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Why Is My Orchid Stem Turning Yellow? (4 Causes & 4 Preventive Measures)

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One of the major concerns if you own an Orchid plant is its stem turning yellow. Does your Orchid plant also have a yellow stem? Are you wondering,” Why is my orchid stem turning yellow?” Well, we have answers. Just stay with this article till the end.

The stem of an orchid is where flower spikes, leaves and roots grow. So, the plant cannot survive without a healthy stem. The stem of the Orchid turning yellow is a severe concern. The cause of yellowing needs to be found out and treated immediately to keep it alive.  

Orchids communicate about their condition mainly through the colour changes in their stems, flower spikes, leaves and roots. That’s the reason you need to consider stem yellowing of your orchid plant with great importance to ensure its proper care.

In this article, you will find out 4 causes of Orchid stem turning yellow and 3 ways to prevent them.

Why Is My Orchid Stem Turning Yellow
Why Is My Orchid Stem Turning Yellow? via Reddit

Why Is My Orchid Stem Turning Yellow?

A healthy orchid stem is green in colour and firm to touch. But it turns yellow due to various reasons suggesting problems in your orchid plant. Three such causes of orchid stem turning yellow are discussed below.

1)    Sunlight Exposure

Sunlight is a vital component for the growth and development of a plant. However, excess of anything isn’t good, even if it’s the amount of sunlight required for the plant.

Overexposure to direct sunlight causes scorching in the Orchid. This causes its stem and the flower spikes and leaves to turn yellow. Moving your Orchid from a lighter sunlight area to areas with direct and full sunlight causes this phenomenon.  

Being a tropical plant, Orchid thrives in areas with very little light, such as the shade of large trees. Therefore, they are not a huge fan of direct sunlight exposure. Sunlight exposure triggers a burning effect in Orchid, which causes its stems and spikes to turn yellow.

2)    Uneven Watering

Uneven watering causes various issues in plants. Stem turning yellow is one of them. Overwatering or underwatering causes the stem of the Orchid to turn yellow.

Overwatering an Orchid plant is risky as it may cause waterlogging in the plant’s roots due to poor soil drainage.

The roots will lack oxygen and eventually die due to drowning if overwatering continues for a long period. This also affects the plant’s food production to discolour the stem or turn it yellow.

Underwatering an Orchid plant is also an issue, just as overwatering. Orchids shed their leaves to conserve water by reducing transpiration if they are fed less water. This hinders the plant’s regular food production, leading to its stems and other green parts turning yellow.

3)    Nutrients Unbalance

When they do not receive different nutrients in the right proportions as required, Orchid plants will exhibit yellow stems. Two of the most common nutrients unbalance associated with Orchid’s stem turning yellow are deficient Nitrogen and excess Calcium.

4)    Ageing

Ageing is a normal process of a plant’s natural cycle. This makes ageing one of the common causes of Orchid’s stem turning yellow. Orchid’s stems, especially flower spikes, occasionally turn yellow along with age.

Why Is My Orchid Stem Turning Yellow 2
Why Is My Orchid Stem Turning Yellow? via Reddit

Prevent Orchid’s Stem from Yellowing

As we all know, prevention is better than cure. It is even more relevant to prevent the stem of your Orchid from turning yellow than to cure it. There’s no cure to this problem. The plant will eventually die. So, the tips discussed below will help you to avoid your Orchid’s stem from yellowing.

1)    Change the Environment

Overexposure of the Orchid plant to direct sunlight is mostly the cause of the yellowing of the plant’s stem. Hence, the solution to this problem is to change the environment for the plant by shifting it to a different position that gets limited sunlight.

Taking your Orchid to a spot where a limited amount of sunlight reaches the plant prevents your plant’s stem from yellowing. You can also use artificial light that’s easier to adjust and control.

2)    Clean Water Usage

The presence of Calcium in excess amount in the soil also causes the Orchid’s stem to turn yellow. Mostly, Calcium-laden water introduces an extra amount of Calcium into the soil.

So, you need to use clean water if you want to prevent your Orchid plant’s stem from turning yellow. This is a way you can employ to avoid your plant’s stem from yellowing.

3)    Cut Yellow Flower Spikes

There may be some flower spikes in your Orchid plant that have turned yellow. These flower spikes dry up and drop off by themselves along with time. Also, you can trim them from the main stem to avoid the spreading of yellowing.

The stem and flower spikes of Orchid yellowing indicates their end of life. So, you can cut off the tips to prevent yellow pigmentation and boost regrowth in the plant. This also promotes faster regrowth and rapid blooming

4)    Avoid Infections

An orchid plant can get infections if left unattended. So, taking precautions against infections is vital to avoid them. You need to make sure to sanitize any tools before using them in cutting or pruning your plant.

Also, ensure that the tool used is highly sharp, dispensable and cleaned in isopropyl liquor. The tools that are properly cleaned before use prevents the plant from any infections that might occur.


Stem turning yellow is a common occurrence in orchids if they are overexposed to direct sunlight. Various other factors such as overwatering or underwatering the plant, deficiency of essential nutrients and normal ageing also cause the Orchid’s stem to turn yellow.

This stem yellowing can be prevented by shifting your Orchid to places that receive only a little sunlight. Also, you take care of this stem yellowing by clean water usage and avoiding infections.

The tips provided in this article will help you to keep your Orchid plant healthy. It’s easier to prevent the stems of the Orchid from turning yellow before it happens than after.

If not, you might notice the change from green to yellow in the colour of the Orchid’s stem very late. If this happens, you will find it challenging to keep your Orchid plant alive.