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The diseases of orchids they represent more than just an aesthetic nuisance for these plants, because if left untreated they can kill them and / or spread to other healthy orchids.
But what are orchid diseases? And, above all, how can we recognize the former symptoms of diseases, and take action accordingly?
Symptoms of orchid diseases
There are really numerous common signs that indicate the presence of a disease in our orchid.
We list the main ones:
- spots on the flowers: a sign of fungal infection or mold is given by the presence of pink or light brown spots on the orchid flower. When you are able to see both of these signs, be sure to check the other plants because the infection could spread to other orchids if you are not careful. It is certainly better to remove orchid flowers that have been affected by the fungal infection. To prevent new infections, it improves air circulation;
- flowers with punctures: if your flowers have small holes, it is most likely not a real orchid disease. Aphids and other orchid-feeding insects can damage your plants. To get rid of them, just spray the plant with malathion, but be careful and use a face mask when applying it;
- discolored or bruised leaves: in this case the cause could be a virus, but check with an experienced gardener. In the meantime, isolate the plant: if it is a virus it is unfortunately necessary to destroy the plant before the infection spreads elsewhere. If it is not a virus, know that the causes of the discoloration could be many, from simple injuries (in this case the damage will not increase or pass to other flowers) to the action of snails or cockroaches. Investigate the cause and help yourself by using some special powders for these presences;
- withering of the flower: if you notice the wilting of the orchid flower, especially of the dorsal or upper septum, know that the cause could be a sudden change in temperature or pollination by an unknown host. The remedies are the most common, namely the moderation of temperature changes and the removal of the affected plants. If, on the other hand, the cause is that of an unwanted guest that you were unable to identify, it will obviously be more difficult to determine a remedy;
- deformation of flowers: common causes of orchid flower deformations include low humidity or high temperatures when buds are developing, mechanical or chemical damage during bud formation and more.
Read also: Orchid, how to cure it
How to treat orchid diseases
Once you have identified your orchid disease, it is time to move on to treatment. But how?
Of course, it starts with the insecticides. Remember to never spray the plant twice in a row with the same insecticide. Instead, it is better to alternate two or more to prevent the cause of the infection from developing resistance to one of these insecticides. Insects, especially scale insects, are among the most difficult to control. To try to achieve this, bathe at intervals of 7 - 10 days with alternating insecticides three times.
If, on the other hand, the cause of your orchid withering are mushrooms, you can opt for the excellent ones fungicides. Also in this case we advise you never to spray the same orchid with the same fungicide two or more times in a row, but alternate two or more to prevent the cause from developing resistance to one of them. Available in powder or liquid form, if you have no idea which fungus is responsible, you may want to purchase a broad spectrum one. Keep in mind that many of them are derived from ammonia, and therefore deserve to be treated with particular attention.
Finally, if the cause of the deterioration of your orchids are bacteria, as you can guess, you can only opt for excellent antibacterial and… we advise you to do it very quickly! In fact, keep in mind that the presence of bacteria in orchids is probably the shortest possible way to lead them to certain death. An untreated plant can die in just 2 days and the spores it releases will eventually infect others. In short, a real serious problem, which deserves any kind of drastic intervention.
There are several antibacterials on the market for use on orchid plants. Some of these are copper-based, with antifungal and antibacterial action, used not only as a treatment for diseases that have already emerged, but also to prevent bacterial problems. They are found cheap, in different solutions. Try to keep the product away from the roots and not to overdo it with frequent and unjustified use, because it could lead to an accumulation of bacteria resistant strains.
Obviously, our suggestion can only be to prepare a corner of your gardening tools shelf with these ingredients, considering that when there is something to be done ... it will have to be done extremely quickly (it depends on the survival of your plants) .
Sure, it might seem like a lot of stuff to have on hand, but sooner or later you'll have to choose between the life of your orchids or their destruction. If you are afraid of overloading your shelf with products that you will not use, try to always buy the packages with the lowest doses, or divide the bags of the product into smaller packages, sealing the parts that you will not have to use now: you can sell them to other people who, like you, have orchids to care for, or you can keep them safe somewhere else, for future use, always no later than their deadline.
We recommend that you also read our related article dedicated to the cultivation of orchids in the house.