Why is my orchid stem turning pink, is a common question many gardeners ask when they see an abnormal color change in their orchids. Typically, orchid flower spikes come in a wide range of colors, including pink.
However, when the orchid suddenly starts changing to pink or other colors different from its genetic markup, it indicates a problem. The good news is our plant experts are here to take you through possible causes of this abnormality and solutions.
- What Causes Orchid Stems to Turn Pink?
- What Are Easy Solutions to Help the Orchid Stem That Is Turning Pink?
What Causes Orchid Stems to Turn Pink?
Your orchid plants or flowers spike change color for various reasons, such as poor soil and water circulation. They may also turn yellow or brown due to nutrient deficiency, imbalance, blooming cycle, and hybridization. The color change can indicate the health status of your plant.
While some varieties have pink in their genetic markups, sudden coloration may indicate stress, disease, infection, as well, because those are stressors the plant suffers from. Other possible causes include; over-watering and over-fertilization, which would turn the stems pink.
– Color Variation
Orchids typically exhibit different colors within their genus or species. Often, the color change isn’t a cause for alarm. Some hybrids have pink flowers as part of their traits, which is why you should know the type of plant that you have. If you purchased an orchid with pink in its genetic makeup, the flower spikes may likely turn pink over time, and this is part of its natural behavior.
– Environmental Factors
The genetic makeup doesn’t only influence the color of an orchid. The environment also plays a massive role. The aspects such as temperature and light can cause color modifications. Orchid leaves are sensitive to light intensity, similar to humans. If your orchid has been exposed to intense light for extended periods or you have recently reduced the light intensity, it may cause the orchid’s leaves to turn pink.
– Temperature Fluctuations
The temperature could also influence the pigmentation of your orchid if adjusted. If the orchid stem is exposed to extreme temperatures, it could stress the plant and cause it to become pinkish.
If your orchid leaf turns pink, especially the top, your plant may suffer from phosphorus deficiency. It could also have sunburn caused by too much exposure to sunlight/UV rays. You can fix this by adding fertilizers with sufficient phosphorous to your plant and moving your orchid to a low-light area.
– Nutrient Imbalance
To ensure the healthy blooming of orchids, providing them with specific nutrients is important. Nutrient imbalances may hinder growth and lead to color changes, and it would also change the color of the stem, because of the lack of the right nutrient, the stem would lose color. For instance, insufficient phosphorous can cause the orchid stem to turn purple or brown. Similarly, a lack of oxygen and nitrogen can result in pink and purple roots.
Cross-pollination is a common practice in orchid cultivation. If your orchid has cross-pollinated with other plants, it can show unique colors that aren’t found in its typical species. Pink-colored orchids could be a result of cross-pollination, so it is as a result, showing a lighter color.
Orchids age over time. Therefore, the flowers turning red, pink, or brown might not be surprising. Some flowers may deviate from their usual dark color or light shade and graduate to a different hue in subsequent times.
– Low Humidity
A discoloration of the orchid spike may indicate low humidity levels. Sometimes, it’s pink, but it’s often black. You’ll need a hygrometer to determine and address the humidity level appropriately.
Humidity is essential to the growth of orchids. Orchids are tropical plants that need a highly humid environment to thrive. This ornamental plant can absorb moisture through its roots and thrive with the right humidity level. Therefore, maintaining the right humidity level is essential because the lack of it would cause a stress.
– Disease or Infection
Sometimes, a pinkish coloration could signify the presence of fungal or bacterial infection. Fusarium, a common fungal pathogen, can infest your plant and discolor the roots. If black spots or wilting leaves accompany the coloration, it could indicate black rot. Over time, the orchid spike may turn black. It is best to use appropriate treatment measures.
– Blooming Cycle
An orchid’s blooming cycle differs. Typically, it takes some two to three months to complete their cycle. When an orchid completes its blooming cycle, the color change will be noticeable in some parts of the plant. Some parts will die off, and the flower spikes could turn pink in the process.
When it becomes pink, the flower no longer absorbs nutrients and water. It indicates you must prune your orchid plant by cutting just above a node.
If your orchid is yet to complete its blooming cycle, a pink coloration might indicate dehydration. It doesn’t mean the plant is dying, but on the contrary, you would see it from the stem that the plant is turning pink as it doesn’t have much water. The latter would be the case if the leaves are wilted, and the plant has developed root rot, and with this rotting issue, it could mean the root can’t absorb water.
The genetics of some species allow them to turn pink or red. It is normal and not usually a problem. The orchid could grow healthy through the years and have green stems. If your orchid plant has red-colored spikes and is thriving, you don’t have to worry about anything. Watch and enjoy as it blooms!
– Long-term Exposure to Tap Water
Depending on where you reside, some tap water contains chemical elements that can affect your orchid. Extremely alkaline water can turn the roots pink, and this is due to having a contamination that is taking place in the water, and so you would see the stem losing its original color, and weakening, as a result.
Additionally, some tap water contains microbes that can interact with the root. This interaction will provoke pigmentation, turning the plant pink over time.
– Wrong Type of Fertilizer
More commonly than not, the type of fertilizer you use for your orchid can cause pigmentation. Pink fertilizers tend to change the root’s color. This may not indicate an issue if the plant is flourishing. However, it could be a cause for concern if the chemical intersection with the root affects the plant’s health.
What Are Easy Solutions to Help the Orchid Stem That Is Turning Pink?
The easy solutions to help the orchid stem that is turning pink are checking the lighting conditions and maintaining the right temperature around the plant. You should also water the plant appropriately, provide the right amount of nutrients, and treat the insects and diseases.
