Orchid Problems and Safe Solutions

There are simple solutions for most indoor orchid problems. This article describes the most common pests and diseases and what to do about them with an emphasis on safe and eco-friendly options.

The best solution of all is prevention, such as proper watering, good air circulation, and a clean environment. For best practices in orchid care refer to instructions available for free on my website.

Insects: orchid insect infestation is most often scale, aphids, mealy bugs, or spider mites. The first and mildest solution to any of these pests has always been dish detergent. However, dish liquid now contains antibacterial and grease-cutting chemicals that are dangerous to orchids. Ivory and Dawn are the mildest, but not as safe as pure castille soap found in any health food store. If you use dish detergent be sure to dilute it 1 teaspoon to 2 quarts. Place the solution in a spray bottle and spray the orchid and the soil. Use your fingers to gently rub off webs, scales, and honeydew. Wait a week and reapply.

Other solutions include mixing 1 part rubbing alcohol and 1 part water and apply directly to the infested area with a q-tip. This kills insects on contact. Neem oil is a natural product safe for plants, humans, and pets, and biodegradable in 2 weeks. Mix 1 ounce of neem to one gallon of water and spray both plant and soil. Please do everything you can to avoid chemicals especially indoors indoors, even the environmentally-friendly pyrethrin-based insecticides derived from the daisy family of plants. Any indoor use of an insecticide can be harmful to pets and sicken children.

Diseases: orchid diseases are fungal, bacterial, and viral. The common fungal diseases are sooty mold, petal blight, rust, black rot, and leaf spot. They are usually caused by high humidity with poor air circulation. Insects can spread the fungus.

Bacterial diseases such as brown rot are caused by an environment that is too cold or too humid. The bacteria can be carried by insects crawling from an infected plant. Bacteria easily contaminate healthy plants, pots, potting material, and clothes.

If your orchid has a virus most growers suggest burning it and quickly before it is spread by an insect. Do not compost a diseased plant. Even though viruses are usually not fatal immediately, they are nearly incurable.

Growers usually use chemicals to treat fungal and bacterial diseases. Common fungicides and bactericides are Physan, Phyton, Diconal, and Thioml. You can find them in your local hardware store, garden center, or online. Take great care because these chemicals can be lethal to people and pets if they are not used properly. Follow manufacturers’ instructions, wear gloves and protective clothing, and be sure the chemical potency is safe for orchids and indoor/greenhouse use. Never mix two or more chemicals together. And always, always keep the chemicals and the treated plants away from pets, children, and food. It may take weeks for the treated plant to be safe again.

Take a look at orchid pest and disease images online to identify what problem your orchid is suffering from. And don’t hesitate to ask for help at an online orchid forum or at your local garden center.

Mary J. Gibson

Next Post

Modular Kitchens - Best Way To Make Your Kitchens Look Absolutely Stunning And Modern

Thu Apr 11 , 2024
In this post, we shall look at some of the main reasons, things to be consider getting modular kitchen to your new and existing homes. They are prefabricated: Even though these modular kitchens are designed as per your personalized requirements and according to the exact specifications, they are manufactured at […]

You May Like