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B. nodosa leaves turning purple

This is a discussion on B. nodosa leaves turning purple within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; A few weeks ago, I repotted a little B. nodosa I had ordered that had ...

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  1. #1
    poetiscariot's Avatar
    poetiscariot is offline By virtue of the absurd
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    Default B. nodosa leaves turning purple

    A few weeks ago, I repotted a little B. nodosa I had ordered that had algae growing all through its medium when I received it. I put it under my grow light with all my other orchids. . . and it's turning purple!



    I, uh, actually like the color a whole lot, but I'm concerned because I've not seen this species do that, or seen any orchid blush quite that color. I know that many plants produce those dark red pigments to protect their newer leaves because the red absorbs light differently than greens do; the effect is most noticeable on its two new growths, so I'm worried that it's having to arm itself against my light setup. You can see in this second picture how the color change is specific to the upper sides of the leaves, which face the light directly --



    Is it possible this orchid is getting too much light? Everything else I have looks fine. Green, you know, like normal green plants. If this just means it's getting a lot of light and will be fine, if purple, I'm happy with that. If I'm going to have to name it Audrey and start feeding it people. . . oh, I don't know, that's probably fine too.

    Also wondering if the grower might have sent me one of those crosses, I think it's B. nodosa x C. bicolor, with the pink veined lip and green(ish) petals, since that might make the plant more likely to express red pigments in its leaves. Anyway -- should I be worried?

  2. #2
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    cindiras is offline Senior Member
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    You could pull it back from your light source a few inches, then over the next couple of weeks, move it closer again. Some of my phals and an occasional Laeila cross have done this for me, too.

  3. #3
    poetiscariot's Avatar
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    Will the plant suffer if I let it stay purple, do you think? I don't want to disturb its growth, but. . . I totally like the idea of a purple-tinted orchid if I can get away with having one.

    Glad it's a thing that happens to people, though. That's a relief by itself.

  4. #4
    smwboxer is offline Senior Member
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    Nothing to worry about. Means it's getting max light. I've seen huge growths of these growing in full sunlight, purple as all can be and blooming their heads off.

  5. #5
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    You have given them the maximum light they can handle, probably more than the vendor
    is giving it. Its going to be ok, when the new leaves have adjusted to the light it'll turn
    green soon. I grow my Little Stars in almost full sun and they're Ok with it.

  6. #6
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    wetfeet101b is offline It's not dead! It's just permanently dormant.
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    The purple tint on the leaves means that it has exceeded its desired light levels and the plant is cutting down on chlorophyll production since it no longer needs as much.

    The gaps where the chlorophyll is absent will show a different color because there are other pigments in the leaves too. You just dont typically see them because they are smothered by the chloropyll.
    In low light conditions, the leaf will be saturated with chlorophyll to process as much light as it can. The leaf then takes on a dark green appearance.
    In higher light, the leaf takes on a lighter color due to the lower chlorophyll saturation.

    A similar phenomenon occurs with "autumn trees", although for a different reason.
    As sunlight quantity declines towards winter and the trees prepare for dormancy, the trees cut back on chlorophyll production to conserve energy.

  7. #7
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    It will be fine. No worries. If you start to notice sunburn, then move it. It looks plenty healthy to me. (And thanks for the information John on the chlorophyll)

    Cheers,
    BD

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wetfeet101b View Post

    A similar phenomenon occurs with "autumn trees", although for a different reason.
    As sunlight quantity declines towards winter and the trees prepare for dormancy, the trees cut back on chlorophyll production to conserve energy.
    Is that what happened with my Brassavola hybrid? It stays on the same spot all year and it gets more sunlight during summer, direct sun most of the day but the leaves stay green. But in winter the plant stops growing and the leaves and even the pbs turn purple.

    I bet the brassavola of poetiscariot is cold too. Mine also have the purple leaves if I leave it outside during winter.

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