Caring for orchids is both a blessing and a curse. Orchids are delicate requiring much care and attention far more so than other common household plants. For those who find that orchid care is stress free activity is not caring for their plants properly.
One of the most agonizing experiences for orchid enthusiasts is finding a discolored, damaged, or diseased leaf. Such a flaw and imperfection can throw the whole orchid into a tizzy ruining a beautiful flower. Luckily, enthusiasts do have some options at their disposal to take care of such unsightly blemishes.
The most common and easiest solution to a damaged leaf is to cut it off. Now, you certainly do not want to cut off every leaf that looks at you the wrong way; only those that show irreparable damage or signs that the rest of the plant can become afflicted or infected with disease or decay.
Now, you do not want to take a pair of scissors and start snipping away. You need to access the damage, locate the area, and make a plan. Many gardeners choose to use either a razor blade or X-acto knife which will give a greater amount of control and precision over those pair of safety scissors you took from your kids crayon box.
Sterilize the blade. This will insure that nothing infects the exposed parts of the leaf limiting the chances of more damage.
You will now need to isolate the discolored section of the plant. Once you have located the area begin cutting into the still healthy areas in order to get the entirety of the damage or disease. Cut carefully and slowly so you do not mar the still healthy section of the leaf.
The Just Add Ice Orchid blog has some really great information on just this subject. When in doubt read up on the topic before taking a knife to that beautiful orchid.
Reading that blog made me think about the possible causes for damaged leaves.
Before you slice into your beloved orchid make sure the fault of the sickly looking leaf does not fall on you. Are you giving the plant enough water? Are you giving it too much water? Is it receiving enough sunlight?
If you notice leaves falling off the orchid it may just be the end of one blooming season; if this is the case there is no need to worry just take care of the stem properly and wait for the next blooms.
For more information about what to look out for with your orchids, these are some Orchid Warning Signs.