strain of fungus, and if it’s on my furniture or clothes or anything, is there any hope??? Any suggestions? Help.

    • Hi,

      That sounds just awful!!! I am so sorry that happened to you. I have never experienced such a thing. There is a guy named David at http://www.repotme.com that may know what happened (he is my go to expert). If you go their site and hit contact and ask them the same question maybe they will know. I don’t have any clue why that would have happened and again I am so sorry,

      Hannah

  3. I got a beautiful orchid in Florida last year and brought it back to my home in Chicago. It flowered twice since last spring with the most lovely orchid blooms I have ever seen, and they lasted prob six months each time. Now, all of the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. Is it possible the long lasting blooms were too much for it? I do not think it was root rot, as I did not overwater the plant and there is a proper drainage hole. Please let me know if I can do anything, as I am heartbroken that my best orchid plant ever is dying! Many thanks, Jennifer

    • You can wait to see if a leaf is produced but when it goes out of bloom check the roots. If they are all green and healthy then maybe there is hope:) Let me know because that would be awesome.

      Hannah

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