Orchid tree - recognize and fight diseases and pests

The orchid tree is quite sturdy, and yet maintenance errors can severely affect it and thus promote disease. However, if you intervene quickly, you can save your plant from the worst.

In the tropics, the orchid trees (Bauhinia) adorn gardens and parks. The plants enchant with their colorful flowers and provide exotic charm. If you cultivate the orchid tree in our latitudes, you have to make a few cuts, because the plants from Asia are not hardy.

Anyone who suspects that they are bringing a true mimosa into the house is wrong. Orchid trees are even quite robust if their needs are taken into account. Sick plants are often the result of improper care. How this can be avoided from the start and which diseases and pests can be dangerous to the orchid tree are described below.

Recognize signs of disease on the leaves

If you keep an eye on your plants, you will quickly notice when something is wrong. An alarm sign, for example, is discoloration on the leaves. If yellow, brownish or black discolourations appear on the top of the leaves, this usually indicates maintenance errors. The plant indicates that something is missing or in return that something has become too much for it.

Incorrect watering and fertilizing behavior can lead to a deficiency or an oversupply of the plant. So tact is required. The floor must not dry out. You should therefore reach for the watering can at the latest when the upper layer of soil has dried.

If the plant is too wet, this can also be noticed by discoloration of the leaves. If the irrigation water cannot drain, it builds up in the planter, which attacks the roots. The lack of nutrients can then manifest itself in the form of the discolored leaves. While the orchid tree needs some nutrients during the growing season, the plant is not additionally supplied with nutrients in winter. If you still fertilize, you should not be surprised if over-fertilization occurs, the plants start to grow uncontrollably or the leaves change color.

The discoloration of the leaves can also have completely natural causes and indicate the age of the leaves. The leaves wither and are thrown off. If this happens in the winter quarters, there is usually no cause for concern. In late winter, the formation of new leaves starts reliably.

Possible diseases & pests on the orchid tree


Hardly any plant is safe from them and aphids can also infect the orchid tree. The pests only measure a few millimeters and may be initially overlooked at first glance.

" Tip: The orchid tree should be checked regularly. Damage patterns can occur especially in winter quarters.

Once the infestation has progressed, you will no longer be able to miss it. It can happen that the tips of the shoots dry up and the leaves are covered with a silvery film. If you touch the leaves with your hands, you will feel that the surface feels sticky. This coating is caused by honeydew. These are the aphid excretions.

The control of aphids is also possible without the use of chemical pest control. The pests, for example, have natural predators in the ladybird and in the lacewing larvae. In the case of mild infestation, it is usually sufficient to treat the plant with a hard water jet. A more stubborn infestation can be easily combated with a brew of nettles or field horsetail, which is filled into a plant sprayer.

" Tip: Spray the plant several times a day and separate the orchid tree from other plants so that the infection does not spread.

Root rot

While aphids and their traces are clearly noticeable on the top of the leaves, there is initially no sign of root rot. It is only when you take a closer look that it becomes clear that the plant is not growing as usual and you will probably also turn your nose up because a foul smell starts to rise from the ground. These are all signs that the plant has been exposed to too much moisture for an extended period of time.

Root rot cannot be controlled directly. If it is recognized in time, it can help to remove the plant from the planter immediately. The roots are freed from the wet and sticky substrate and dried if necessary. Then the orchid tree is placed in a new planter and planted in dry soil. Now we carefully pour on and wait. If there are fresh shoots, the campaign was successful. However, root rot is usually recognized too late and the plant can no longer be saved.

The main cause of root rot is waterlogging. When planting, you should keep in mind that the irrigation water must always drain off well. You create the appropriate conditions with a planter that has sufficient drainage holes. Before the planting, place a drainage of pottery shards on the bottom of the pot. Now it depends on the corresponding casting behavior. Water regularly without flooding the plant. The thumb test helps to check the nature of the soil. If the soil has dried slightly, water is poured. If the substrate feels wet, you have to wait and see.

Basis for healthy plants

Find location
  • The orchid trees need a sunny location.
  • Only a few hours of sunshine a day are not enough, the plant can be in the full sun.
  • The plants are sensitive to drafts and should therefore be protected.
Select substrate
  • The substrate should be permeable.
  • There should be no waterlogging in the planter.
  • The earth can be enriched with humus.
    Water the orchid tree
    • The need for fluids is particularly high during the growing season.
    • The plant must not dry out.
    • Container plants should be watered daily in summer.
    • A little tact is required when watering so that it does not get waterlogged.
      Fertilize orchid tree
      • During the growth phase, liquid fertilizer can be added directly to the irrigation water every three weeks.
      • The orchid trees are not fertilized in winter.

        Consequences of maintenance errors

        Wrong location

        If the plants do not get enough sun, they will remain in their growth. Sufficient hours of sunshine are also needed for the flower formation. If the plants are too drafty, they can react with falling leaves.

        Wrong substrate

        The plant will still thrive quite well in a rather nutrient-poor substrate, since the nutrient requirements cannot be overestimated. If the soil is too heavy and the irrigation water cannot drain off, it builds up in the planter and causes waterlogging. This often happens unnoticed while the watering continues happily. Persistent waterlogging leads to root rot and ultimately to the death of the plant.

        Casting defects

        If too little water is poured, the leaves will wilt. A sustained lack of fluids can dry out leaves and buds. If too much water is poured, there is waterlogging with the consequences already described.

        Fertilization error

        If the soil in the planter is too barren, the orchid tree will not develop optimally and no flowers will develop. If over-fertilization occurs, which happens particularly often in winter quarters, the shoots grow in an uncontrolled and bulky manner. The plant is deprived of its strength for flowering.