I got this beautiful cattleya orchid for my birthday. It was doing okay for a while, but suddenly the new leaves seem to be turning yellow. I read that it needs lots of light to bloom so I have in on a windowsill where it get bright afternoon sun several hours a day. What am I doing wrong?
Orchids do need lots of bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. to bloom. However, too much direct sun, like your plant is getting, causes the leaves to turn yellow. Move your orchid out of the direct afternoon sun. Allow it to get morning sun and bright indirect afternoon light. The leaves of an orchid should be an apple green color. When the plant is not getting enough light, the leaves become dark green; when the plant is getting too much light, the leaves turn yellow.