orchid white

Orchid Leaves Turning White? 4 Tips To Nurse It Back To Health

Orchids are lovely. They are kept for their beautiful blossoms and shiny, immaculate leaves. What if those leaves turn white in color due to some disease/pest?

It’s unimaginably wrong. It shouldn’t happen to one’s orchid plant. But it happens. You can prevent this. Let’s see how.

Issue/Reason for White LeavesPrevention/Treatment
SunburnMove the Orchid away from direct, bright sunlight, especially if it's near a west or south-facing window. Consider an East-facing window for appropriate lighting. Use curtains to provide shade and aid recovery.
Physiological ProblemIf Orchid leaves emerge white initially, it may be due to genetic factors or hybrid weakness. Contact the nursery if you suspect a genetic issue, as some hybrids may be weak.
White Spots on Orchid LeavesCould be Scale Bugs. Remove them with Isopropyl Alcohol on a cotton swab. Spray Neem Oil and rub off the bugs with a paper towel.
White Blotches on Orchid LeavesPowdery white spots may indicate mealybug infestation, pests that leave a cottony residue. Remove mealybugs with isopropyl rubbing alcohol or a toothbrush.

Why are my Orchid leaves turning white?

Orchid leaves turn white when excess sunlight bleaches the color out of the leaves. The entire leaf or a part of the leaf turns white.


Orchid leaves turn white due to Sunburn. It also happens when the light intensity changes drastically. Such damage isn’t harmful to the plant at all.

This happens when the plant is at a windowsill where the window faces the west. Such locations get harsh sunlight directly thus burning the foliage.

Sunburnt leaves turn white initially then turn black before falling off the plant.

Fixing plants with Sunburn

Move the plant away from the window if it’s getting direct, bright sunlight. You may want to keep the plant two or three feet from the window sill.

If the plant is near a west or south-facing window, move it to an East-facing window sill. Over-exposure to direct sunlight will bleach the color out of the foliage.

You may hang some curtains to cover the plant and give it some nice shade. The plant will recover soon, just care for it as usual.

Physiological problem

Sometimes leaves emerge in white color. They do not become after a while, they just emerge white in color. This happens when you mix two genes that were never meant to be mixed.

If you see such a problem with your Orchids, inform the nursery immediately. Some hybrids turn out weak and can’t withstand even slight changes in conditions.

How do you treat white spots on orchid leaves?

Many things can cause white spots on orchid leaves. They may be pests, yes, tiny white-colored pests. Let’s see what your plant has.

White spots on Orchid leaves

The white spots you see on your orchids are scale bugs. They may look like spots but they are tiny insects that feed on plant sap.

You need to get rid of them as soon as possible to minimize damage. They cause the yellowing of leaves and browning at the edges.

To treat:

  • If the scale infestation is in an early stage, you can rub them off with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Carefully wipe under the leaves and at the crease where the leaf arises from the stem. After doing this, spray some isopropyl alcohol to get rid of the scales.
  • You can spray Neem oil every 5-7 days. After spraying the oil you can rub the bugs off with a paper towel.

White blotches on Orchid Leaves

Do you see those tiny, powdery white spots on your Orchid leaves? These probably are Mealybugs. White spots that look cottony are a sign of these pests.

You need to get rid of these pests quickly or they will kill your beautiful plant. Check the plant regularly and if you see them early, act quickly.

To make sure there indeed is a mealybug infestation, check the foliage, flowers, and buds for any signs of mealybug feeding.

If you see the sticky residue called Honeydew, you can confirm the infestation. Honeydew paves the way for a fungal infection called Sooty mold.

So, try to get rid of these pesky mealybugs quickly.

Short-term fixes:

If you catch ’em pests early the below actions will suffice to control ’em!

  • The quickest way to get rid of these pests is by rubbing them with cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl rubbing alcohol.
  • You can also scrub them off your plant by using a toothbrush. Do not neglect hard-to-reach spots as this is where these pests lay their eggs.

Long-term fixes:

To control mealybug infestation and prevent them in the future, you need to take a different approach.

  • Repot the affected plant as the potting soil is probably home to a lot of eggs that can lead to a second infestation.
  • You can spray the infected plant with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
  • If the infection is severe, you can use an insecticide that’s safe for use on ornamental plants.