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I have an orchid that I bought about a month ago. I'm following the watering directions that came with it (which means it's only been watered once so far) and I believe that it has the appropriate amount of light. But one of its leaves suddenly became yellow all over.

What might have caused that and what can I try to fix the problem?

Further information: The tag that was attached suggests that it is a Phalaenopsis orchid and the medium it is planted in is mossy and moist to the touch. It has two stems and the flowers on the side with the yellowing leaf have fallen off, but the flowers on the other stem are still in place. There is a much larger leaf above the yellowing leaf that is still green and healthy as are the two leaves on the other side. Does this help?

Final update: I took courage and poked around in the pot. It seems the medium is entirely moss and that Phalaenopsis prefer bark. Therefore, my plan is to repot the orchid in bark and see how it goes.

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Did repotting your orchid in bark work? – Lorem Ipsum Sep 3 '11 at 5:07
@yoda: Sadly, I didn't get around to it before the plant died. – Jon Ericson Oct 6 '11 at 1:02
up vote 9 down vote accepted

What type of orchid is it and what type of potting medium it planted in? If its roots are in bark, I suggest it needs more frequent watering. I water my bark-potted orchids at least once per week, twice if it's hot and dry.

In response to your additional information: Phalaenopsis orchids in their natural habitats typically grow in trees or on rocks and don't like their roots constantly exposed to wet (more than moist) conditions. For that reason, domesticated Phalaenopsis are usually potted into a medium of free-draining bark chips that's kept moist by watering once a week or so, as needed. Try digging around in the moss to see how wet it feels under the surface and if there's much air space in there for water to drain through freely. If it feels like the water really sits in there, it could be that your orchid's roots are too damp. If that's so, I suggest re-potting into orchid bark.

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I've got a similar issue with one of the two Phalaenopsis pots that I've got. One has grown perfectly, blossoming at the moment; the other one's leaves are losing freshness, going soft, and one of them is almost yellow. The roots are nothing fresh either. Have kept them at equally the same condition. Shall I repot it? If so, with the same compost? Not sure if I should've posted a new question or not! – Neeku Nov 7 '14 at 12:28

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