– Check the Lighting Condition
Exposure to excessive light can cause discoloration. Orchids thrive in bright, indirect light. Insufficient light can cause coloration, so make sure that you do not deprive the plant of the right type of light that it needs. In short, you must ensure your orchid receives adequate light.
Consider adjusting the light intensity if necessary. If the light source is low, move the orchid to a brighter location. You can also move the orchid to a lower light area if the light intensity is too high. Alternatively, you can use a curtain to minimize the amount of light.
– Maintain the Right Temperature and Humidity
Orchids need specific temperatures and humidity to bloom. Incorrect ranges can affect their growth and cause coloration. Most orchids bloom between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and cooler temperatures at night.
Ensure the temperature and humidity level meet the requirements of your orchid. Suppose they don’t make the necessary adjustments. For example, you can increase the environment’s humidity level by placing a humidifier near the orchid stem and for this, you can also increase humidity by putting a water tray under the potting medium, so that when the water evaporates, it creates humidity.
– Water Appropriately
Many orchid enthusiasts water their orchids the wrong way, and note that the timing and even the technique need to be corrected. It would help if you watered the orchid when the top inch of the soil was dry to avoid any pink coloration and ensure optimal growth.
You may need to water more frequently in the growing season than in the dormant season. In addition, you need to ensure the potting mix is well-draining. What you can do is punch holes underneath the pot to remove excess water when you overwater.
– Provide an Adequate Amount of Nutrients
To prevent changes in your orchid’s leaf and flower color, it’s important to fertilize it properly. This means providing balanced amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Most orchids require a fertilizer with higher nitrogen content during the growing season. Always follow the instructions carefully when using fertilizers, to avoid any excessive application.
Remember not to overfertilize your orchid to prevent root burn. Also, fertilize before and after watering. Orchids need a balanced fertilizer, such as 20-20-20 or 10-10-10, that has all the fundamental trace elements. The color doesn’t matter, but you should avoid over-application. Regardless of the formulation, you should select a fertilizer without urea.
– Treat Insects and Diseases Appropriately
Inspect for signs of pest infestation or diseases and treat them accordingly. As mentioned, pink coloration can be a sign of disease. Therefore, access the plant’s health for any fungal infection. You can use organic methods, such as insecticidal soap and horticultural oil, to wave off pests and fungicides for diseases.
Before applying any of these solutions, following the instructions on the label is essential. Different manufacturers may provide specific guidelines on how to use their products. Generally, it’s best to apply the soapy solution or oil in the morning or late afternoon when temperatures are mild, so for this, you can go ahead and apply them in direct sunlight will only stress the plant.
Before applying, dilute the soap or oil according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and you can mix a certain quantity in a container and transfer it into a sprayer. However, do note that some orchids may be sensitive to soap or oil, so it’s essential you test for any reaction before using the solution on the whole plant. Apply the solution on a small portion of the orchid, probably a few leaves, and wait for some hours to see any adverse reaction.
With no negative effects, you can apply the solution to the entire company, and turn the sprayer in the direction of the orchid and evenly spray. Ensure all the parts where pests are present are covered, including the leaves and their undersides, stems, and flowers; however, avoid spraying excessively.
After spraying, allow the plant to dry before exposing it to light, but you may need to reapply the solution if the infestation still persists.
– Prune and Repot the Orchid
When the roots can’t absorb water, it indicates they are infected, diseased, or dead. Whichever is the case, the best thing to do is to cut it off and repot the orchid. To prune the root, gently remove the orchid from the pot and lay it down on a clean paper towel. Check for any brown, dry, or damaged roots, because these are the ones that need to be taken off by pruning.
Get your cutting tool, either sharp scissors or shears. Sterilize them with rubbing alcohol, diluted bleach solution, or hydrogen peroxide to remove any disease-causing pathogen. Cut off the identified roots cleanly, and make sure that you don’t cut off the healthy roots.
After cutting, disinfect each cut by dipping it into cinnamon powder to prevent infections. You can also disinfect the cuts with hydrogen peroxide. Allow the cuts to dry for a while and harden to prevent rotting.
Once the roots have dried and hardened, you can repot your orchid using the right potting medium. Select a pot large enough to house the plant to enhance drainage. Remember to drill holes under the pot to prevent waterlogging. Also, add hard materials like perlite into the new orchid and plant your orchid.
Finally, water the orchid adequately afterward. Allow the potting mix to dry before watering again. The orchid should be exposed to adequate light, temperature, and humidity to ensure growth.
Your orchid stem may deviate from its usual color, so if you see any color alterations, know that any of the reasons above could cause it; now, we have provided some ways to restore the natural coloration, which we will summarize in the following points;
- A pinkish or purple coloration usually indicates a potential issue. Identifying the source of the problem is necessary to administer the right treatment.
- Your orchid stem turns pink because of natural pigmentation, too much exposure to light or extreme temperature, nutrient deficiency, and fungal or bacterial infection.
- Your orchid stems turning yellow, brown, or any other color could be due to many reasons, such as hybridization, inadequate lighting, and nutrient deficiency.
- Sometimes, a deviation from the regular color doesn’t mean the orchid stem has an issue. It could be aging or cross-pollinating. You would need to inspect the source of the coloration to confirm your suspicion.
- Remember to water your orchid before and after fertilizing it. This ensures equitable distribution of the nutrients. Avoid overfertilizing your orchid, applying the wrong fertilizer, or using an inappropriate chemical composition.
With all the information in this post, you won’t experience coloration in your orchid plant, and even if you do, you can use the appropriate method to resolve the issue.
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